How can a girl show kindness to a young man without leading him on?

Several days ago, one of our daughters, M., told me about an experience she’d had last year in seventh grade that I had known nothing about.

There was a new boy whom we’ll call C. in her grade who had a pretty rough home life.  He was living with his grandparents and the whereabouts of his parents were unknown.  He had a learning disability and was struggling in school.  And he was very shy, socially-awkward, and had no friends.

My daughter is a tenderhearted girl and felt sorry for him when no one wanted to be his partner one day in class, so she offered to work with him.  She had to work really hard to help him because school work was a great struggle for him.  Her teacher noticed the help she was giving him and after that began regularly pairing her up with C.

Soon, at lunch time C. began to come and sit with her.  M. is a social free-agent – her core group is the good girls, the ones who do their homework and are mostly nice to everyone and, while not the popular, hot girls, they are generally liked by everyone – but because she is an athlete, she also flits around other social groups.  So she didn’t mind too much that this boy wanted to sit with her, at first.

Then he asked to have his locker switched so that he could be in the empty locker right next to hers, and then she said it got weird.  He was so happy to have finally found a friend that he wanted to talk to her all the time, walk with her in the hallway, sit right next to her in class, and sit with her at lunch, and other kids began to notice and tease her about her new boyfriend.

Remember that she was in seventh grade when this happened, so her response, while not kind, is also not surprising.  She responded to the teasing with, “Ew, no way!  He’s weird, I don’t like him! I just feel sorry for him, that’s all.”  She felt bad about what she was saying, but she also felt enormous social pressure being exerted on her and didn’t know how else to make it stop.  Naturally, her words got back to C., who came to her deeply upset, wanting to know if she really didn’t like him, if she really thought he was weird, and if they weren’t really friends.  And of course she said, “Oh, no, I think you’re a really nice person, honest I do.”  Readers, she was only 12, so what else would you expect her to say? But predictably, C. then continued to believe that she liked him just as much as he liked her and to follow her around everywhere like a lovesick puppy.

On top of all this, C. still had no friends, including male friends.  He often looked sad and sort of lost.  M. was getting fed up with his attention, but she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, and she truly felt sorry for him, so she didn’t quite know what to do.  I thought the solution she ultimately hit upon was really quite clever.  This is what she did:

She is an honor student and is friends with all the super-smart boys.  She went to one of the boys and told him what was going on and asked him, “Will you please volunteer to be C.’s partner in class?  He needs a partner and he needs help with his work, but he’s driving me  crazy because he thinks I’m his girlfriend, and I’m not!”  The boy good-naturedly agreed to be C.’s partner.

From then on,  the smart boys, out of kindness to M., went out of their way to work with C.  However, C. still had no real friends and continued to pursue M. relentlessly.  Eventually M. talked to her smart-boy friends about that, who said they’d make sure C. got the message.  And they did so, in a predictably harsh adolescent manner, by saying, “Dude, you’re acting like a creep.  She doesn’t like you that way.  You make her feel weird.  Leave her alone.”  Ouch.  But M. said that he stopped pursuing her so intensely.

And lo and behold, the smart boys got used to his presence in their group, even though he really wasn’t one of them, and soon they were allowing him to sit with them at lunch, walk with them in the halls, and work in their groups.  So M. basically ended up finding C. his own social group.  I was quite pleased with how she had handled the situation.

And lest anyone accuse the boys of White Knighting for her, let us remember that she didn’t want anything for herself from them – were she not a kind girl, she could easily have driven C. off with that special kind of cruelty that all females are capable of.  She wanted them to help C. and instinctively knew that boys – not girls – should help other boys learn the social ropes.

But one thing that I told M. at the conclusion of her story was this:

A girl cannot be a friend to a friendless boy.

That sounds harsh, but I think a girl who tries to befriend a socially-rejected boy – or a woman who befriends a man in whom she isn’t romantically-interested – out of sympathy is actually setting him up for an even crueler fate.  One of two things will happen:

1. He will latch on to her as a friend.  This is not healthy for a young man.  He cannot learn normal masculinity, which he will need to succeed in life, from a girl.  The way that boys treat one another socially may look cruel, it may even be cruel, but it communicates important information to the boy.  Girls will try to sugar-coat reality, at least to a guy’s face, but other boys are much less likely to do so.  Though I don’t think they do it on purpose, girls are the ultimate dispenser of blue pills to boys and don’t make good friends for them.

2. He will get the idea that there is a romantic interest building.  That is to be expected because the only normal kind of dyadic relationship between a male and female after adolescence hits should be a romantic one.  I don’t mean that a young man and woman can’t be friendly with one another, but it can’t be exclusive; it must be a group friendship.

M. wanted to know how a girl could be kind to such a boy – or really any boy, friendless or not – without giving the mistaken impression that she is romantically interested, and I thought about that for a long time.  And the truth is, I’m not entirely sure she can.  Any kindness she shows him is likely to be misinterpreted.  I don’t particularly like that answer.  The tenderhearted woman in me wants to encourage my daughters to be kind to all who have no one to show them kindness, but if that leads to a situation where she then has to reject him after he forms an emotional attachment to her, it almost seems worse than just to reject him right from the get-go.

One thing I know is true: there are more and more boys like C. coming down the pipe due to the rise in single motherhood.  Being raised by a single mother without a father’s guidance is just so incredibly bad for boys and leaves them broken in so many ways.  Some boys can overcome this terrible disadvantage, but many cannot, and as a result they have no idea how to interact with boys or girls.

So readers, I would be interested in what you would counsel young women and teenage girls to do when faced with one of these types of young men – or any young man, really.  How can she show him kindness without leading him on and setting him up for heartbreak?

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82 thoughts on “How can a girl show kindness to a young man without leading him on?

  1. donalgraeme

    This is indeed a difficult situation. I think your daughter hit on the best solution- help a young man connect to a group of other young men his age.

  2. donalgraeme

    I should also point out that this highlights some of the problems associated with co-ed education.

    [ssm: Absolutely. I thought the same thing. Boys should be educated with other boys by men. And girls should be educated with other girls, though I don't think it matters quite as much if the teachers are male or female.]

  3. okrahead

    What Donal said, and always remember that “kind” and “nice” are two entirely separate things. One is good, the other is often poisonous.

    [ssm: How can a girl be kind to a boy, though, without him misunderstanding her intentions?]

  4. Red

    Girls used to use their social talents to play social group and mate matchmaker a lot. Shame it happens so rarely now. Most women gave it up to build up groups of beta orbiters.

  5. jg1

    So, in the view of this article, we come back to the age old question. That is, can men and women be “just friends” and nothing more?

    [ssm: We delved into that a bit on my old blog: Temptation: Can men and women be friends? I think men and women can be friends in a group setting but not one-on-one. There is just too much temptation, not only to sexual sin but to just simply bad dynamics like beta orbiting and the like.]

  6. donalgraeme

    [ssm: Absolutely. I thought the same thing. Boys should be educated with other boys by men. And girls should be educated with other girls, though I don't think it matters quite as much if the teachers are male or female.]

    For the latter, I would suggest female teachers, but with male oversight. Perhaps a husband/wife team at the top of hierarchy, in order to keep things in line?

  7. sunshinemary Post author

    By the way, as an aside, my heart was burdened for this young man, C. I felt strongly that I should pray for him. He no longer attends M.’s school, so I don’t know whatever happened to him. Please pray for him, readers.

