A friend

Postby AppleEater » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:40 pm

Hi, first time posting on this forum so I hope I'm in the right section. I'm in college, 21 and I have a group of friends that I hang around with. Every morning I walk into our classroom and see this guy sit alone or with one or two people (mostly alone). He seems shy and always smiles. I talk to him sometimes and he seems so happy and fun but very shy. You sort of get this feeling when you talk to him, it feels good. Something that I see sometimes is when people talk to him, its like they don't care. They say whatever they want such as insult him, make fun of him and just call him out in front of everyone. He just smiles and laughs no matter what. I know he gets upset by it so I step in and help him out if I see anyone talk to him that way. But what I don't understand is why doesn't he say anything? He always smiles, I guess that is sort of a way for him to cope with it? This happens a lot and I wonder if he's really upset or depressed? Could this be? He is so kind and really polite. I assume from interacting with him that he's had a tough past. Anyways, let me know what it could be. Thank you, Luke.
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#1

Postby quietvoice » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:01 pm

AppleEater wrote: But what I don't understand is why doesn't he say anything?

What do you think he should be saying?
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#2

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:10 pm

AppleEater wrote:...let me know what it could be.


It most likely is that you know relatively nothing about this person and are imparting to a very large degree your own stereotypes and assumptions.

You are assuming because he sits alone and because of X or Y or Z observable behaviors that he is secretly unhappy and fits a 'victim' stereotype.

You need to decide (1) what your goal is with this individual and (2) why?

Currently your role is peer or classmate. This requires limited interactions, where you treat this individual the same as any other classmate.

I see roughly 3 paths:

-1- Form a study group and invite him. This maintains the role of classmate to classmate, but deepens the peer/colleague relationship.

-2- Determine a shared interest, e.g. he enjoys chess or soccer and invite him to participate with your friends. This offers the option of going from classmate to friendship. It allows the relationship to develop organically and allows him first right of rejection.

-3- Leave him alone. Treat him as any other classmate.

Regardless of which option...and I'm open to a 4th or 5th option...the one thing you absolutely don't want to do is to treat a classmate you hardly know as in need of your pity or concern.

In every option, you want to introduce and discuss this person as a peer of equal merit, ensuring you don't tell your current social group that you are inviting him to participate because you believe he is shy, etc. You tell your current social group you invited him, because you share an interest in X or Y or Z activity.
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#3

Postby AppleEater » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:11 pm

quietvoice wrote:
AppleEater wrote: But what I don't understand is why doesn't he say anything?

What do you think he should be saying?


To stop. If someone is being really hurtful towards him and they can see that and continue to do so I don't think that's right. What do you think he should say or do? He's always at the expense of someones joke or insult. They can't feel good right?
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#4

Postby AppleEater » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:24 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
AppleEater wrote:...let me know what it could be.


It most likely is that you know relatively nothing about this person and are imparting to a very large degree your own stereotypes and assumptions.

You are assuming because he sits alone and because of X or Y or Z observable behaviors that he is secretly unhappy and fits a 'victim' stereotype.

You need to decide (1) what your goal is with this individual and (2) why?

Currently your role is peer or classmate. This requires limited interactions, where you treat this individual the same as any other classmate.

I see roughly 3 paths:

-1- Form a study group and invite him. This maintains the role of classmate to classmate, but deepens the peer/colleague relationship.

-2- Determine a shared interest, e.g. he enjoys chess or soccer and invite him to participate with your friends. This offers the option of going from classmate to friendship. It allows the relationship to develop organically and allows him first right of rejection.

-3- Leave him alone. Treat him as any other classmate.

Regardless of which option...and I'm open to a 4th or 5th option...the one thing you absolutely don't want to do is to treat a classmate you hardly know as in need of your pity or concern.

In every option, you want to introduce and discuss this person as a peer of equal merit, ensuring you don't tell your current social group that you are inviting him to participate because you believe he is shy, etc. You tell your current social group you invited him, because you share an interest in X or Y or Z activity.


