On Friday Paul, Mark, and I were at the lunch table waiting for Kat to join us when Paul commented positively to us on the attractiveness of a female student, and then asked my opinion. I don’t know her name, I think she may be a freshman, anyway I agreed that she was very pretty. Unfortunately, Kat was coming to the table behind us and neither I nor Paul could see her and Mark could but didn’t say anything. We only noticed because we heard her quickly walk off and sit down at another table by herself. Paul went over to apologize, a significant difference in attitude considering how he talked about her two weeks before, before leaving her and coming back. He said that she needed to be alone, and that there was nothing we could do. She didn’t come back to our table today, and I don’t know if she ever will.
I don’t know what to do. I could go over there and talk to her, but it might just make everything worse. Showing interest may give her false hope and fuel her obsession. Maybe leaving her alone would cause her to think that I didn’t care and she will stop, if not having feelings for me, at least loving me. But what if the only way she’ll feel better is if I go over there and try and comfort her? Part of the reason she said she loved me is because I sat there and listened to her for years when I didn’t have to. So how will she cope if that part of her life goes missing? I wish I had some idea of what would make her feel better, or at least what wouldn’t make her feel worse.
I could try to think about what I would want in her situation, but that isn’t any less confusing. Social interactions with people can exhaust me, and I prefer to be alone most of the time, but when I’m alone I often find myself wanting to be with people even though I know it is mostly unpleasant. It’s most apparent when you’re sitting alone, like Kat, in a room full of people in groups talking to one another. You can see them getting along and enjoying themselves, and you want to be like that but you don’t think you can. But even when you get lonely, if someone drags you over to their group it may be so frightening trying to fit in with new people that you’d have rather they just left you alone. Here, you know everyone except Paul feels at least somewhat similarly, so you can’t know what course of action to take if you see somebody alone at a table. Do you leave the person to be lonely at their own table, taking away a chance to potentially enjoy time with your group? Or do you bring them to your table, trying to help them be less sad but risking heightening their frustration? With Paul, it was easy to invite him over because I knew his need for social contact was greater than his risk of awkwardness. I can’t decide what to do with Kat. I just hope that she knows what she needs to do better than I do.