    The way this conversation came up was that on Friday evening, while watching the Olympics, M. was Facebooking with a boy from school, so I asked her about him. She told me they aren’t really friends but that he sort of likes her. She said she wouldn’t mind being friends with him but she doesn’t like his social group, which is kind of Goth-ish. Apparently one of the boys in his social group, D., got into a casual conversation one day with M. about guns this past fall, and M. enjoyed the conversation because she enjoys the shooting sports. D. misinterpreted her enthusiasm for the conversation with enthusiasm for him, and she said he started bringing in books and magazines about guns and hunting and wanting to sit with her at lunch and in class to talk with her about them. She said it got awkward – she used the word “creepy” in fact – and she had to get a little bit unkind to chase him off. She said she had tried to drop a lot of hints that she wasn’t interested in a relationship of any sort with him, but that he just didn’t get the hints. That made me laugh, and I told her that boys don’t often catch the hints that girls drop about things like that.

    Anyway, she finally was a bit harsh with him and got the message through. She didn’t mind doing so because he has a group of friends to fall back on. That’s when she told me about what had happened last year with C.

    I told her that any kind of interaction she has with boys at her age is likely to be misinterpreted by many of them as a romantic interest. I told her to be very careful about how much and what kind of attention she pays to boys because of that. She said it’s all really confusing.

    Ugh, I do NOT miss adolescence.

  8. songtwoeleven

    [ssm: Absolutely. I thought the same thing. Boys should be educated with other boys by men. And girls should be educated with other girls, though I don't think it matters quite as much if the teachers are male or female.]

    “For the latter, I would suggest female teachers, but with male oversight. Perhaps a husband/wife team at the top of hierarchy, in order to keep things in line?” – donalgraeme

    Since our son was born with a disability, I am a member of a small mother’s group of other mothers whose sons have the same disability, Down syndrome. Our son is still an infant, but some of the mothers have sons now in preschool. Most of the preschoolers are enrolled in public school, because in our State, when you have exhausted early resources provided by a program called Birth to Three (an early intervention program), the child is expected to be enrolled in “Three K” (which I personally find ridiculous.)

    In any event, one of the mothers (a Bible believing Christian) recently asked for advice from other mothers of both typical and special-needs children pertaining to her son’s lack of respect for female authority in the preschool he attends. She basically said that when he is at home, if he disrespects her, he is punished with a time-out and if he still rebels, a spanking. If his father is at work or away when this occurs, when Daddy gets home, he is punished by Daddy for disrespecting Mother in Daddy’s absence.

    The problem, she says when asking for advice, is that their son “won’t respect the female authority” at the school. There are no males. Not one. Z-E-R-O, that my friend is aware of. She said she cannot rightly go asking a public school in our State to apply corporal punishment in the form of a spanking. She said there are eight other children in his class and the teacher will not take time out to apply a “time out” to her son for his disrespect as this disrupts her entire class. The teacher uses a green-yellow-red “reward” system for good behavior. Nothing is ever taken away; you just get good things if you do good and nothing if you do poorly. It’s all about praise from female teachers, and it IS NOT WORKING for my friend’s son.

    I had no good answer for her, and it was difficult even attempting to answer because I don’t think boys ought to be in public school, for one thing, disabled or “typical” – I don’t care. NOT in public school. Yet, I found myself suggesting that she locate a male authority figure at the school or within the school system, since Daddy has to work, and have the male sit in class with Junior and enforce everything the female teacher requests of him.

    She asked me if this was “good”, since it would not teach him to respect female authority.

    Our conversation was over. I think the only female authority he is designed to respect is his FAMILIAL female authority: Mama, Gramma, Auntie, MUCH older Sister, etc.

    Boys and girls do not belong in the same social sphere for lengthy periods of time (eight hours of public school or nine hours of office-slavery as adults) unless they are RELATED.

    [ssm: I can relate to this story. As you know, I worked in special ed in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist. Boys outnumber girls in special ed by a healthy margin; in the case of speech therapy, around 80-85% of the caseload is usually male. Behavior problems for kids in special ed are common and the lack of male authority is surely a source of the problem. But you can't really even discuss that publicly in the school system, though many of us had private conversation about it. The male para-eds often ended up being the de facto disciplinarians for a lot of the special ed boys.]

  9. feeriker

    One thing I know is true: there are more and more boys like C. coming down the pipe due to the rise in single motherhood.  Being raised by a single mother without a father’s guidance is just so incredibly bad for boys and leaves them broken in so many ways.  Some boys can overcome this terrible disadvantage, but many cannot, and as a result they have no idea how to interact with boys or girls.

    I could probably write a book on this topic, my grandson being one of these boys (thank God that the Christian school he attends and the activities he’s involved in there are helping him socialize much more than when he was younger).

    SSM, I congratulate M. for her helping this boy. Very mature and courageous for her age. It’s sad that so often children are forced to mop up messes made by adults (C.’s parent[s] in this case). As for practical advice, I don’t think I can offer any to young girls other than “don’t ever become single moms and create boys like C.” Otherwise, if you meet such a boy, just apply the Golden Rule.

    My real advice is for boys and it is simply that they remember this: there but for the grace of God go you. This probably won’t resonate with boys not raisef in a Christian environment, but for those who have been, reach out. You’ll need to band together with as many of your own as possible to withstand all the hostility aimef at you as a sex.

    [ssm: Yes, good point. I hope my readers with sons will consider discussing this with their boys. If boys can band together to help each other out here, it would be great. And if you are a man who has a son, maybe have your son invite some boys from school, especially the ones who don't have fathers in their lives, to tag along on father-son type outings with you? I'm not sure if that would be a good idea or not.

    I want there to be a solution, you know? As a mother, it just makes my heart ache to see children, even adolescent ones, suffering. I want it to be fixable, but this just might not be fixable. Single motherhood and a society that is both sex-integrated and isolating is far worse for boys than for girls, though it isn't good for girls either, and they are going to suffer. I hate this.]

  10. songtwoeleven

    In response to your original question, Sunshine Mary, I would say that it is not possible for a girl to show excessive kindness to a young man without leading him on. Depending upon her age and his, she must be bluntly honest with him that she has no romantic interest in him, and even then, it isn’t good for him to buddy-up with her.

    I suppose that’s why I wrote what I just wrote in my comment, though it might seem off-topic. I do not believe it is. This stuff starts very early – a male’s need for maternal affections. The boys of single mothers not only do not have fathers, they have mothers who do not have healthy relationships with their sons (for the most part), so they seek a replacement for maternal affections. Having never received it, they are much like fatherless daughters: forever seeking a replacement and mistaking kindness from girls as romance and nurturing of their hearts.

    It’s arrested development.

    Best to create an environment where boys are with other boys predominantly and vice versa. Although that seems rather difficult today, unless you live like the Duggars or Bates.

  11. an observer

    Ssm, your daughter’s mistake in befriending the friendless was corrected by pointing him towards a social group that should have been a natural fit. Males and females should not be friends. The girls compassion is noted, but she may be a bit more circumspect in future.

    So how can a girl show kindness to a male she is not interested in? By pointing him towards what should be his natural group, as she eventually did. Single parent families are doing a horrible job of raising men, and intact families are often so feminised as to produce similarly dysfunctional results.

    Simple answer; she cannot, and should not. Politeness and civility go a long way. Same sex schooling would be a start.

  12. dw

    “How can she show him kindness without leading him on and setting him up for heartbreak?”

    If a girl is in any way not-ugly, she’d best talk to other boys about helping a friendless kid rather than directly confronting him. Sorry to say, but with the increasing number of “creepy” boys thanks to a lack of masculine training in the West, desperate behavior like the kind C exhibited will only increase–much to the consternation of girls who’d rather they didn’t exist. There’s a lot of thirsty males out there and any friendly behavior from a girl will be mistakenly interpreted as interest. Best thing she can do is not talk to him or other boys like him.

