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Moocher? Advice?

  1. Oct 4, 2009 #1
    I'm sorry if this seems a little bit incoherent, but it frustrates me so much. This whole situation started at the beginning of this semester when I saw a guy I knew from my discrete math class, I didn't think much of the fact that he was so friendly at first, but apparently he had plans. Then he started wanting to study with me, now normally this wouldn't bother me, I like helping people with math if they really want to learn with me, but this guy is focused on productivity: he wanted me to do half the problems and him to do the other half so we could meet up later and combine them into a whole. This got me in a little bit of a huff, as quite frankly, all I care about is whether I truly understand the concepts, thus I do all my homework. Also, our Professor trusts that we do our homework, thus he never collects it, however this guy has an obsession with handing it in, so he always wants me to help him correct it. Now a good month into my linear algebra, we have our first test coming up and this guy wants me to study with him, I am absolutely going to say no, but I don't know how to as I am shy and non-confrontational, thus my current strategy has been not answering phone calls. I can't stand how this guy operates, he's stuck in high-school where he was teachers pet, and now he wants me to help him become professors pet! Auggghhhh I feel so used! Does anybody have any tips on how to break this up without a great deal of drama? Sorry for the venting, If anyone else wishes to vent, I will listen.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2009 #2


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    The best way to tell someone you don't want to study with them is to tell them you don't want to study with them.


    Tell him you conflict with his study habbits and that's it.
  4. Oct 4, 2009 #3
    I keep on telling myself I'll do that but then I chicken out last second.
  5. Oct 4, 2009 #4


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    Just say that you prefer studying alone because you get less distracted. When he asks for your help again, think up another excuse. Hopefully, he'll catch on to your intentions after a few times and leave you alone.
  6. Oct 4, 2009 #5


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    One of the hard lessons to learn as you become an adult is how not become someone's doormat. You have to stand up to this guy. He's not your friend, he wouldn't mind at all if he takes you down with him into an academic abyss.

    For the sake of your future, you have to find a way to tell this guy "No, I have to do what I feel is best for me." Say it with a smile.
  7. Oct 4, 2009 #6
    How much do you value his company?

    You're chickening out because he's going to make you feel ashamed of yourself for it. If he's an operator as you claim, and I'm sure it's so; that's what he'll go for.

    I've seen too many of these to do the shame thing any more. "Go away" works.

    Friends like this are expensive to up-keep as they don't really give a rip about you. Tell him he's a mooch/parisite and you'll study alone, or offer an equitable trade. Tell him you'll have to charge him for tutoring. $10 per hour up front--And Stick To It. That should make him run for easier pickin's.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  8. Oct 4, 2009 #7


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    lisab has a good point here. It is not just about this incident. And this will not be the last time you are faced with this. This is a skill that will benefit you throughout your life.
  9. Oct 4, 2009 #8
    Thank you everyone, I think I have the courage to go through with just telling him that I don't wish to study with him anymore. I don't wish to be mean, since he has never actively been mean to me, nor do I wish to cause tension, just to end this mooching behavior. I think it will become easier with practice.
    I find the picture of me asking him for 10 bucks per hour for study to be quite humorous! I think I might try that.
  10. Oct 4, 2009 #9
    Is he a guy and you a girl?

    I thought this is a dating advice thread when I read

    I just say "No, I want to work by myself" in cases like this.
  11. Oct 4, 2009 #10
    Look at it this way, you have something that he wants - your math skills. He wants to take advantage of that and use you instead of working for it himself. Since you hold all the aces, you are the boss, not him. And so, anything that happens should be under your terms.

    But, he probably realized that he had something you wanted - a friendship. So he held all the aces in that regard. But it turns out, the value of his friendship is worthless, so all bet are off.
  12. Oct 4, 2009 #11


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    While that's great as far as it goes, the OP pointed out that it has been a month now. A little late to simply say 'no thanks' without an explanation.
  13. Oct 4, 2009 #12
    It's never too late to say no, no excuses needed. They won't be heard anyway, but the no will be clear enough. Then comes the begging, pleading, offers of paltry tribute and the wounded bird act. If he stands resolute then the guys true colors will show. That's the coup de grace.
  14. Oct 4, 2009 #13
    No I'm a guy.
  15. Oct 4, 2009 #14


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    Given this guy's work ethic, I also suggest you avoid sitting anywhere near him during exams. He sounds like the sort of person who doesn't mind sharing answers or letting others do the work for him. That's not someone you want to be near during an exam, lest you become the unsuspecting source of his answers.
  16. Oct 4, 2009 #15
    I retract. Lisa and DaveC are right. You obviously feel compelled to justify yourself, and Lisa has provided you the factual and perfect explanation. I'd commit it to memory.
  17. Oct 4, 2009 #16
    I was actually just thinking about this, considering that I got some of the hardest problems on the PS last week, I think I am in good shape to take this test, and maybe that he is not in the best shape. I also thought originally that there might be some sort of reciprocity, however he has asked to photocopy my work, so I doubt there is. My other friends have told me to ditch this friendship, and I found it particularly hurtful when he cut down one of my best friends so maybe there is some active aggression.
  18. Oct 4, 2009 #17


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    What do they call it on those crime shows? Escalating?

    Your [strike]stalker[/strike] study-buddy is escalating his level of dependence on you.
  19. Oct 5, 2009 #18
    Well, it was an especially hard problem set, so no surprise there.
  20. Oct 5, 2009 #19
    I'll help you out my friend. Pretext there is a point where like everyone says you have to stand up for yourself, even if you don't like confrontation. That being said you don't have to be rude about it either, that's what I assume is the biggest problem no?

    Just present yourself in a friendly matter. Laugh about it, tell him you you don't mind helping him out but you aren't putting effort into something just so they can copy it. If he give you a hard time than you know he's just trying to manipulate you.

    If he really cares about passing he's not going to harass you too much, just be smart with it. Don't give him the upper hand and watch for traps. Don't get yourself upset. Pretend he's not really there, and that you are always on the defensive. Don't show interest either, he'll use that against you. People who don't want confrontation, and seek to end problem have to rely on brains first. You are essentially trying to keep a social barrier, you let in who you want in.

    Although hitting confrontation head-on is quickiest way, that's something you can figure out on your own once you establish comfort being in control of your surroundings regardless of the situation. You are sitting down having lunch, he comes up and you are reading, harasses you for something. Instead of jumping at his request, tell him, you got this amount of time off, and you want to read that book, you'll give it to him later. Get use to setting limits. The more he tries to pursue the more evidence you have to start justifying pointing out his behaviour.

    If he starts telling you do things you really don't want to do, then you have to let him have it. Most human beings understand decency and fairness, it's no lost to you if he gets upset. He should stop looking for short cuts.

    Don't be afraid of other people, they are not so different from you, they all have weaknesses. Know you don't have total control over other people either and that's ok. What comes from that? How can he accept control over you, and not get the same treatment back? Why does his need overcome yours?

    Think about it, be cool, and be smart.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  21. Oct 5, 2009 #20
    Thank you, I think the part about imagining he's not there could help me a lot, along with showing less interest thank usual. He is not a horrible person, at least I don't think so, just probably misguided into thinking that college is high-school all over again.
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