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They saw I was teaching Sunday School, so they got up and left

Trying to bury the hatchet with someone you had a falling-out with several years ago is the best idea. But if they don't want to make amends, it's their loss.
Trying to bury the hatchet with someone you had a falling-out with several years ago is the best idea. But if they don't want to make amends, it's their loss.
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Dear Angela,

Last Sunday, I was asked to substitute teach our single adult Sunday School class. A couple of years ago I had a falling-out with another member of the ward. It wasn’t that dramatic of a falling-out; we just aren’t friends anymore. When she came in the room I heard her say, “Who is teaching today?” When someone responded with my name she “whispered” to her group of friends that they should “definitely go to a different class.”

Directly following that, and almost at the exact moment that I finished introducing myself, she and about five of her friends got up and left the classroom. It was awkward. People may know about our falling out, but really it’s just very noticeable when that many people get up and leave a room. I’m embarrassed to say that it made me feel bad. I’m in my late 20s and shouldn’t let something like that get to me. Do you think I should approach her about this? See if we can’t bury the hatchet?

Sincerely,

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

That was a major mean girl move, and mean girls (mean women, mean grandmas) exist and can be hurtful at any age, so don’t beat yourself up about your hurt feelings.

Burying the hatchet is always a good idea. In fact, it’s the best idea. It’s too hard and energy-consuming and even painful to stay mad about something for so long.

You don’t need to approach your ex-friend about her decision to leave your class, but you might, in your own way, reach out to her and express a genuine desire to make amends. Now, a couple of years later and removed from your falling out, she might be ready to move forward with a clean slate.

Maybe (unlikely) something else was going on and there’s another reason completely unrelated to you that she and her squad had to leave the classroom. It’s unlikely, but still, talking to her opens the doors of communication and sometimes that’s the critical piece that can make bad feelings go away.

Another thing you might consider, Anonymous, is that even though she may have intended to hurt your feelings by having a classroom walkout, it may not have been the worst thing. If they were going to have a bad spirit about themselves because you were the teacher, then yes, good riddance ladies and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

You probably taught a great lesson and it’s their loss — not yours.

Love,

Angela

Readers: What thoughts could you offer Anonymous to help with this situation? Do you leave a class if you don’t like the teacher?

Advice columnist Angela Trusty answers questions about a variety of topics, including the Mormon young single adult experience. She is published weekly in the Deseret News and Washington Times. Email: askangela.dn@gmail.com Twitter: angelatrusty