  13. tbc

    Your daughter did the right thing, and that really is the way a girl can show kindness — by levering female social capital for the young man’s benefit. Because your daughter has good relations with a broad circle, she (kindly) used them to connect her socially awkward friend. That really is how a girl can show kindness. It is social skill that girls need to be taught however because most don’t know anything other than 1) nuclear rejections or 2) manipulating their beta orbiters.

    There will always be the potential for misunderstanding however, but that is how it should be. Some ‘misunderstandings’ actually work out to be good relationships. Sometimes girls don’t know what is good for them and the ‘creepy guy’ actually may be the one for her, though she doesn’t know it. Most guys are ‘creepy’ in fact and less socially adept than girls of the same age so the guy that seems nerdy and beta today is not always that guy in the future.

  14. donalgraeme

    Or female teachers with a male principal, perhaps.

    Which is what I meant, but should have been more clear about.

    @ Songtwoeleven

    Thanks for that story. It doesn’t surprise me to learn of Christians who have no problem with women having authority over men, including men in their families. Oi.

  15. Wild Man

    Look what happened to Forrest Gump when he and Jenny got older. I’d rather be roughed up into the world of men than have my heart marooned by a member of the opposite sex; at least the men won’t lead you on and take advantage of you. I have no daughters but I often tell my wife, “It’s not your job to teach our sons to be men. Let them learn, and if they have to fall flat on their faces to do it, it’s better than being feminized.”

  16. hearthie

    Your daughter did as well as she could have, and better than I’d have done in her shoes.

    FWIW that happened to me more than once with other females. I live in an …interesting… area, and you get kids through who have absolutely terrible homelives. If I had a nickel for every person who said, “You are the best friend I’ve ever had!” when I was acting like my mama didn’t raise me in a barn… -sighs-

  17. jamesd127

    Boys and girls cannot be just friends. Sex is always going to get in the way. Mostly it gets in the way from the boy’s side, but even when girls are friends with gays, sex gets in the way from the girl’s side.

  18. donalgraeme

    You know, as I think on it, I am intrigued by the central question of this post again. Or rather, its deeper significance.

    Why is it that a man is apt to take kindness from a woman as a sign of affection on her part? Is this an indicator or evidence that women are not, as a general rule, kind to men unless they expect to get something out of it? [Which is the case when a woman seeks a relationship, even a healthy one.]

  19. sunshinemary Post author

    Donal, I have been thinking about my daughter’s story all weekend, and the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that girls and boys past adolescence should not be together much at all. Our society is very messed up, isn’t it? Think about human history…how much did unrelated adolescent males and females spend large amounts of time together in single-age groups? It’s not natural nor is it healthy in my opinion. Some random thoughts:

    Girls and boys need to be educated differently, especially after adolescence. Boys need to be doing things physically in a way that girls don’t.

    Boys are naturally sexually attracted to a large percentage of the girls around them.

    Boys are not skilled in reading social cues that girls exhibit. They don’t know what it means when a girl does something that is meant to drive them away or draw them in. Because they find the girls so sexually-appealing, they are interpreting kindness as sexual receptiveness.

    Girls who are good-hearted and average-pretty (as opposed to super hot – boys don’t hit on those girls as much because they don’t think they even have a chance) want to be kind but then find themselves the recipient of a lot of unwanted advances. This actually trains them to deliver nuclear rejections because the boys don’t get their Not interested hints, and the girls are desperate to get away from these kinds of smothering advances.

    In the case of C., he was also desperately lonely and just wanted social acceptance, validation of his worth as a human being, and a place to fit in. More and more boys are like C. because they do not know how to be boys/men after being raised and educated by females.

  20. Flaming Man of Iron

    @SSM Great story. I don’t really think there was anything else your daughter could have done.

    I think as others have said, the best way a girl can show kindness is by using their social capital with other guys. Indirect only, not directly.

    Also, your daughter’s teacher meant well, but I think was a bit of a moron.

  21. FuzzieWuzzie

    Poor C.! Kudos to M. for finding a solution on her own that avoided crushing him. However, my little round ears pricked up at the overuse of the word “creepy” in the original pst. There are a whole lot of negative connotations for something that only amounts to unwanted male attention. In addition to everything else, C. had to be desperately lonely.
    One of the commenters alluded to girls cultivating beta orbiters. In grade school??? This level of sophistication in manipulation is news to me. I can understand now why boys can be done with girls before graduating high school.

    Just a thought, Maeve has puedonyms for her daughters-Angrahad and Iseult. She often writes about htem

  22. Hugh

    First, I think your daughter followed good protocol all the way down the line. If the result expanded his circle, even just a little, while helping not to be ‘creepy guy’, then she did all she could. A good circle of friends are not ‘white knighting’ when just trying to protect friends. Don’t let the ‘manosphere’ dogma convolute basic things amongst friends and peers. I would protect my friends from creepy either sex if chit hit the fan.

    I also wanted to mention that, yes, there are potentially more young boys like him coming down the pike. BUT, as a man who has always been of the ‘good samaritan’ breed ever since I was a little kid, girls are also prone to start thinking in the wrong manner when a man is being genuinely and naturally chivalrous or kind without expecting sex, or whatever. It could come off as bragging….. but I’ve had more than my fair share of girls who would not leave me alone after showing kindness, or merely befriending them. And trust me, they’re not only hard to get rid of, they make it hard for others to even come around you. But we know how women can be, don’t we?? : )

  23. donalgraeme

    @SSM

    Our society is very messed up, isn’t it?

    That is a very mild way of putting it. Insane doesn’t even begin to describe the nature of the policies and attitudes we have developed over the last century.

    Think about human history…how much did unrelated adolescent males and females spend large amounts of time together in single-age groups?

    Actually, it was quite common for much of human history. At least, common in many pagan cultures which engaged in all sorts of sordid practices. The same kind of cultures which, fascinatingly enough, found themselves under the ban.

    It’s not natural nor is it healthy in my opinion.

    No it isn’t. Until they get married, young people of different sexes who aren’t related shouldn’t be consorting or associating with one another. At least, outside of courtship or certain heavily chaperoned community events.

    Girls and boys need to be educated differently, especially after adolescence. Boys need to be doing things physically in a way that girls don’t.

    We used to know this, and used to educate the sexes differently. Somewhere along the way we deliberately forgot this. I wish I remember which Pope in the past century argued against co-education, he did a good job of it imo (at least, from what I remember of the Encyclical).

    Boys are naturally sexually attracted to a large percentage of the girls around them.

    Yes we are. Although assorting with enough young women, and especially ones that act immodestly, might affect how this works. I’ve been talking with someone about this subject, and may write a post on it later.

    Boys are not skilled in reading social cues that girls exhibit. They don’t know what it means when a girl does something that is meant to drive them away or draw them in. Because they find the girls so sexually-appealing, they are interpreting kindness as sexual receptiveness.

    I would add the word “naturally” before skilled in that first sentence. We can learn these things, but they don’t come naturally to us. We must either be taught or learn through bitter experience.

    Girls who are good-hearted and average-pretty (as opposed to super hot – boys don’t hit on those girls as much because they don’t think they even have a chance) want to be kind but then find themselves the recipient of a lot of unwanted advances. This actually trains them to deliver nuclear rejections because the boys don’t get their Not interested hints, and the girls are desperate to get away from these kinds of smothering advances.

