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Made Someone Cry

  1. Nov 9, 2012 #1
    All right! There is this guy in my lab. We have been partners since the beginning of the semester. The problems began when he started to gossip about me with other people. I didn't do anything about it because quite frankly, I did not know what to do in such a situation. After that he then began to be more patronizing. A specific case is when we were doing a group lab for physics, and I contributed to most of the problems done but we had to diagram our results in an excel file, he said out-loud two times, "Did you get the excel spreadsheet that I completed?" This doesn't sound bad, but I contributed to the spreadsheet and problem-set. In that respect, I took as if he was trying to alert everyone in the classroom that he was doing all the work.

    That was the first group project. The second time is, even though I knew all the material as, again as usual, I was doing my fair share of the mathematical work, he then treated me like I was some child saying, "This is how 'x' is related to 'y', and how does 'z' relate to 'insert other variable?" This was done in a group where I was doing the work I delegated myself to do. But the reason he did that was because I made an error, to which I picked up on once he mentioned it. I did say, "Oh! I'm sorry, I will redo it" but he decided to ask that question that made me look like an idiot.

    Yesterday, he said I needed the most help on the group project when we didn't even begin cracking open the problem set to begin, and I snapped. I gave him a tongue lashing. From referring to him as being grown within a barnyard family, to saying he was liken to a Neanderthal that couldn't distinguish a stick from a rock. I said it calmly and the group heard it, and there were some snickering. I thought I saw his eyes watering up, so I went further until he began crying. Then the professor stopped the music and asked us outside. After he apologized to which I didn't accept on the basis, just because he is crying doesn't mean I need to amend this “relationship”. After openly rejecting his apology in the hallway, the professor asked me to leave the class for the day.

    Then today I get an email from the professor asking for a meeting. Now I have to deal with that and even though I should be worried about possible research prospects and I have been doing well so far in research as I have been doing it for almost a year now, at this point, I don't care if I get kicked off. There are too many people like him at the school that believe they are better because they happen to be in a higher income bracket and wear the latest fashion.

    I just don't care for that boy any longer and I am glad I saw him crying. I am glad everyone else saw him crying to this day, and I won't accept his apology. He decided to belittle me this whole semester and when he gets the same treatment he’s been dishing out, he begins to wail?

    I've quickly become the bad guy now, and on campus I just get stares. Nothing that seems like stares of hate, but rather people just look at me more often than they did before. I don't like that but the guy shouldn't treat people that way. I simply put up with it hoping that I can be amiable and he'd stop (a major overhaul from my previous confrontational self) but that turned around when he decided to take it to the next level.

    I need to know what to say to the professor now. I am not going to accept his halfhearted apology as I believe one apologizes when he has done something wrong, unintentionally, or has had time to rethink the actions committed and knows why he or she is apologizing. He obviously just wanted me to further bend to his will, thus putting me back in place whilst he gains favor with the class as I am sitting there looking like some bully.

    Anyway, could I have some advice? I have been in my head all day going through scenarios of what to say. (Please don't ask me to apologize, I really dislike this guy for the way he treated me and I have 4.5 more weeks left dealing with him). I need to know how to make the professor see my side of the story without further looking like some bully to which he told me he is against.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2012 #2
    Maybe the guy didn't even realize he was upsetting you. Did you ever think that what he did was not on purpose? Did you ever consider having a calm conversation with him in private?

    No, instead you decided to give him a tongue lashing. I wouldn't immediately call this a mature way of solving things. It would have been much better to just ignore him to talk to him about it.

    Are you going to give a tongue lashing to everybody who criticizes you or to everybody who makes you feel uncomfortable? I don't think you'll get far with that attitude.
  4. Nov 9, 2012 #3
    Haha you made a boy cry what a wimp
  5. Nov 9, 2012 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    I would first compose a letter describing the events leading up to the actual confrontation. To me this is similar to workplace abuse with the professor as the one in authority trying to make it go away.

    Clearly, you felt wronged by this and the professor adding further difficulties does not help the matter.

