Lonely boy from Hong Kong

Originally Published: April 7, 2006
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Alice,

I am come from Hong Kong. Nice to meet you. I am a smart boy. I can get good results. I always ask questions. Teachers love me very much. But my classmates do not. They hate me. They laugh at me. I am alone. What can I do. Please help!!

—HK student

Dear HK student,

First off, it sounds like you are an enthusiastic and diligent student and it's great that you are succeeding academically.  Nonetheless, rejection and teasing from classmates can be tough. Sometimes people can be really mean to one another and kids are known to be sometimes especially cruel.  It's important to remember that bullying is not your fault, and it's not ok for other kids to pick on you.

It's also not clear from what you describe what exactly is making other students not like you. Perhaps your teacher could provide some insight into what's going on, and suggest ways to make friends with others. It is also the responsibility of school staff to intervene if people are making fun of you. Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected at school. If you feel up to it, you could calmly say the next time someone laughs at you that being made fun of is really hurtful. You could ask them why they are teasing you, and ask them to stop.

Here are some other possibilities: do you think other students resent your intelligence and eager class participation? Sometimes it can be annoying if one person does all (or a lot) of the talking in class. Other people may want to participate but feel excluded or less confident about their comments. You may want to consider asking fewer questions in class in order to give others a chance to be involved. Do you compare yourself to others? Maybe people feel like you are trying to show you're better than them. Letting people know things that you honestly respect or admire about them is one way to warm people's feelings toward you. Maybe someone else asked a really smart question, or is a talented musician, or a great poet. Giving someone a sincere compliment can be a good conversation starter. It may seem like everyone hates you if a few people are being really mean. But some of them might be open to friendship.

Hopefully you can convey your love for school to your teachers through homework, and not just through class participation, if asking lots of questions is turning off your peers. You might also try to make friends with people outside of class. Are there student clubs or community activities that interest you? Rather than just trying to show your smarts, you could also focus on learning about other people and finding common interests. Making friends usually requires time and patience, so hang in there! With some minor changes in the ways you approach class and reach out to a few people for friendship, relationships may become smoother with your fellow students over time.

Alice