    Eh, I’m not sure that nuclear rejections are really something that good-hearted girls engage in. From my understanding, they nuclear rejections are a bit different than what your daughter engaged in. They tend to be singular events of unwarranted intensity. Not a final warning after several prior ones.

    And yes, men like C. are the future. God help us all.

  24. Lee Lee Bug

    Why is it that a man is apt to take kindness from a woman as a sign of affection on her part? Is this an indicator or evidence that women are not, as a general rule, kind to men unless they expect to get something out of it?

    Yes. I think it’s that men are so used to women being rude/aloof/b*tchy that when a woman is kind toward them, or pays them the slightest amount of attention, they misinterpret it as sexual interest.

    This still happens to me and I’m an over-the-hill woman who always wears her wedding ring. For instance, you engage in a pleasant conversation with a man at the gym and he asks for your number because every other woman he’s come in contact with that day has blown him off. Men are hungry for women who will treat them kindly and it leads to all sorts of confusion.

    I am a huge proponent of same-sex education. I attended one of the few all-women colleges left in the U.S. for my undergraduate degree and it was the best decision I ever made. Since female students held every single leadership position on campus and all of the deans were women, there was never a question that you couldn’t achieve something because of your sex. It was a great confidence booster.

    I received my graduate degree at a very competitive co-ed university and I don’t think I would have done as well if I hadn’t first received the benefits of a same-sex education.

    @SSM
    On a completely unrelated note, I thought about you this weekend while I was away at a professional conference. One of the seminars was on intellectual property law and the subject of Facebook photos came up. I remember you posting a while back about how someone had stolen Facebook photos of your children.

    Anyway, I learned that it is illegal to copy Facebook photos without obtaining permission to do so, even from a public page. It is also illegal to copy a post from someone’s Facebook page, although it’s fine to paraphrase a post. Also, you should ask for a parent’s permission before posting a photo of their child on the Internet (it may or may not be illegal, depending on the circumstances).

    So, the person who stole your photos was definitely in the wrong and you had a legal right to complain. Just thought you might find this information interesting.

    [ssm: LLB, thank you for that information. Much appreciated!]

  25. seriouslypleasedropit

    This is an excellent post. And though I feel for C., have known a C., and have been a C., I can’t find fault with M.’s handling of the situation. Of course she made a mistake; she was also 12. It was him, not her.

    I agree about separate education. Women are too much a temptation for men, and vice versa, without a strong outer force to keep them grounded. Ideally this is God; with children the role is served by teachers or fathers. But under the banner of freedom, all three—teachers, God, and parents—have been banned from exercising authority in the classroom.

  26. ballista74

    Why is it that a man is apt to take kindness from a woman as a sign of affection on her part? Is this an indicator or evidence that women are not, as a general rule, kind to men unless they expect to get something out of it? [Which is the case when a woman seeks a relationship, even a healthy one.]

    The Denigration of Men Part 1

    The second commandment mentions the idea of service. Men and women both are created by God with the tendency and desire to serve and worship Him. But men are brought up from a very young age to be pleasing to women, and this tendency is used to point men towards women instead of towards God with this desire.

    Their mothers begin this in infancy as a function of convenience in service to the Feminine Imperative, and then it leads out from there into greater society. Young boys are presented with a creature that is different from them, who desires certain things from them and dispenses praise and punishment along with life provision. His mother becomes a god, in essence, and he ultimately requires separation from her to become fully actualized before God as a man.

    The bolded part is the key problem. It’s not an issue of single mothers, it’s the perennial problem of traditional feminism. Given the Industrial Revolution and the accompanying feminist doctrine that “the man goes out and provides and the woman stays home and raises the family”, the fathers have been perennially absent in most all families.

    Once upon a time, young boys were taken away from their mothers by the fathers once they were able to feed and clothe themselves, and he took the primary responsibility of raising them from there, and what the mother provided the young son wasn’t very different from what she provided her husband. Real Biblical families are so extinct these days, I keep having to point to TV shows (the Waltons serve here). The boys NEVER hung around home if the rest of the men weren’t out logging or at the sawmill. In effect, what is missing is that young men (the typical age of consent was 12 until this notion of the “teenager” was invented in the early 20th century and adulthood was delayed) need gender separation from their own mothers.

    Esther Vilar (The manipulated Man, page 50), quoted on that link as well is relevant:

    The majority of men prefer to subjugate themselves to an exclusive deity, woman (they call this subjection love). This sort of personal deity has excellent qualifications for the satisfaction of religious needs. Woman is ever-present, and, given her own lack of religious need [aka the personal Jesus], she is divine. As she continually makes demands, man never feels forsaken. She frees him from collective gods, for whose favors he would have to compete with others. He trusts in her because she resembles his mother, the deity of his childhood. His empty life is given an artificial meaning, for his every action is dedicated to her comfort and, later, to the comfort of her children. As a goddess, she can not only punish (by taking away his sense of belonging) but she can reward as well (through the bestowal of sexual pleasure).

    C’s problem is the same as most all men. They are raised from infancy to worship and please women as goddesses.

  27. lovelyleblanc7

    All female spaces need some male authority, whether it be a dean, president, or principal otherwise things get real crazy. I know SSM talks about Albeine and such, but my college (all women’s) is a real life feminist paradise. Things changed once the school got a liberal, female president. I like our president, but all female spaces with only women in charge=disaster.

    [ssm: I agree with this, and I think it's why Women's Ministries can easily go off the rails unless there is a man overseeing them.]

  28. Chris

    LLB, correct.
    SSM — your daughter done good. Now Ladies — repeat after me — you are not responsible for him feeling that way. But you do have to tell him to stop. right. now and then NOT hang around him — neither be his GF nor allow him to be a beta orbiter.
    Because lads like C. are starved of any affection, and have been raised, to our shame, in a barn.

    [ssm: Thanks for mentioning the not responsible part. I discussed that with M. during our conversation. I told her that it was natural and right to feel sorrow for C.'s plight and to want to do something kind for him. But I told her that she ultimately didn't create his unfortunate situation and that it was not her responsibility to solve it. There are certain things that are too complex for a young girl to solve, and this boy's issues were one of them. I still want her to be kind to everyone, but I just don't know how a girl can do that without sending the wrong message.]

  29. lovelyleblanc7

    @Lee Lee Bug: “Since female students held every single leadership position on campus and all of the deans were women, there was never a question that you couldn’t achieve something because of your sex. It was a great confidence booster.”
    You know, that is very true. It was very strange being a freshman in college and having all these leadership opportunities, I liked it though. I didn’t mind being a leader among my female peers, surprisingly. May I ask what college you graduated from?

  30. Iowa Jim

    He will latch on to her as a friend. This is not healthy for a young man.

    It may not be the healthiest thing, but it is far healthier than not having any friends.

    Allow me respectfully to disagree about whether men and women can be friends without sex rearing its ugly head. I’m a sixty-one-year-old man who has been friends with many women without any question of sex. In one case, the woman is a lesbian, but not in the others. I should probably add that this is not because I am not successful with women in the romantic arena.

  31. Lee Lee Bug

    All female spaces need some male authority, whether it be a dean, president, or principal otherwise things get real crazy.

    I don’t know if I agree with this. The women’s college I attended was part of a large co-ed university with a male president. It was founded in the early 1900s because, at the time, the main university didn’t admit women (they weren’t admitted until the early 1970s).

    Anyway, I always felt our campus, though certainly pro-feminism, was much calmer and saner than the university at large, which was fond of hiring controversial professors and was the scene of some crazy far-left protests. Our dean at the time was a gracious, soft-spoken woman who always wore pearls and dresses and was a true lady in every sense of the word.