    How to proceed is the next problem? Does your school have some sort of student / prof mediation counselor? It may be time to talk with them and get guidance on how to proceed. Barring that you could speak with the dean and ask his help in brokering the situation.

    They may ultimately suggest you move on to a new class.

    What might work is a mediated meeting with the student you had the difficulties with where you can explain how you feel about how his actions affected you, embarrassed you...

    Much as we would like to believe that this is a one-sided issue, you did strike back with insults and other damning statements that hurt this student. For that you should consider apologizing for but not until you have the opportunity to fully express how you felt about his verbal insults and abuse and how it undermined your confidence...

    I often feel that profs act a lot like parents, they don't take sides but instead reprimand the student making the most noise.

    I once had a work situation like this where I was a project lead and one of my team leads was undermining my efforts at uniformity by always modifying my common code library with his own. My boss made it appear that it was our joint problem and a failure to communicate. Sometime late he acknowledged that the team lead was more at fault but he hoped I as a project lead would be able to resolve it. In the end, I had to keep talking with the team lead to understand why he felt he had to keep changing my code and eventually we hammered out a common library with some of his features added and became good friends.

    When someone finds a mistake in your work its good to acknowledge it as you did and then fix it. Its also good to have knowledge of his mistakes in your back pocket to remind him that we are all human and that it doesn't help the team to belittle anyone. Remember in this instant you are a teamplayer and so is he.

    I hope this works out for you. I know it will be difficult to even consider apologizing but you must express yourself first and see that he does indeed understand before you apologize and then he may sincerely apologize as well but don't expect that to happen.
  6. Nov 10, 2012 #5
    I may be in the wrong for how I went about dealing with the situation. I just reverted back to my usual ways when I feel threatened and feel as though there is an injustice.

    I get it from the professors standpoint, it was better for me to leave I guess seeing as I was not too pleased with his quick apology. Then again, I didn't like having to go in the room, pack my stuff and leave. That was embarrassing.

    I didn't get much sleep because I kept thinking about it. Hopefully, by monday it will be resolved. This week wasn't a good week anyway, my first horrible week of the semester. I just want to be over with it.

    The school, I don't like as much because of what I said above, and I do try but seeing as I am a commuter and don't have any friends, it can be a bit tough to handle. But I do think I was wrong to lash out, I just don't want to apologize to him. I'd rather apologize to the class room.

    I will try the letter to organize my thoughts and actually get my side of the story of why I lashed out.

    @micromass: Yes, I know I won't get far which is why I am working on it. I cannot change over-night, it takes time.
  7. Nov 10, 2012 #6
    Yes, this is a very often seen issue at workplace. But seeing that you didn't *amend* the relationship after his apology, I find you a little *un-amendable* of yourself, which is not a good point and that is why you keep you in your head all day.
    I am paranoid myself and I used to have times think about a single statement someone made just like a rooted sickness with which I was bearing. I later realized things just came then left so quickly, all of which happened just like in a blink of the eyes. Such disease gradually gets off me; I am not fully over it though, I think I didn't have my own *defensive* skills.
    Accepting an apology from someone doesn't exactly mean forgiving; it doesn't necessarily so. He shamed you in public, he apologized to you later and you accepted it but you might not get away with the shame. Once you meet your professor, you may wish to ask the boy to repeat his apology to you in front of the lab group, and you may also need to say sorry for your *fix-back*.
    So please amend the relationship, and keep your tongue lash better and smoother, and I would always consider this as a daily met joke if I were you.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  8. Nov 10, 2012 #7
    It's bit unprofessional to get into personal attacks. It's always possible to make others cry and being objective about criticism :tongue2: IMO, proper way of handling situation was just outsmarting him in work.

    I will disagree with micro a bit. Everyone should have enough people-skills and emotional intelligence to do group work. There is no excuse for not realizing that you are unnecessarily making others uncomfortable.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  9. Nov 10, 2012 #8
    I agree with this actually. But just because it should be so, doesn't mean it is. In my opinion, both people are in the wrong here. You can't only blame the OP, or only blame the other person.
  10. Nov 10, 2012 #9
    Good, you showed him. You should be happy that you made him cry, he made you feel bad too didn't he?
  11. Nov 10, 2012 #10
    I do understand why you lashed out and that you probably couldn't stop yourself. Don't take my remarks too personally. But I do mean what I said. You're going to meet a lot of people who are not nice people. And lashing out every time is not a smart thing to do. Certainly not when it's your boss or somebody powerful.