Right, I understand what you're saying. I shouldn't have assumed. I'll invite him to lunch tomorrow and get to know him better. I wan't to be his friend, he seems really cool. But why wouldn't he say anything back? It bothers me because it can't feel good right? I know I certainly wouldn't like that. Maybe it doesn't bother him as much as it would me?
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:49 pm

AppleEater wrote: But why wouldn't he say anything back? It bothers me because it can't feel good right? I know I certainly wouldn't like that. Maybe it doesn't bother him as much as it would me?

If someone is being really hurtful towards...


Sure, it might hurt, it might not feel good. And I don't think it unreasonable that any body language you are picking up on is inaccurate. But, I again go back to your role in his life.

When someone is being "really hurtful" then what is our responsibility in that persons life? I bolded and put really hurtful in quotes, because it is something we need to be careful to not misinterpret.

If a person is being really hurtful to a toddler, the elderly, a disabled person, or someone less capable of protecting themselves, what is our responsibility? Obviously we immediately step in and handle the threat on their behalf, right? We don't just lift a temporary hand, we shut down the threat. I mean, you do that almost instantly, no questions asked. It is our duty as fellow humans.

That is what I did over the years hundreds if not thousands of times as a police officer. There are laws on the books to protect those more vulnerable, but we don't need a law to do the right thing.

So...why are you hesitant? Why are you not going to the professor or really standing up for this vulnerable person? Why are you not the alpha, shutting down this threat?

Is it because you believe this is an adult male in college that should not need protecting? That would be my guess. In other words, while you might see it as hurtful, you have no reason to believe this adult male is in a truly dangerous situation in need of protection. In fact, standing up for him, treating him as vulnerable and incapable, addressing the threat might be exactly opposite of being helpful. If a college educated adult male can't negotiate his own problems in a classroom, what chance does this male have outside the classroom?

I think inviting him out to lunch is a good idea. Like you said he sounds like a cool guy. But, I would take care of playing the role of protector. Not all lessons in life are 'feel good' lessons.
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#6

Postby AppleEater » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:18 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
AppleEater wrote: But why wouldn't he say anything back? It bothers me because it can't feel good right? I know I certainly wouldn't like that. Maybe it doesn't bother him as much as it would me?

If someone is being really hurtful towards...


Sure, it might hurt, it might not feel good. And I don't think it unreasonable that any body language you are picking up on is inaccurate. But, I again go back to your role in his life.

When someone is being "really hurtful" then what is our responsibility in that persons life? I bolded and put really hurtful in quotes, because it is something we need to be careful to not misinterpret.

If a person is being really hurtful to a toddler, the elderly, a disabled person, or someone less capable of protecting themselves, what is our responsibility? Obviously we immediately step in and handle the threat on their behalf, right? We don't just lift a temporary hand, we shut down the threat. I mean, you do that almost instantly, no questions asked. It is our duty as fellow humans.

That is what I did over the years hundreds if not thousands of times as a police officer. There are laws on the books to protect those more vulnerable, but we don't need a law to do the right thing.

So...why are you hesitant? Why are you not going to the professor or really standing up for this vulnerable person? Why are you not the alpha, shutting down this threat?

Is it because you believe this is an adult male in college that should not need protecting? That would be my guess. In other words, while you might see it as hurtful, you have no reason to believe this adult male is in a truly dangerous situation in need of protection. In fact, standing up for him, treating him as vulnerable and incapable, addressing the threat might be exactly opposite of being helpful. If a college educated adult male can't negotiate his own problems in a classroom, what chance does this male have outside the classroom?

I think inviting him out to lunch is a good idea. Like you said he sounds like a cool guy. But, I would take care of playing the role of protector. Not all lessons in life are 'feel good' lessons.


I'm not all that confident myself and I'm no alpha male or protector. I just thought I was helping him out, I didn't put much thought into. I guess I should have. Lesson learned, thank you
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#7

Postby DrPsychFeels » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:58 pm

Write down all the characteristics you think this guy (who you don't know) has, then hold up that list, look at it, and you will be looking at your own characteristics.

That's projection.
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