    I think it would be odd for an all-women college with no ties to a co-ed university to hire a male president, kind of like Spelman College hiring a white male president.

  32. Wild Man

    “Boys are not skilled in reading social cues that girls exhibit. They don’t know what it means when a girl does something that is meant to drive them away or draw them in. Because they find the girls so sexually-appealing, they are interpreting kindness as sexual receptiveness.”

    That was me, SSM, in high school. A girl so much as looked at me and I thought she was dialed in. Now, some of them may have experienced initial interest in my looks, “looks” being a subjective attraction vector. But I didn’t understand that a girl eyeballing you doesn’t mean she is interested in sex immediately, because like girls, boys project their experience of sexuality onto everyone else and make assumptions.

    What really broke my heart was interacting with the girls in my social group in a generally positive frame – they freely gave hugs, made chit-chat and called up to “hang out.” To me, this was “I want to be with you” behavior, because most other girls kept their distance. So when I finally worked up the nerve to ask for a date or try to kiss one of them, it was a huge blow to find out they couldn’t have been less interested.

    [ssm: Yes, I think your comment demonstrates why we have done our children a disservice by putting them into this weird, artificial environment where they are isolated together with a large number of same-age members of the opposite sex. They don't know how to understand one another's cues.]

  33. Kingsley

    “And lest anyone accuse the boys of White Knighting for her”
    Lollz, fair enough and M’s game recognized.

  34. Lee Lee Bug

    @Lovely,

    I attended Douglass College, which is part of Rutgers University https://douglass.rutgers.edu/. I was the first person in my family to attend college and my parents felt that I would be safer on an all-female campus. When they offered me a generous scholarship, it sealed the deal.

    I did my graduate work at NYU and found it to be a very cutthroat program. I’m a very timid person and I probably would have fallen apart if I hadn’t had spent the previous four years in a very supportive, nurturing environment where I was frequently encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone.

    BTW the deans and other administrators at NYU were a mix of males and females at the time and I never noticed much of a difference regarding how either sex handled things.

  35. lovelyleblanc7

    @Lee Lee Bug: The university I’m attending is one of the oldest all women’s colleges in the country and was first started by a man who believed women should have the same educational opportunities as men, but still be under male leadership. My university today is very pro-feminist with about 80% of the population being some type of lesbian(I’m not making this statistic up). My president is very lady like, no doubt. I really like her actually; she is a good president, but I think the environment could be better, for an all women’s college. I do not think it is odd at all to have a male president at an all women’s college since it was mostly men, I believe, who started and funded all women’s colleges.

    “When they offered me a generous scholarship, it sealed the deal.” This was my reason for why I’m attending the college I am going to right now. I have a few friends who are students at NYU, very rigorous school. I agree that all women’s colleges can be very nurturing. Last semester, I had to give a presentation about International Midwifery and Women’s Health and I was very nervous about public speaking and the professor was like “All the women in this classroom are like your sisters, there’s no need to be nervous. Nobody here will make fun of or ridicule your ideas.”
    I don’t imagine any other college professor saying that at a co-ed college or all men’s college. Being at an all women’s college has given me many opportunities as a shy freshman in college. I don’t think I would be captain of my trail running club or would have had my first internship experience as a freshman in college, if I went to another university.

  36. femininebutnotfeminist

    I think M handled things quite a bit better than most her age would. It’s especially good that she helped C get in with a group of guys, that was very wise on her part. As for whether or not young guys and girls can be just friends, I think that depends on the situation. My best friend in high school was a guy, and we had become friends in the 6th grade. Though he was very much an extrovert and was friends with a lot of girls and guys, which is the difference. A girl should never be a guy’s *only* friend. He needs other guys around.

  37. FuzzieWuzzie

    In rereading leeLeeBug’s comment at 6:16pm, it does remind me that when I am noticed, or even treated well, by women, I conclude they either want something or may be interested.
    I guess that I would be very confused if women were pleasant to me all the time.

  38. Days of Broken Arrows

    I think the title of this blog post is both misleading and the concept needed to be better thought out. It’s one thing to show kindness without leading someone on when that someone is relatively normal. But the young man you described is an outlier. As a guy, I had this experience in school with both boys and girls when I showed friendliness to those with no friends. Friending the friendless is often difficult for everyone who tries it. That should have been the title and/or focus of this post. What you’re describing isn’t a gender issue it’s a personality issue. I’ll agree that more boys are troubled than girls, but that doesn’t mean this issue is limited to only girls who befriend boys. Some people have no sense of boundaries.

    [ssm: This boy was somewhat of an outlier, but the problem is common, as a number of commenters have now explained. A girl who is kind to a boy is often misinterpreted. It seems like that goes the other way sometimes, too, with a boy showing kindness to a girl who misinterprets that. And as the situation my daughter had with the next boy, D. (described in the comment thread), shows, the boy needn't be friendless to misinterpret a girl's enthusiasm for a discussion for a romantic interest.]

  39. OffTheCuff

    Simple. “Sorry, not interested” and withdraw all non-group interaction. She went over and above the call of duty here by pawning him off to others, in real life, that won’t help much.

    [ssm: Sure, turning down someone's overt advances is very easy. But that wasn't what this was, and usually these kinds of situations are much more subtle. It isn't like they were in a bar and he offered to buy her a drink, you know? How do you say to someone who has no one to sit with at lunch, "Sorry not interested."? So that advice doesn't help too much in this situation, where the goal is to show kindness to someone without them misinterpreting it.]

  40. songtwoeleven

    daysofbrokenarrows: I agree to a certain degree with you that this is an outlier issue, but I do believe that there are more young MEN who do not know how to properly behave in social situations (have not been taught/have no father, etc.) than there are young women who are socially awkward. Women are encouraged to be social; women are naturally not loners, in general.

    The issue is this: if a guy is an outlier in school and makes a girl uncomfortable, he’s likely to be literally singled out and marked for life as some kind of freak by his peers as well as the “administration” at the school (who are likely exclusively female and feminist), whereas a girl who is an outlier in school is just weird. She doesn’t have to worry about sexual harassment and sensitivity classes and all manner of demented “interventions” by adults. She’s just a geek. She probably has some geeky female friends, if only a few who are like her. Not the guy. He is shunned by male and female alike and marked. It’s very sad for boys to have a void where there should be male mentorship by Father, or at least a father figure.

  41. Novaseeker

    My approach (14 yo son) is this: don’t mess with it.

    He is good looking and popular and athletic (on HS teams), but my influence on him has reigned, and it is this: don’t bother with them, it is meaningless, build until you are older. He doesn’t orbit any of them, and he doesn’t give his own orbiters the time of day not out of cussedness but because he cares more about other things. This is the way. Girls are really not that important.

  42. Norm

    Your daughter handled it very well showing a maturity and intelligence beyond her years. I thought though that your children are home schooled btw.
    [ssm: We've homeschooled some of the kids some of the time but also had them in a private Christian school, too.]

  43. Jim

    “Ugh, I do NOT miss adolescence.”

    SSM: Tell me about it! My life was (and I’m not kidding) living HELL at that age. The misery was unbearable.

  44. Bryce Laliberte

    My commendations to your daughter, who acted with all due propriety and diligence.

    I say that as one who was more or less like that at that age.

  45. Ton

    Regarding the young boy who won’t respect female authority; the problem isn’t him, it’s the concept of female authority. The boy has the right of it, everyone else is just goofy on the topic.

    Why are men, regardless of age, likely to take acts of kindness from women as a sign of attraction? LLB nailed the answer answer, because most men/ boys have no experience with acts of kindness from women so the 1st one to be kind to them must be sweet on him by default.

