Allah fashioned the human, as well as every type of creature, to naturally interact with similar creatures. The closer these two creatures are, the more they will interact and become similar to each other in their manners and characteristics, to the point that one would be unable to distinguish between them except in terms of their physical appearance. –ibn Taymiyyah
Consider my interaction with high school girls. Now on a regular basis we have a very, “I’m the teacher, you’re the student” kind of relationship. I give them homework, they do it, turn it in to me, I grade it and turn it back to them, we rinse and repeat if desired. That’s our daily routine. But every once in a while, I’m given the opportunity to hang out with the girls, away from the instruction, and be with them when they aren’t students, but just… girls.
Yesterday at work we had our Eid celebration which included the girls going bowling and then to Old Country Barf-fest. When we first got to the bowling alley, I was pretty calm and chill, sitting with the other teachers and acting “my age.” After a while I got kinda… I don’t want to say bored, but I guess fidgety. So I hopped up off my seat to go mingle with my students. I figured now was the perfect time to get to know them, outside of the classroom, away from all the homeworulerk, quizzes, tests and disciplining.
I was hovering around some 9th grade girls from Geometry and Algebra 1, and they offered to let me in on their next game. So to be polite, I accepted their invitation. At first it started off pretty slow. They were acting nuts-o with one another, and I just watched, waited my turn, and missed my own friends from high school and they way we were. But after awhile, I was bit by the teenage girl bugg. They were all acting so goofy and cooky with one another, and then with me too, that it turned into one of those, “You wanna go nuts?! Let’s go nuts!” kinda moments. One of them was pretending to be a sports commentator giving a play-by-play of our game, and getting reactions from everyone. She was holding a pretend air mic. I suggested she use a shoe And she did! She interviewed all of us about our feelings about the game. Then later, one of them was bowling so slow, I called her a granny and we were all in an uproar of giggles. It got worse because the granny-bowler squatted low to push the ball with a spin down the lane and slipped and fell on her back. Her friends immediately grabbed their phones and cameras to capture the moment with some pictures.
After leaving the “juveniles” I went to hang out with my adult co-workers. We decided to have our own game of bowling. However, after being around high school girls all morning, we turned into a bunch of goofy girls ourselves. We gave each other stupid names on the display TV including Runs with Small Feet and I don’t knw wat. We were all taking jabs at each other for stinking up a storm on the lanes, but I was doing the worst by far. I was bowling soo poorly, that after getting my 5th gutter ball in a row, in a fit of anger and embarassment, I did an Ayesha-collapse in the middle of the lane. After that my friends were in a fit of giggles and chasing me with a camera phone to take pictures. hehehehe.
It gets worse. As I mentioned earlier we went to OCB and while we were eating together, my friends started bugging me and teasing me and taunting me with something really stupid. I got so frustrated that I picked up a pepper shaker and dumped it over one of my friends’ brownies and cheesecake. She flipped and got pretty jokingly upset with me. We laughed it off and moved on.
About five minutes later I saw some high school students sitting in the booth behind us. When one of the girls’ friends turned away from her food, the girls picked up a glass of Coke and poured it over their friend’s bowl! I was so ticked that they were wasting food that way, that I felt the need to point it out to them. However, after I finished, my own friend gave me this look like, “Yea right!” because I had JUST finished putting pepper all over her dessert!!
What’s my age again? Am I a high school girl? Or a 22 year old married teacher?
Long story short: it is true what ibn Taymiyyah says. If you hang out with a certain group of people (good or bad) you end up picking up their habits and acting like them. In my case it’s a bit dangerous because I’m with teenage girls all day, and I’m 22 years old! I shouldn’t act like I did about 7 years ago, I should act my age… right?
Has this ever happened to any of you? Prolonged exposure to a certain group of people caused you to act like them?