I've seen questions like this on the Stackexchange before, though I'm not sure which section (ie. superuser or stackoverflow). Anyways here goes.

I'm a sophomore CS major at a University. I'm taking an Advanced Data Structures course. On the first day I met a classmate and we agreed to work together on labs for the course. Three weeks later this spring we got our first assignment: Huffman coding. The professor said this lab won't be easy.

On the Tuesday it was assigned most if not all of the class was coordinating groups to work on the assignment. It came up that my partner (lets call him John) had lab at a different time than I, but another person (call him Frank) we were coordinating with could meet up at ten am some time that week. John has a friend in the class, and I'll name him Paul.

We managed to get in to group text messaging. By wednesday the others had decided to meet for lab at ten am, and I had sent a text message saying that I would show up at eleven.

When I did, there was nobody there. I texted them and they replied with a short message "We left".

I was very angry about this because I had missed my own lab time (8 am) for this, hadn't gotten to meet with them, and I was falling behind on the assignment.

I kept that to myself. I thought they were being genuine, but why they couldn't have stayed longer in a very difficult lab assignment eluded me.

Come saturday I was beginning to get quite agitated with the fact that they had met with each other to get help, and nobody had even talked to me.

At some point on January 30th I received a text message with this: "From: Anonymous. Message could not be received" I replied to the group after quickly researching the cause of that message, asking them to send it again because I didn't get it. No reply. Later I asked if anyone wanted to meet up on Sunday. Frank said he got off work in the afternoon.

And on Sunday, January 31st I asked if anyone wanted to meet up. Frank said he had a change of plans and couldn't make it. I proceeded to work on my stuff, and when I checked my messages I got something like this:

"I'm willing to collaborate with you and I don't think you're a bad guy, but I don't think we are a compatible group members. I told you I was busy because I had to attend my teammates funeral and I also have my best friend in town for the weekend because of it, and you've been hounding me (sic) about this. I really don't appreciate it. We are more than happy to collaborate with you but us three are officially going to be a group"

For the record, I never received word that John's teammate had passed. Not once. I got a message which was completely unreadable, but I hadn't heard a single thing about this from John.

What can I do about this? Some people I've talked to have commented that they are trying to lay the blame on me. What should I do? I am seriously upset about this.

  • A downvote with no specified reason? Come on. – MegaWitt Feb 2 '16 at 6:36
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    I did not downvote. But, let me ask this: the others had decided to meet for lab at ten am, and I had sent a text message saying that I would show up at eleven Did they agree you meet at 11 instead of 10? Or you assumed they agreed? – scaaahu Feb 2 '16 at 6:46
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    It seems to me that you're telling a vignette with a partially academic setting rather than a question about academia. In fact, what is your question other than "What should I do?" (By the way, are you really using the words "disingenuous", "sabotage" and "manipulation" to describe someone who didn't make time to work with you on a homework assignment because he was attending a funeral?!? Wow. It sounds like you've had an unpleasant weekend: please accept my condolences.) – Pete L. Clark Feb 2 '16 at 7:16
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    From the description it seems that you complain about them being unreliable, but the story starts out with you coming at 11 to a meeting which was agreed to be at 10. Even if they agreed alone on that, you cannot instruct other people what to do. Being organised in groups can be a pain, and for some people working alone is better. But if you already operate in groups, tolerance is very important. Not everything is the other people's fault. Be strict to yourself, and cut others slack, and you will be a welcome group member. And put the threshold high to accuse others of sabotage (a funeral!). – Captain Emacs Feb 2 '16 at 8:44
  • @PeterL.Clark why do people skip over the important parts? I mean, didn't you read those last four lines? Did you read the part of the text which said "I told you I was busy because...". The point is I was never told about any of that, which made me feel like a douchebag because I hadn't taken in to account something I didn't know?? It only came out in the last few messages before the one in question that John was busy. I understand that it was a personal matter, but to be honest unless I'm given the full details I don't know what to think. Maybe I should have thought differently, well – MegaWitt Feb 3 '16 at 5:51

In my opinion, this site is generally not a good fit if what you're looking for are people who will scrutinize your situation in great detail and offer detailed analysis regarding who said what to whom, when, and how exactly you should respond. Although your story is interesting, my immediate reaction is: too many details, who has time for this? That's probably the reason for the downvotes.

With that said, I can offer some high-level advice:

  1. This is life. Sometimes people don't like you and don't want to be your friends/teammates/whatever. It is their right, and part of being a grown-up is learning to accept it when that happens and moving on.

  2. It's not necessarily your fault. Other people also have issues, insecurities, are immature, fickle, unreliable, etc. Maybe you did something to tick them off, maybe not; who can tell? Don't beat yourself up too much over it. If you can't figure out what you did wrong, quite possibly the reason is that you didn't do anything wrong. And especially if a friend of your teammates died, I would cut them a good deal of slack and try to be as understanding as possible of their distress at what must be a difficult time, and put aside my own anger and hurt feelings for the time being.

  3. If you want to try to salvage the relationship, talk to your teammates, but do it face to face, not over text or email. Too many things get lost in translation over text, which often leads to severe misunderstanding. This happens a lot on the internet, but also between acquaintances.

That's all I can think of for now. Good luck.

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