    Wether men can be friends with women; think that depends on how successful the man is with women in general but I think the more important question is how can you be friends? If you’re a man and you find you have a lot in common with a woman, you might want to rethink your life a bit.

  46. Hipster Racist

    @Novaseeker

    He is good looking and popular and athletic (on HS teams), but my influence on him has reigned, and it is this: don’t bother with them, it is meaningless, build until you are older. He doesn’t orbit any of them, and he doesn’t give his own orbiters the time of day not out of cussedness but because he cares more about other things. This is the way. Girls are really not that important.

    You sound like a good father. I love and respect my father, but he was an old man, from a different era, that had no clue about slut culture. I was a Christian kid from Christian school that started public school when I was 16. I was accosted – literally – by sluts, and I didn’t have the maturity or the experience to deal with it.

    So, I became a huge slut. I regret most of it now.

    Looking back on it, I’m embarrassed about how easily I was manipulated by sex. That’s why I find the “manosphere” a little bit ridiculous, because they would think I’m some sort of “alpha” because I’ve screwed so many women. In reality, I was a young boy, with no clue about women, being manipulated by a pretty face and a nice pair.

    In my defense – I was just a kid. I didn’t have a clue. How slutty? My “N” was somewhere around 10 by the time I graduated high school. One and a half years of public school, by the way. That’s all it took.

    @SSM

    Sounds like your kid is a kind girl who meant well, and handled the situation as well as she could, and likely better than the vast majority of her peers would have. I read this post and immediately thought of the Simpsons episode “I Love Lisa” where Lisa gives Ralph a Valentine’s card and he thinks she’s his girlfriend because of it.

  47. Janelle

    Nothing went wrong here. The boy misinterpreted some signs and they both learned something about communication. That’s all good. No intervention necessary. Nothing terrible happened. They are young adolescents and have each learned something that will benefit them in the future. There is no need to “isolate” them to avoid such “terrible” situations in the future; it wasn’t terrible at all.

  48. feeriker

    In addition to everything else, C. had to be desperately lonely.

    Song pretty well stole my thunder on this, but boy+lonely in a school setting today serves as a magnet not only for ostracism (at best) or bullying (at worst) from other kids, but also some particularly nasty and destructive attention from malevolent adults (i.e., the turnkeys of the State’s juvenile day prisons). A “lonely” boy can expect, at a minimum, to be hauled before a “behavioral psychologist” to be microscopically examined for “antisocial tendencies” (he’ll be branded, even if only unofficially, as the next potential school shooter), pumped full of brain-destroying pharma (e.g., Ritalin and its evil siblings) with God-only-knows what long-term effects, and dumped into “special education [sic]” classes to be dumbed down and ultimately lobotomized, emotionally and intellectually, even faster than the rest of his fellow inmates.

    Lonely girls, on the other hand, are gjven a group hug and encouraged to make friends.

  49. Michelle Diane

    This is a great post. I wish I had learned these things at 12 it would have made middle school and high school a lot easier. After a similar situation happening to me quite a few times during my teens I finally learned to nip things in the bud quickly, as soon as I saw the signs. Things that helped were, a quiet word with the teacher about a new partner or seating arrangement, a lunchtime task such as volunteering to help the librarians or a close female friend who would pull me aside under the guise of a trip to the bathroom when she noticed things were getting uncomfortable.

    I think once I had to flat out turn down an awkward boy that had begun to cling too much. I was older though, maybe seventeen and I didn’t want to be dating anyone especially him so finally I just told him. “I see dating as a precursor to marriage and I’m not ready for that so this isn’t going to work.” Mention marriage to a seventeen year old boy and see how fast he disappears lol.

    I think your daughter handled herself wonderfully by the way. Very impressive for such a young person.

  50. an observer

    Why is it that a man is apt to take kindness from a woman as a sign of affection on her part?

    Perhaps kindness from women is much less common than it used to be. Girls are trained up that they’re equal, if not superior to boys. They are told that men are the opprssors, haveevery advantage, that women have always been an underclass, and that without the heroic feminist spinmesisters, er, equal rights advocates, they’d still be getting married at fifteen, be barefoot and pregnant, whilst chained to the kitchen.

    Instead, women now chain themselves to useless degrees, in order to become corporate drones and hr ditzes, believeing there’s a glass ceiling stopping their fated rise to the fabled heights of male dominated ascendancy that must be smahed in the name of achieving ultimate feminist goals, and the final arrival at the socialist utopia of Abilene.

    Its getting late here . . . .

  51. Elspeth

    To answer the question your post title asks: She can’t guarantee he won’t get the wrong impression and most times they will, if my past experiences were any indication.

    Given that kids in general are terrible about being kind to anyone, I can understand why a young man could mistake a kindness for an IOI.

    she just has to show kindness to everyone while being clear about her intentions or lack thereof. She can’t control his emotions.

  52. songtwoeleven

    @freeriker 1: 52 a.m.: Yes. This is what I was trying to say. You said it better than I could ever say it!

    @ ton @ 1:13 a.m.: I agree; there’s nothing “wrong” with that little boy that he won’t placidly submit to all those sweet female teachers that praise him endlessly at Three K…there’s something terribly awry with the system (as SSM beautifully summarized at the end of my comment.) I was never going to convince his mother otherwise, so I abandoned the conversation, politely bowing out under the guise of, “Well, we homeschool, so it’s probably better if you talk to others who have children in schools.” She was becoming offended (unknowingly, but I could discern by her comments in reply to mine) that I would dare suggest that her son wasn’t designed by God to submit to a bunch of other unrelated girls and women all day, without a single man present to enforce (as she has at home with Daddy.) She just could not see it.

    It’s very frustrating for me, as I have women who really are Christians as friends, but we cannot be really close because of things like this. Keeps me from idolatry in the area of friendships with women, I suppose. I can certainly have friends that I disagree with, but it puts a halt on the ability to really converse when there are mindsets that differ so vastly.

    Homeschooling is such a nice option because children are learning adult behavior from – GASP – adults – who they were designed by God to learn from, who have authority to IMPART knowledge and wisdom into them. Sitting in a room with a group of opposite sex peers with a woman at the helm who really has NO AUTHORITY from God or man over thirty adolescents is just not healthy and it’ll be a miracle if that woman imparts anything into their spirits, much less their minds.

    If they are learning in this environment, it’s because they’re driven or they’ve got real parents who are involved at home.

  53. Ton

    Oh they are learning darling, just not learning anything we would like them to

    I have basically 0 Christian friends these days. Lestwise that are churched

  54. Aquinas Dad

    I am skipping ahead through some of the comments, so I apologize if there is duplication here.

    I can tell you what the Catholic Church teaches about people who have hit puberty;
    1) unmarried men and women who are not within consanguinity of blood nor constrained by duty should never be alone in private.
    [a single nurse giving a single patient a pill in the ER at 1 am? Duty. A widowed father with his 16 year old daughter? Consanguinity.]
    2. No boy should show great attention to a girl, even when motivated by charity, without making his intentions clear. The same is true for girls toward boys.
    3. Because of 1 and 2 actions, even charitable actions, should be group events.involving boys and girls and adults.

