I do have mild feelings for P, but there’s a block around those since I learned about his situation. I have no intention of acting on those feelings, but I still need to be careful for my own sake. Playing the role of educator seems to energize P, so my one friend who knows about his situation suggested I go into P’s office during office hours, build rapport that way, and then at the end of the semester (I’m planning to transfer schools to finish my degree) tell P he can e-mail me if he ever needs someone to talk to. I’m sure P has friends, but it does seem like he could use the support. Maybe my age will be an advantage in this respect, but at the same time I don’t want to do anything inappropriate.
So I guess my question is, what do you think of the situation? Does my friend’s plan sound like a good idea?
Honestly, right now I just want P to be happy. Whatever else happens I can deal with. It’s not my place to fix the situation, but I want to do whatever I can to support him. — Concerned Student
Um, no. I cannot think of a worse idea than you trying to “fix” or somehow support your professor — whom you have a crush on! — through his personal issues that you accidentally found out about. Actually, I can think of a worse idea — using your professor’s office hours to “build rapport,” with a misguided idea that your age will be some sort of advantage in the fight to save your professor’s emotional well-being. WTF? How on earth would your age be an advantage? Unless you’re hoping to boost his ego by making him feel sexually appealing to a young co-ed, how would your inexperience and naïveté possibly be of benefit to an older professor going through a personal dilemma?
And for the love of God, don’t use his office hours as your own personal Florence Nightingale launch pad. That time is for students with legitimate needs to come see him. That time is for him to plan lessons, grade papers, read student emails, and maybe enjoy a croissant in peace. It’s not for building rapport with a lovesick college student who hopes to win his heart through a series of bad ideas. Just, no.
Mind your business, stick with people your own age, and trust that P has better support in his life than what some young student he barely knows could offer, however well-intentioned it may be.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.