Forced Friendship

, , , , , | Learning | August 22, 2018

(When my daughter first starts high school, she doesn’t know very many people. She is quite shy and introverted, so she doesn’t have any friends at first. One day, this happens.)

Teacher: “Every lunchtime, I see you sitting here in the library alone. It’s not right.”

Daughter: “I don’t mind. I like the library.”

Teacher: No. It’s not right. A young girl like you should be having fun with friends.”

Daughter: “Um…”

Teacher: “Yes, yes, I know; you don’t have any. That’s about to change. I’m going to bring you out of your shell.”

Daughter: *alarmed* “No, thank you! I’m fine as I am.”

Teacher: “Nonsense! All you need is a little push in the right direction. Leave it all to me. We’ll start tomorrow.” *leaves*

(My daughter is horrified and doesn’t know what to do. I notice that evening that she is very quiet, and after some gentle prodding, she tells me everything. I ask her if she’d like me to intervene, and I get a hesitant, “Okay,” for an answer. I call the school and leave a message asking the teacher to call me. The next day:)

Teacher: “Hello, is this [My Name], [Daughter]’s mother? I had a message to call you.”

Me: *pleasantly* “Hello, Mr. [Teacher]. I understand that you’ve decided to take my daughter under your wing.”

Teacher: *happily* “Oh, yes! I see shy kids like her all the time, and–”

Me: “Let me stop you right there. My daughter is fine. Please leave her alone.”

Teacher: “But… I’m just trying to help.”

Me: “I’m sure that you have good intentions, but your help is neither wanted or needed.”

Teacher: “But a young girl like her should have friends! It’s not natural for her to be alone all the time!”

Me: “She’ll make friends on her own when she’s ready.”

Teacher: “…”

Me: “I hope I’ve made myself clear.”

Teacher: *long pause* “Yes.”

Me: “Good. I’m glad we had this talk. Have a nice day!” *click*

(He never talked to my daughter again unless it was about schoolwork. She started making friends soon after that.)

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