    I’ll pause there (this is actually largely an excerpt from a section of one of my lectures)

    While your story and related ones are obvious I saw a similar act turn sour in ‘the other direction’ as it were. In my mid 20′s a young lady moved to the town where my wife and I lived; she had many mutual friends with our circle and was moving to be close to her best friends. Another member of our circle, J., was a young man with time on his hands and he volunteered to drive her around, help her find a place, get to job interviews, etc. since he was on minor disability for 6 weeks. She gratefully accepted and he spent two weeks ferrying her around until she landed a job, a small apartment, and a used car. She baked J a cake and paid him for his gas from her very first paycheck.
    J. Then complained to his room mate, A., that she wasn’t interested in him.
    “But I did all this stuff for her! Doesn’t she see that I am interested? She owes me at least a date!’
    *sigh*

    The way a girl can be kind to a boy is in a group – as you see know and your daughter discovered on her own (she sounds kind and clever, BTW – how old is she? I have 5 sons, so I am always looking for kind, clever young women….) an element of making sure charity is seen as charity is to make it a group event. Her initial impulse was great, but the next thing was to get a guy to work with him; introduce him to her female friends and get other girls and guys to interact. Indeed, I would argue that helping someone in his shoes build a network of acquaintances/friends is at least as important as helping with coursework.

    [as an aside - A., J.'s roomie, has been married to the young lady in the story for 20 years now. A. and I introduced J. to his wife of 18 years and the young lady was the matron of honor at J.'s wedding, so he *did* wise up]

  55. Aquinas Dad

    Donal,
    “Why is it that a man is apt to take kindness from a woman as a sign of affection on her part? ”
    Love, affection, and that special emotional support between a man and a woman are some of the effects of marriage; the most important non-supernatural effects, in my opinion.
    Our souls naturally know that the special bonds within marriage exist and we yearn for them. Now – imagine if you had never seen it firsthand; any kindness might be conflated with the special connection of love!
    Just as a young, immature man can mistake correction from a man as anger or anger from a man as hatred he can also mistake kindness from a girl as love. These seems (I cannot prove it, but it – feels – right) that young, immature boys starved of love elsewhere are eager to see it AND have less discernment as to the differences between caritas, agape, and eros.

  56. Aquinas Dad

    A few,
    “Boys are not skilled in reading social cues that girls exhibit”
    Interesting; I have never had any issues reading social cues from girls.
    Of course, I have 6 sisters.
    Could this be from a combinations of weirdly small families and public education? While the Wife and I have all sons they also don’t struggle much with understanding girl’s cues. Between me, their mother, lots of female cousins, and meeting girls who aren’t blood relatives almost exclusively in social situations they seem to have no issues with this at all.
    What do you think?

  57. songtwoeleven

    “Just as a young, immature man can mistake correction from a man as anger or anger from a man as hatred he can also mistake kindness from a girl as love. These seems (I cannot prove it, but it – feels – right) that young, immature boys starved of love elsewhere are eager to see it AND have less discernment as to the differences between caritas, agape, and eros.”

    “Could this be from a combinations of weirdly small families and public education?” – writes Aquinas Dad

    Yes to both of these statements. I totally agree. It’s what I was trying to say upthread about single mothers who do not have energy, time, wisdom, resources, knowledge, etc. to show the proper kind of love to their sons, as a mother with a husband would. Her son grows with a love deficit; he doesn’t see the mystery of man and wife modeled before him. When a woman showers him with any kindness later in life, particularly adolescence, he mistakes her kindness for love. Fatherless girls have the issue reversed.

    Weirdly small families is right! Two children maximum in American families just doesn’t give the children what they need for proper socialization. Yes, I said it – socialization. That evil word that everyone condemns us homeschoolers for depriving our children, which was designed to be met by SIBLINGS, and many of them!

  58. alcestiseshtemoa

    There was a new boy whom we’ll call C. in her grade who had a pretty rough home life. He was living with his grandparents and the whereabouts of his parents were unknown. He had a learning disability and was struggling in school. And he was very shy, socially-awkward, and had no friends.

    The C boy seems to show signs of Autism and Asperger’s (which are mental disabilities, in addition to learning disabilities), but I might be wrong.

  59. Just Saying

    “work really hard to help him because school work was a great struggle for him.”

    This is one of many issues I have with the public school system – it is dedicated to dumbing the smart students down to the level of the slowest in the class. Your daughter was tasked with this boy since the teacher didn’t have the time to deal with him, and she “volunteered” for it. The fact that they put remedial students in with regular ones just drags everyone down – the perfect socialist system emphasizing mediocrity and punishing excellence. Ill preparing children for the “real world” – at least in a capitalist society – which the US is arguably. Of course, in the next 10 years I expect the US to be more communist than the USSR ever was. We are already much better at “watching” our people, and using Government Agencies (the IRS) to punish them for speaking out.

    To your issue at hand… Men are NOT subtle – we are straight-forward, so if a male asks a woman something and she answers, the (young) male assumes she is not lying – to either him, or herself. Big mistake, since women will say what is expected, or what is “nice”, not what is true. Unfortunately, a socially inept boy with a learning disability is ill equipped to deal with such subtly. So the ONLY way for a woman to be clear is to BE CLEAR. Don’t soften it – just be honest! (You do not help by softening things – i.e., lying to him.) Men are used to being honest with each other. This is why men can say, “I don’t like you, but I can work with you.” Now a woman cannot do that – it is beyond her. Men can also be friends with guys that his social group doesn’t accept. Woman also do not seem to be able to do this (which is why they are more cliquish) – they try to show solidarity – which is why you have women saying they support Feminism while being against almost everything Feminist’s spout. They are trying to “be nice” when they shouldn’t.

    So, your daughter should have been honest – telling him she was helping him because she felt sorry for him, or because he seemed to need more help. Men aren’t like women, this will not make him wilt – it will make him want to be more than he is – men thrive on adversity. (She did more harm trying to “be nice” than if she had been honest.) Her mistake was in treating him like she would treat a girl – he’s not – as much as Feminists want to make it so. Men are simple creatures – so be honest and straight forward. Of course, women are taught to “be nice” which is where most of the problems come from – men are NOT NICE – we are honest at least initially – it takes a man years to learn to able to lie half as effectively as women do naturally. That is what “be nice” is really teaching – to lie effectively.

  60. Rollo Tomassi

    http://therationalmale.com/2011/11/30/intergender-friendship/

    First off, men and women cannot be friends in the way or to the degree that most people perceive same sex friendship to be. Now the natural response to this is “I have lots of female friends” or “what are you trying to say, I can’t have female friends, they all haffta be enemies?” Which of course is the standard binary (black or white, all or nothing) retort and the trained AFC thinks anyone suggesting that men and women’s relations as friends could be anything less than equitable and fulfilling is just a neanderthal chauvinist thinking. However, they are incorrect – not because you wouldn’t want to actually be a woman’s friend. There are fundamental differences in the ways men and women view friendship within the framework of their own sex and the ways this transfers to the concept of intergender-friendship.

    [...] I understand how stupidly obvious this seems, but remember we’re qualifying the characteristics of intergender friendships in the face of a social undercurrent that wants to convince us that men and women are fundamentally equal. According to this precept, men should essentially possess the capacity to repress their sexual impulse to the point that it should have no bearing on his rational decision to engage in a platonic friendship. Likewise, a woman should be able to dissociate herself from her hypergamous nature to pursue a completely asexual friendship. And both genders should maturely pursue the friendship for their mutual enrichment, however, reality tells a different story.

    Advice for your daughter:

    Law 10

    Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

    You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

  61. the bandit

    Wild Man raised an important issue: “…like girls, boys project their experience of sexuality onto everyone else and make assumptions.

