Anonymous said to realsocialskills:There’s a boy at school who makes me uncomfortable. He seems to appear wherever I am. My 504 plan allows me to eat in a small back room in the library, and he’s even found me there and joins me for lunch. I’ve told him several times “I prefer to eat alone” but he responds with “That’s no fun! Come meet my friends!” I’ve tried ignoring him, but he just asks me lots of questions. My mom and therapist are happy I’ve “made a friend and stopped isolating!” and won’t help. How do I make him go away?
Another possibility: telling him to go away more forcefully, eg:
- “I don’t want to eat with you. Please leave me alone.” might work better than “I prefer to eat alone.”
- “Stop following me.”
- “I don’t want to talk to you.”
- “Stop asking me questions; I don’t want to have this conversation.”
If you’re more forceful in saying no, it’s likely that he’ll act all hurt and like you’re doing something terrible to him. It might also eventually work if you are firm and explicit about saying no, and don’t back down when he acts all hurt about it.
That’s a standard way that people who are willfully violating boundaries react when someone says no. (I wrote about this in the context of ways creepy guys make it impossible for women to say no politely.)
It’s okay not to care that your boundaries hurt his feelings. It’s okay not to care if he’s upset that you don’t want to be his friend or eat lunch with him. That is not actually your problem. You’re not obligated to provide him with attention, company, or validation, no matter how friendly he thinks he’s being.
Eating alone is not something you’re doing to him. Harassing you is something mean he’s doing to you.
tl;dr If someone follows you around and keeps trying to interact over your objections, that’s not friendly, that’s creepy. You don’t have to be someone’s friend or hang out with them if you don’t want to. Therapists shouldn’t try to convince you that being harassed is a positive development in your life. It’s okay to have boundaries. You get to decide who your friends are and aren’t.
Anyone else want to weigh in? Have you been harassed at school by someone who wanted to be your friend whether you wanted to or not? Have you been able to get them to leave you alone? (Or: have to found ways to protect kids who are being harassed by other students?)