Ask Kat: He Said, She Said, Higher Ed
One of my professors at my university has informed the guy I like (who sits next to me in her class) that I "really like him"—this is according to my very good friend, who was listening to my crush talk to a group of my friends (and future roommates) about how socially awkward I am and how it makes them, mostly him, uncomfortable. I really want to confront all these people about this, especially my professor (ESPECIALLY because I never told her liked him and she has now possibly ruined a friendship), but I'm not sure if I should or not. Should I confront all of them? Any of them? What's the etiquette for confronting nosy professors?
Well, first things first: because you've got so much secondhand info and he-said-she-said nonsense packed into one paragraph that I can't keep anyone's identity straight, let's try to iron out the essentials:
1. Your crush told your friends and/or future roommates that you make him uncomfortable.
2. Your professor told your crush that you really like him.
3. Your friend overheard all of this and relayed the info to you.
And now that I've made better sense of this complicated scenario and its players, before we discuss how you might proceed from here, can we just address the part where nearly everyone involved is acting like a total butthead?
There's your crush, complaining about you behind your back. There's your friends, who are participating in this conversation and not coming to your defense. And there's your "very good friend," who told you all about it—an act that accomplishes absolutely nothing except make you feel terrible. (Which is why this sort of So-And-So Said Such-And-Such behavior is destructive, manipulative, and a favorite tactic of people who enjoy stirring up drama. You've read "Othello," haven't you?)
So before you do anything else, please consider the following three things: first, that your crush is a jerk for saying what he did. Second, that your friends are jerks for listening to him. And third, that your "very good friend" certainly wasn't acting like one when she relayed all of this information to you. You would have been much better off not knowing the details.
But hey, you know who isn't a jerk? Your professor—who not only didn't betray you, but seems to have stepped into this conversation to defend you. Pointing out that you really like this guy wasn't meant to expose or harm you; it was an observation designed to get your crush to a) consider that there might be a reason why you act strangely around him, and b) stop being a douchebag. Which he is. I mean, hello: this guy is trashing you! To your friends! BEHIND YOUR BACK!!!
And you think it's your professor's fault if the friendship is ruined? (Hint: it's not.)
As for what happens next, it's up to you. You can confront them; you can say nothing but distance yourself; you can continue on as though nothing ever happened. But if you want to confront someone, skip your prof and head for the people who actually betrayed you—and who, more than anyone, deserve to be called out for behaving so badly.
Confrontation protocol: look whoever it is in the eye and say, "I heard what you said about me." Their guilt will take care of the rest.
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