    A great majority of the confusion and disgust between the sexes regarding the way the other behaves in relationships centers around expecting the other to think and express love in the same way. So, unsurprisingly, a key part of this problem involving confusion about the expression of interest is also involves this projection. In my experience, it’s usually the kindhearted boys who misinterpret kindness for interest. That’s completely understandable, because when they are interested in a girl, they want to show kindness to her (and are also constantly being told by a culture trying to tame the alpha males that the way to a woman’s heart is through kindness). If that’s what they would/should do to show interest in a girl, then naturally a girl showing kindness to them is showing interest….

    I also think the point others have raised, that women are less kind in general, is probably valid, and then there’s the fact that men are attracted to kindness/meekness/sweetness.

  62. the bandit

    * “attracted to kindness” should probably be “value kindness in the MMP” to avoid misinterpretation of my meaning

  63. Feather Blade

    I’ve run into this with men in the prime of their life as well.

    Thinking that I was merely being hospitable (because that’s how I was raised: you have guests, you feed them, or at least offer them something to drink), I prepared food, on several different occasions, for a couple of my male co-workers. Both of them took it as an IOI, and I had no clue until they started bringing me flowers.

  64. Cautiously Pessimistic

    Having been a C (well, C+), I see two primary issues here:

    1) If he has no friends and is desperately lonely, he should be regarded as the equivalent of a drowning victim. Trying to ‘rescue’ him is made more difficult by his desperation.
    2) He’s in the full flood of puberty. Of course he’s going to hope that M is interested in him. And he’s unlikely to give up his awkward pursuit unless it’s made clear to him that there’s no interest.

    I think M handled the situation well in getting a group of boys to take him in. That’s probably the best thing she could have done for him. The lesson to be re-enforced here is that good intentions are not sufficient for good results. Next C she runs into, she should think twice about involving herself directly.

    God, I’m glad I’m well out of that.

  65. Bike Bubba

    The “rough home life” hits home, and I’m sure that as a teen, I was to a degree that “clinger” for somewhat similar reasons. What fixes it, sometimes, is when the young person of either sex sees healthy home life. So hopefully C is steered to be a “guest son” of families that have, to a degree, their “stuff” together. It takes years, though, I think.

    And having been something of a slinger, well done by your daughter. Cruelty by those who should know better can set a kid back by years.

    Interesting tidbit; after my parents’ divorce, a teacher talked with my mom and told her that she knew from my brother’s behavior what was going on in my home. Along the same lines, the pastor who officiated my wedding could often tell the same thing. Mebbe Christian schools should be on the lookout to offer counsel?

  66. an observer

    The C boy seems to show signs of Autism and Asperger’s

    Lots of young girls treat boys as mental retards, courtesy of the smp.

    Another argument for same sex education. Or homeschooling, preferably.

  67. westwaswon

    I admittantly haven’t read all the comments so you may have covered this but your thinking is very female. How can we set up this situation so that there is good outcome all around and no one’s feelings get hurt? Well intentioned but unessecary. M should communicate to C the reality of their relationship (she wanted to help and be nice but isn’t romantically interested) in a direct yet kind way. Maybe C’s feelings are hurt because his crush doesn’t like him but thus is life. He will get over it and M will be better for her practice of valuing truth over politness. I’ve never understood the female preoccupation with good feelings when it is most always “bad feelings” that push us to humility and drive us to godliness.

  68. OffTheCuff

    SSM: “How do you say to someone who has no one to sit with at lunch, “Sorry not interested.”?”

    Exactly that, if there’s not a group to defuse it. Or, to be especially polite, invite him to sit with a group of people.

    Boy plus girl, alone, equals date.

  69. Lady Just Saying

    Off topic but relates. In high school there was a C at least in the sense that he didn’t fit in, he didn’t go to school with me long. Flash forward to us having graduated. I ran into him at the airport, so I strike up conversation that he looks familiar and did he go to XXX high school. Yes, but instead of being the awkward skinny homely kid, he was now hunky and hot. So sometimes, the Cs of the world get the last laugh after all. You daughter did the best she could do at her young age.

  70. Ton

    Women have to be obsessed with good feelings, they have neither claws, fangs or strength to defend themselves.

  71. sunshinemary Post author

    I was thinking about this today. High-function autistic children, and children with sensory processing disorders, are increasing in number. Many of these children are boys. I don’t know if C. had such a disorder, but this is another factor, in addition to single motherhood, that is going to affect boys’ ability to interpret girls’ signals.

    Here is a news story, for example, about such a child:
    10-year-old with ‘no friends’ gains 1.1 million (and climbing) Facebook likes for birthday

  72. feministhater

    Just to add that this could have gone bad really quickly. Those guys could have beaten the kid to with in an inch of his life for being creepy. This should never have happened.

  73. feministhater

    Girls who are good-hearted and average-pretty (as opposed to super hot – boys don’t hit on those girls as much because they don’t think they even have a chance) want to be kind but then find themselves the recipient of a lot of unwanted advances. This actually trains them to deliver nuclear rejections because the boys don’t get their Not interested hints, and the girls are desperate to get away from these kinds of smothering advances.

    Did you just ‘justify’ nuclear rejections? How about a simple and polite, ‘no thanks’. What is a ‘not interested’ hint? Perhaps they should stop with the stupid ‘hints’ and ‘signs’ and other bull crap and tell a guy whether they are interested or not.

    Also, ‘good-hearted’ and ‘nuclear rejection’ do not go together.

  74. feministhater

    Welcome to Fem Hater’s School of Thought. Not the nice kind.

    This incident and it’s resultant unintended consequences are the direct result of SSM’s daughter. And here’s why.

    Who out of all parties decided to intervene? Was it the teacher? No. Was it ‘C’? No. Or, was it SSM’s daughter? Yea, right, it was SSM’s daughter. As most girls go, she saw a place for drama creation and latched on. She saw a loner kid and decided that her awesomeness could save the day. As with most pet projects, which I see as similar to liberal world wide ‘save the people’ projects, they are done to bring the ‘do gooder’ feelings of being ‘better’ and have no real result and what usually happens is exactly the opposite of the so called ‘intentions’ of the help given. The project’s subject or subjects respond in a way that is ‘creepy’ and the pet becomes enamored with the helpy helperton, which is then seen as ‘unwanted attention’.

    The real issue of ‘unwanted attention’ needs to be addressed. Who really brought unwanted attention? The person who decided to intervene when not asked; OR, the person who was intervened upon, who didn’t ask for help but got it anyway and responded in kind?

    This is a classic case. SSM’s daughter saw a target that she thought she could control and correct and much to her dismay, he responded and liked her. Still, she could have rebuked him at this point but didn’t, she kept him as a pet. Further to this, she told others he was a nuisance that wouldn’t leave her alone and when confronted with the truth of her actions, lied. She should have stuck to her words and let him go. Instead, as most girls do when their pet project gets out of hand, she pawned it on others to correct her mistake and get her out of dodge.

    Blame firmly rests in the hands protagonist.

  75. Water Cannon Boy

    Isn’t this another form of apex fallacy? Damaged and new to school. I’m not surprised that this particular kid got that attached, but it’s seems like an extreme case. Not one that proves anything. Kids that have spent time in places like abusive orphanages will assign inflated values of generosity to acts of mundane courtesy.
    I would expect similar clingyness if a boy had offered to help. Especially if the boy helping first approached and began talking to him solo. It would have generated, in a way, a one-itius. ‘You’re the only one that’s tried to be friends with me.’
    I’ll even say that I’ll give the kid the benefit of the doubt and say, since you didn’t actually say it, is that he may not have been pursuing her as a girlfriend. Just smothering her out of desperation for friendship, that he thought wasn’t available anywhere.
    But I agree it’s better for a guy to extend a hand to somebody like this kid, in this extreme case. But a boy extending a hand can still have the same attachment problems.

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