A few days back, my girlfriend bumped into someone she knew from school but hadn’t connected to since at the subway stop. They chatted for a bit, and then her train came. To her surprise, the guy got on the train with her despite the fact that it was not going in the direction that he was. During the trip, he mentioned several times how lonely he was, and how bitter and angry that makes him. In school, my girlfriend had been kind to this person after his diagnosis with Aspergers, during which time he shared that he had suicidal tendencies. Now, she’s worried that he doesn’t have anyone with whom he can share these feelings. Other than a mutual appreciation of the same TV series, they don’t have anything in common.
This evening, the person sent my girlfriend an email asking to go to a movie together. On one hand, she feels like she has a responsibility to help someone so obviously in need of companionship. On the other, she has no interest in spending any more time with the guy, and has neither the time or energy to become this person’s emotional support system, because she’ll be starting an intensive program in Engineering soon. She doesn’t want to agree to one meeting and give the impression that she wants to be his BFF, but she doesn’t want the guilt of ghosting him or turning him down and later learning that he had hurt himself or others. He doesn’t seem to take hints very well, or he wouldn’t have followed her home.
Should she give him the one hang out he wants, or should she find a way to turn him down gently? She wants my advice, but I don’t know what to say.
What About Bob?