    I do empathize with you, but you got to work on these things. Have you considered taking an anger management course?? Do you feel that you might benefit from that??
  12. Nov 10, 2012 #11


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    My advice in dealing with people like this is to learn to dish out something that sounds like a complement but everyone knows is a dig. If they don't get the hint you can continue it until they confront you or dish it out a couple of more times, then have a private discussion with them.
  13. Nov 11, 2012 #12
    What I would do:

    1. Note down all the crap you have been taking from him. With times and dates. This is vital for getting your facts straight in a meeting.

    2. Make it clear you stand by exactly what you said, but not how you delivered it. Note that you didn't mean it to upset him.

    3. Agree to a mutual apology.

    The key is to not cave, stand by what you said but be (or at least appear) to be reasonable.

    Also, as a matter of principle, I would not do what average says. Directness > snideness.
    Infact I would go so far as to say that snide remarks piss people off more than anything else, it also makes you look sly.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  14. Nov 11, 2012 #13


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    I'm sorry but statements like these do nothing but make situations worse by contributing to further misunderstandings. The best thing you can usually do is talk to the person and ask them if they even know how they sound. If they can't seem to grasp that they are being jerks, and continue the behavior, then you should take it to the next level by going to your professor. If that doesn't solve the problem then you should try to take further steps to remove yourself from the group, and if that isn't possible then you will have to decide for yourself whether it's better to "take it" or to try to dish it back out.

    However I understand that people are going to be upset and generally not thinking logically about things in this situation and it can be very difficult if not impossible to hold your tongue when you feel you have been wronged. However that doesn't excuse the attitude of "they deserved it" and such in this case.

    Mentalist, your best bet is to simply apologize to your professor and explain that at the time you were angry and that it won't happen again. I'm sure you've been under some stress and the professor can understand this. Just own up to it and he's likely to give you a slap on the wrist at worst.
  15. Nov 11, 2012 #14


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    I absolutely agree.

    Mentalist, it sounds like you agree that you might have misinterpreted the other guys actions or motives.

    I say follow Drakkith's suggestions.
  16. Nov 11, 2012 #15
    Mentalist, nobody should belittile you like the guy did. However, you have to be clever dealing with these situations. Follow Drakkith's advice and make it clear what the guy said and it made you angry and it wont happen again. After this incident probably no one will try to mess with you.
  17. Nov 11, 2012 #16


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    I say he deserves it.

    - If he knew it was hurting you, then he deserves it.
    - If he didn't realize he was hurting you, then it's a lesson well learnt, and he deserved it.

    I'm tired of seeing two people fight it out, and the one that gets the most punishment is the one that didn't cry out in pain as much.
  18. Nov 11, 2012 #17


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    Yeah because an eye for an eye solves all problems! Kudos for promoting that! Both people are at fault for acting like children.
  19. Nov 11, 2012 #18


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    I didn't say it solves all problems, and I didn't say the OP isn't at fault, I just said the guy deserved it, and I stick by that.
  20. Nov 11, 2012 #19


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    Although we can only go off your side of the story, if what you say has enough accuracy then the guy sounds like someone who can dish but can't take: in other words a scared little man.

    Anyway, one thing about being professional in any situation are those famous three words: cover your ***.

    Just make sure that if some manipulative jerkoff wants to take other people (including yourself) for a ride, you can just state the facts of your situation and provide examples of stuff you have actually done in your work that shows you have demonstrated that you have actually done what you say you have done.

    If you work in a place that values meritocracy, then the management (as well as other primary non-decision makers) will favor your stance and also your ability to deal with the un-desirables in a way that is professional and doesn't resort to name calling, back-stabbing, manipulation, and (god forbid) little men crying in the hallway.

