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I Feel I'm Being Used.

  1. Mar 17, 2009 #1
    No, this is not about a girl. Do you ever feel someone is only being friendly to you because they want something from you ?("Ofcourse, silly question!")

    Well, I'm a quiet guy, and I'm fairly good academically, but not nearly the top nerd. Now there's this guy who I feel is only being friendly with me because he's not so hot in mathematics, and he wants me to help him. I have no problem helping someone who asks me, but this guy is a leech. He keeps bugging me to give him my solutions to the tuts I have written up; during, before and after lectures he's asking me questions on old problems and so on.

    Now I know this guy doesn't consider me a friend. How do I know? I just do; one can tell. We've never so much as shared a joke. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I kinda feel pathetic: people borrow books from me, acting all friendly until I lend them the book, and I never see them again until the end of semester. Asking me to write their code, help them with tuts etc.

    It seems lazy students are attracted to this pathetic figure slinked away silently in the corner, and they creep over, sucking the life out of me. As I said before, I am a good student, but not nearly the best, and quite a few of the more average students take it upon themselves to use me.

    Perhaps this is more feeling sorry for myself than anything, and here I am looking for your sympathy, or what, I don't know. But I am bothered by all this. I don't like them particulary, and they don't like me particularly. But I'm not going to buntly tell them to leave me alone- I just am not that type of person. I don't quite know what to do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2
    Start giving him the wrong answers. If he asks you how to solve a problem just say : "I don't know".
    It would be best to tell them how you feel.
  4. Mar 17, 2009 #3

    Tom Mattson

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    Just refuse. You clearly seem agitated by this, and by giving them solutions you're really not doing them any favors either. After all they have to pass the exams on their own, and if they can't do the homework then they won't be able to do that.

    Of course you could always tell them about this great website called Physics Forums that comes complete with a Homework Help section. We don't help anybody unless they show that they've attempted the problem first.
  5. Mar 17, 2009 #4
    I'm a quiet and nice sort of person most of the time but I'll certainly say no to people asking for favours if I don't like them and feel they are only trying to use me. It's not mean or impolite to say no. Not letting people walk all over you is something that you ought to learn eventually anyway. There's no way around this problem besides simply saying no and sticking to it.
  6. Mar 17, 2009 #5
    Just be really, really creepy.

    Or you could be with your real friends and ignoring the leechers in majourity.

    Leeches are everywhere, what I find best is to tell them where in the book(s) they can find the proper method, and then forcing them to do it. It might seem harsh but it really is needed. Some even become offended, just ignore it.

    Or you could just respond with an "lol donkaments" and then walk away, but that usually doesn't work.
  7. Mar 17, 2009 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    No. Just no. Anyone who says that to me will find himself on the business end of an atomic wedgie, just on general principle. I hate chat room speak.
  8. Mar 17, 2009 #7
    Lol, I have considered some of the things you have menioned.

    I thought of giving him wrong answers, but immediately quit that idea. It seems too malicious, and he might suspect I'm doing it on purpose. Then he hates me and I hate him and it's all just a hate-fest; not very nice.
    Simiarly if I keep saying I don't know. He'd probably catch on.

    Im just not the type of person who can refuse someone directly, when they ask me. I just dont think I could do that. Perhaps I should tell him about PF! But likely, since it's easier to ask me, he might continue bugging me?

    I don't know, I told him our lecturer is quite O.K. with people asking her questions outside letures, but he says he doesn't want to bother her any more, as he's already asked her many questions! Irony?! I remember this guy from last year- he was already pestering the lecturers we had then with thousands of questions.
    It's just that type of person who doesn't want to work at something, but rather ask thousands of questions to get you to tell him everything.

    I can tell myself "Tomorrow I'll refuse", but I know I won't do any such thing. Worse, I know that's what I probably should tell him.
  9. Mar 17, 2009 #8
    I recommend going through your explanations of answers very quickly and looking irritated and impatient when the leech asks for repeated explanations. Start getting huffy and let out sighs of frustration to implicitly send the message that you find this fellow slow and lazy and you do not value your interactions with him. After a few times like this it is almost gauranteed that he will no longer approach you for help in this way.

    It's interesting that you describe yourself as "slinked away silently in the corner" since I really believe that body language is the key to solving this problem.

