Saturday, March 25, 2023

Hi Shayna,

A while ago I was at a bat mitzvah and my parents were talking to these other parents. These other parents were talking about their daughter who is lonely and doesn’t have any friends. They asked me to be friends with their daughter because they were just so sad that every Shabbat their daughter spends hours alone in their house. I only agreed because of how sad those parents sounded. But now, their daughter and are great friends. Should I tell her?

Unsure Ursula

Dear Unsure Ursula,

I don’t believe that there is one correct answer in this situation. I feel you would be justified in telling her and also in not telling her.

I’ll give you two options:

Those who say yes: Yes, you should. Just think of yourself in her situation. Would you want to know? Would she want to know? Honesty is the foundation of trust for friendship. But remember, kindness is the foundation of humanity. Tell her gently. Be sensitive to how she might feel. Remember to tell her that regardless of why you became friends initially you continue to stay friends with her because of who she is.

Those who say no: No, you shouldn’t. You’re friends with her now because you like her, so why cause tension between you guys? The girl was lonely, so don’t make her feel bad about it. People meet in all different ways for all different reasons and it won’t really affect you anyway.

Remember next time she tells you about the carrots in your teeth before picture day, the trail of toilet paper on your shoe that followed you from the bathroom to your classroom; when she pulled your skirt out of your stockings before you gave your class presentation. That’s the friend you want. However, if she’s the one that put that stuff there, forget it.

Shayna is a 6th grader and knows what kids in elementary school and middle school are going through. She can be reached at [email protected] She’s looking forward to hearing from you!

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