I do not want my professor to know that I wrote this question, since that would just escalate the situation further, so I will not be very specific about certain details.

I am in a research course that has weekly meetings. There is a software that the research group that I am in uses, and that is where the argument was had. Some further background is that my professor, and some other guy (call my professor B and the other guy T) said that we should all have a meeting to discuss something. As a result, I went on to the software to list all of time intervals for which I am available to have a meeting. A couple of days later, I get a message from B that I didn't show up for the meeting that I set up (it turns out that both B and T attended the meeting that I allegedly set up). But that's false, all I did was list my available times. So I responded with first saying that I didn't set up that meeting, and that I didn't even get a chance to see their responses until now (after I had posted my available times, both T and B agreed to have a meeting at a specific time, and B asked me if that time would work, but of course I didn't see that until after the meeting they had).

After I posted my reply, I expected B to, in some sort of way, to politely acknowledge that there was a miscommunication between me and him. But instead he replied with (paraphrasing him), "Look at the messages, you gave us your availability, we responded. It is not our fault that you didn't look at the software again."

I felt disrespected after reading that message. Because I did not want to escalate the situation further, I just apologized for not looking at the software sooner. I felt like I was disrespected mainly because it seems my own consent was disregarded, while theirs was valued over mine.

Was I in the wrong? Was my professor in the wrong?

  • 7
    Is T a fellow student or a TA or....? Also, do I understand correctly that you said (in your list) that a particular time would work for you, then didn't check your messages until after that time had passed?
    – cag51
    Apr 15 '20 at 4:54
  • 6
    Hmmm usually if you send list of available time, it means that you are truly available in that time. I'm sorry I think this is your fault
    – SSimon
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:09
  • 34
    This basically boils down to "how frequently should I be checking my messages". If you use a piece of software to list your availability, it is reasonable for them to respond using the same software. It's up to you to make sure you monitor it for their response.
    – avid
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:14
  • 22
    A short answer, you are in the wrong because you are supposed to check the reply before your first available time. Obviously, you did not.
    – Nobody
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:48
  • 19
    You should have checked to make sure you met the times you provided - you are at fault here.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:54

Was I in the wrong? Was my professor in the wrong?

We are steering deep into the realm of Interpersonal.SE, but this is absolutely the wrong question to ask. There was clearly a misunderstanding. It happens. It does not matter whose "fault" it was (if anybody's, really - in most misunderstandings nobody is doing anything terribly unreasonable). They were displeased that their time was wasted, you apologized. Case closed, moving on. As you say yourself, there is no reason to escalate a tiny hiccup into an actual conflict.

One thing I suggest is to use this as a learning opportunity to improve your processes for future meetings. In your case, I strongly suggest that going forward you send a meeting invite to all participants after a date has been agreed upon (and also to check your scheduling software after sending out a scheduling link - at the very least a reasonable amount of time before the first slot you suggested).


What sense is there in listing a time as "available" when you will not be able to attend at that time because of not having an opportunity of checking the scheduling software timely?

How do you suggest that people could have availed themselves of your "available" time?

While it is considerably pointless in trying to search for someone to blame, your feeling of being disrespected because people assumed that your availability was not conditioned on them hunting for you and contacting you via different channels seems quite out of place.

  • 1
    I feel your first sentence is very impotant here. Apr 15 '20 at 20:29
  • 2
    It sounds more like OP marked 5 times as available in the calendar. The other party selected one of those and sent an invite which OP didn't manage to read in time, while the other party decided it's all set.
    – Džuris
    Apr 16 '20 at 1:49

Was I in the wrong? Was my professor in the wrong?

It doesn't matter who's right and wrong. It matters that you both make amends and move on.


The situation is complex enough to apply a general rule:

  • assume the other side knows something that you do not know
  • that could even be a wrong assumption

It is complex in terms of who knows what during which time spans, having which expectations and expectations about the others expectations.

You can simply assume confusion instead of malice, and forget the situation as probably irrelevant.

There are other generic approaches to it: professionalism

See it as a work situation. You want to be productive in what you do. You cooperate with others, but that is not a relation on a personal level, it is on a professional level.

Let us assume somebody has even directly insulted you.

That feels bad, and needs some time.

The professional approach is: Ask yourself what you need to do to be productive. Ideally, you just ignore the situation and continue to be productive.

The idea is: The other person did something wrong, unrelated to you as a person.

The effect was that it caused a loss in productivity for you (The time and energy for handling it), and there is no reason to waste additional resources on it.

The same idea, described differently:

Imagine you stack stones with another worker. He drops a stone on your foot.
You do not know whether it was accidental or negligent or even malicious.

Now, somebody caused very real harm. But what should you do to get the work done? Just continue working. Somebody else did something wrong, unrelated to your person. Even it it was intentional, it may be because he was angry about something.

Again, the same idea, described differently:

Shit happens.

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