    Fortunately you don't have to, instead just exude the body-language of an impatient, arrogant, unpleasant know-it-all and leechers will avoid you like the plague.
  10. Mar 17, 2009 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    If you won't refuse then you should at least profit from it. Set up a private tutoring business. I have one, I charge $30 per hour for math help. People pay it too, because it beats taking the course over again.
  11. Mar 17, 2009 #10
    What if it's online poker chat speak :redface:
  12. Mar 17, 2009 #11
    I'm really happy to meet you. I need $345.00. It's for a good purpose, don't worry. I'll be PMing you with my PayPal info so you can deposit it there. Thanks a million!!
  13. Mar 17, 2009 #12

    Ben Niehoff

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    Then this is a skill you need to learn. People are going to walk all over you for the rest of your life if you don't learn to say no.

    It's often a matter of confidence and self-respect, I think. You have to evaluate your priorities and put yourself first.

    This gives you a perfect means to turn him away. Next time he asks, say,

    "Look, I'm kinda tired of you asking me this stuff, and I have other things to do. Could you leave me alone? Here's a great website where people can help you if you still need it: ..."

    Say it like you mean it (not over-the-top or angry, though). Most likely you will get an apology and the guy will never bug you again.
  14. Mar 17, 2009 #13
    That's the most passive aggressive thing I've ever heard.

    People who are used allow themselves to be. I'm at the top of my math and physics classes and whenever someone asks for help, I'll provide it to them. If they ask for the answer, I'll tell them that it's really not that hard and walk away. This doesn't make them hate me either. I'm very well liked and respected, sooo....

    EDIT: Im reading through this thread and... why does everyone have such round about ways of getting them to leave you alone? It takes so much less effort, and will make people respect you more if you tell them no in some way or another. Homework is worth 10% or less in all of my classes, so I doubt anyone would be devastated.
  15. Mar 17, 2009 #14


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    I know where you're coming from. If you were the type of person who could spit in someone's face ... you wouldn't be in this sitch, now would you? :wink:

    My suggestion: teach him to fish, and be up front about it. Tom Mattson has the right idea, but seriously:

    "You know, I know this place online where you can get all sorts of help. I'll give you the URL, you join me there and you'll get all sorts of help. It'll be great."
    You see, you are actually helping him. You're getting him what he needs and you're getting what you need.

    Every subsequent time he bugs you, you have the perfect response "Have you joined yet? No? Come on. Let me know when you've joined. You want to do well, right?"

    Now ... whether he actually joins or not is up to him. But you have (tried to) help him, you've let yourself off the hook, and you have the perfect thing to say every time he approaches you.

    More likely what will happen is he will just stop asking. And you won't have had to be rude about it.
  16. Mar 17, 2009 #15
    Ignore all of the above 'advice' that involves being weird or odd, as it wont solve anything and will only succeed in making you look weird and odd.

    My advice would be to be to be completely honest. I have no problem with this and am bluntly honest with people, it can alientate them but it really makes no odds to me if they dont like it. Fortunately I have learnt to be more tactful in recent years.

    I realise this is difficult for some people. My advice would be that if you want to help them, charge like Tom suggested. If you dont then simply lie, say you dont have the time right now, or you dont know the answer.

    Seriously though: work towards waying no to people (this is going to be hard and will probably take a long time) its not rude to do so. If you dont learn this most vital skill then people will **** on you for the rest of your life.
  17. Mar 17, 2009 #16
    Just tell everyone to stop bugging you and to do their own homework. If they need help, the school probably offers some sort of tutoring program, that would be very helpful.

    You just have to be firm, and not let people use you for your brain! You are much to bright of a man (just assuming, here) to let that happen.
  18. Mar 17, 2009 #17
    Its happened to me too, I generally just agree to meet people somewhere and then never show up. When they ask me about it later I say I forgot but Im pretty busy and wont be able to meet again for a couple weeks. They tend to leave me alone after that.
  19. Mar 17, 2009 #18
    That's terrible! You agree to help people and then leave them stranded? Why not just say from the beginning "I'm pretty busy" or something?
  20. Mar 18, 2009 #19


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    Yeah, that pretty much tops the passive-aggressive list.
  21. Mar 18, 2009 #20
    Thanks everyone.

    I have no problem helping someone work through something-- I already do volunteer work tutoring HS kids-- I only have a problem with people incessantly asking me to help them, or if people want me to do something for them, with no or little effort on their part.

    Haven't seen this guy since I last posted. But whenever I turn around in the library it always seems he's sitting a few desks away from me. Odd.
    I'll tell him about PF, but some people are soooo lazy you can't help but suspect....

    I reeeeeally do't think I could ever get myself to say no. Really not. That's just the way I am, and I've tried changing to no avail-- don't try and change me!

    Last time he asked for my tut solutions I said I wasn't done with the tut (which was true btw.), and he eventually stopped pestering me about it.

    I'll have to see what happens next time. Maybe I'll just grind it out until the end of semester. Can't be that bad.
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