    Any person that has done something long enough where they have to deal significantly with a lot of people that have gone through some bad experiences will have their own frameworks designed to deal with jerkoffs.

    It's the reason why a lot of stores don't offer credit or a small tab anyway and it's also the reason people do all these other things that seem anal, not nice, and insensitive: they may be that way but chances are they are doing it because they had an uncomfortable experience being lax and friendly and not considering that just maybe you get the occasional jerkoff that can ruin your week (and for the really unfortunate, their life).
  21. Nov 11, 2012 #20
    Ok here's a serious advice: Do what you feel is right. That'll depend on the situation (that you know better than anyone here) and your personality, there isn't an answer that is right for everyone...
  22. Nov 11, 2012 #21
    While the elementary school approach of 1.) Ignoring them, 2.) Asking them to stop, and 3.) Telling a teacher (the professor, in your case) does seem a little excessive, I do think that that's the correct approach. Using those actions allows for any miscommunications to be cleared up; maybe he wasn't aware that what he was saying hurt you, in which case your personal attacks may have been even more devastating to him than you might have expected.

    Regardless, if he was in fact aware of his belittling remarks and actions, then by all means he deserves to be told off. I doubt he appreciated it having been in front of all of the other classmates, as well as the professor, but occasionally, people do need to experience what they so readily do to others.

    Whether or not people thought of what you did as a good or bad thing is beside the point. As of now, your best course of action is to explain yourself to the professor so as to clear up any misunderstandings, and to apologize to those of whom you think are worthy of an apology (which appears to exclude the boy who you lashed out at).
  23. Nov 15, 2012 #22
    I was in a similar situation at work. A colleague was consistently direspectful to me and I put up with it. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and yelled at him in front of other colleagues and made some hurtful remarks. Later I apologized to him for yelling at him in public. I did not, however, retract the substance of what I said. He understood that he had been in the wrong and we ended up being on good terms.

    I do think you should apologize to this guy for the way you spoke to him. Say something like: "I should have talked to you in private not insulted you publicly". It sounds like your issue with him is justified, but the way you dealt with it was not. I think you should also apologize to the professor for disrupting the class and say that in the future you will resolve your disputes in private and not waste valuable class time.

    I do not think you have to accept this guy's apology if it seems insincere. Simply make it clear to him that you find his actions towards you disrespectful and intolerable, but you apologize for insulting him in public rather than having a private conversation with him.

    I don't mean to be judgemental of you; like I said I did exactly the same thing once. However I later regretted the way I handled the situation. Situations like this will happen to (almost) everybody at school and work. The best thing to do is try to handle it as best you can and learn from the experience.
  24. Nov 27, 2012 #23

    I did end up apologizing for lashing out. I took the advice of someone saying I should write things out, and that was very helpful as it allowed me to think clearly and go into the situation. The guy and I are still the in the same group as we both felt it would be a bit awkward for the classroom if we weren't.

    Now I have about 2 weeks left, including this one and I am done with that class.

    He did apologize in front of people which was embarrassing for me as people began looking at me, then he sent a follow up email apologizing. He said he was joking and that he felt by my not doing anything and smiling (a tick I have when I feel uncomfortable) he thought I was in on it. That is his claim, and may be I took it out of context. But I remember him talking about me whilst me not being around (I was in the hallway), but anyway, I don't like being the bud of the jokes and I did not necessarily believe his excuse. But he did seem genuine about it. I just cannot read him at all though. He looks at you with sincerity. I dunno. But I do know I am done with this class and cannot wait to get out.

    As for the professor, he is a good guy. He explained that he had no idea and he saw one guy crying and he had to immediately dissolve the situation. I believe him.

    All in all, thanks for the advice. I will just begin writing things out. I felt that advice helped me a lot within this situation and I was able to handle it well, I think.
  25. Nov 28, 2012 #24


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    Nice job Mentalist. It's amazing how often problems like this arise due to simple misunderstandings between people.
  26. Nov 28, 2012 #25


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    Good that you have both shown to be grown up enough to not escalate the issue to some absurd size. Happens way too often.
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