curiouscutie asks: I’m in grade 10. I met this nice boy in grade 3, and we became good friends (and family friends too) but we never talked in school. Then when we had to leave our elementary school for high school he left to India, but soon came back (but we weren’t in the same classes anymore). Once in 7th grade he came to my class, with some friends, for something. There was a seat empty behind mine, so he sat there with his friends and started talking to me. He was just casually talking to me, but his friends and my friends started teasing us that we liked each other. Soon there were rumors in school that I liked him. Suddenly, he stopped talking to me. He wouldn’t say hi nor would reply to my hi. If he passed me he would ignore me as if I wasn’t there, as if I was invisible. When I joined Facebook I tried to add him but he blocked me. He was behaving very oddly. I thought he believed in the rumors. We have mutual friends in school, and when I hang out with them and see him, he says hi to them and talks to them but ignores me. I don’t know what’s happening. It’s annoying and making me angry. I don’t understand what my fault is – it’s been three years since we have had any interaction! What should I do?
Hi curiouscutie –
Well, as you know, I am an extremely intelligent and perceptive dog (well, intelligent in some ways!), but I am not psychic. I can’t read minds, as much as I’d like to. So I can’t guarantee that I know what’s going on in this boy’s mind.
However, I often am a very good guesser. So I’ll throw my guess at you.
And that is that boys around seventh-grade tend to have a TON of things going on in them. Relationships with friends and family are changing, their bodies are changing, the chemicals inside them are changing, and what they really want and need is often to run away and be by themselves in a deep dark wood for a few months, while at the same time to hang out with only their friends, and at the same time stay home with their families, and at the same time start dealing with their changing attitudes about girls… and it’s just impossible! So what they do is to Retreat.
It really is the smartest thing for them to do. It’s not that they want to be mean or cold – it’s that they have to figure out who they are, what sort of man they want to become, and what they want deep down, all at once. While at the same time, their families are demanding some things, their teachers are demanding lots of things, their friends are demanding other things, and their own desires are just all over the place!
So, in the midst of that, a nice boy sits behind a nice girl he’s known for years, and asks how she’s doing. What could be more natural or simple? Right?
Well, until the other kids start talking, that is!
Suddenly he’s feeling judged, pressured, confused, and scared. Was he feeling something toward you at that moment? I don’t know, and probably he doesn’t either! And he can’t quite deal with all these voices in his head at one time, so he does the one thing that comes naturally to him, which is, again, to Retreat.
But he doesn’t retreat from everyone and everything. No, he just retreats from the one thing that brings out all these reactions and confusions and feelings… You!
So what to do now? Well, there are a few things you could do, but there’s mainly one big thing you should do, and that is to give him space, especially in public. Don’t go up to him in front of his friends, don’t even look at him, or especially try to catch his eye. Don’t try to friend him on Facebook – because all of these are what everyone else is seeing.
But you could email him directly. Or phone him. Or talk to him sometime when he’s not around other people. But when you do, be as cool as you can. “Hey, been a long time since we’ve talked. Would love to chat sometime.” Be as un-pressuring as you can. Remember, everyone else in his life is pressuring him all the time, more than you can see.
He might not respond. If not, let him be. He’s not ready yet.
But someday, because you have shown him the understanding he needs, when he is ready, he will LOVE to talk with you. To talk about your shared years together, the fact that you know each others’ families. And, yes, the fact that you two were both really affected by the silly rumors that all those other knuckleheads started about you.
And then…? Will something more happen? Will you discover that you actually do have feelings for each other…?!
Well, as I said before, I’m not psychic. I’m just a dog who has a pretty good sense of how humans feel.
Best of Luck!