Maha Mondays

Maha Mondays: How Do I Tell Someone I Don’t Want to Work With Them?

Welcome to another edition of Maha Mondays! This week we’ve got a question concerning what to do when you can’t stand your group partner at school. We have all. been. there. Let’s see what Maha has to say! Also if you’ve got a question of your own (about school, relationships, family, personal problems – Maha has wise words for all) don’t forget to submit in the (completely anonymous!) comment box below!

group project

Dear Maha, 

I recently did a university project with a friend. It was hell not because of the project but because of her. She is a really nice woman but she is exhausting and very demanding. I have many other projects on the go but she expected immediate attention all of the time for our project without respecting my other projects. After we finished working together she asked me to partner with her again on a similar subject but I said no and pretended that it was because I didn’t have any more energy to do any more projects.
Another friend asked me to partner with her for the summer to work on a new project and it sounds UH-MAZING. I am really excited to start work on this but know that as soon as it begins my other first partner will find out and will be upset.
What do I do? How do I deal with this?  
Thank you.

Dearest Conflicted,

Thank you for your question.

You will have to be frank and by that, I mean telling her only a half of your truth. Because you can’t tell her the whole truth which is: “LOL, OMG. You are exhausting and demanding and you give me enough anxiety that I had to write to an advice columnist to get some direction. And did I mention? Hanging out with you is exactly how I imagine Hell feels like. HA HA! :) ”

There are no amount of emojis which you can place in this sort of conversation to make it acceptable or easier or better.

Which is why you leave out parts of your truth and only focus on the other parts of your truth – the offer and your intention to move forward on it. Leave out the stuff which serves no purpose in what you are trying to communicate since you’re not writing to tell her that you don’t want to work with her (which you already did), but rather that you have decided to take another project.

To do this in the cleanest and most succinct way possible, do it in an environment you can control. So, via email. Tell her that you you have received an offer you simply can not turn down and wanted her to know so that she didn’t hear it from someone else first. Keep it simple and direct and not open for discussion. You are not asking for permission; rather you are stating facts that are relevant to today.

Should she come back and ask “how come”, again just focus on the facts – “how come” because you didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. It’s just that good.

But was her project not as good? Without saying it wasn’t, focus instead on that it is different and you won’t pass this one up.

Basically, skate around and always focus instead on your truth that is all about your attraction to this new project.

It’ll be a lot easier than you think. Promise.

In your corner,


**Editor’s note:




One thought on “Maha Mondays: How Do I Tell Someone I Don’t Want to Work With Them?

  1. Pingback: Maha Mondays: Distressing work colleagues & financial concerns | Prolific Immigrant

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