General Etiquette > general

How to dodge an invite? *update post #15

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One of my professors (a female) has extended an invitation to take me out to lunch to celebrate an academic award I received. The hitch? I can't stand this person! I would rather have a root canal than have lunch together. I've tried to evade the invite by saying I'm very busy, but she doesn't seem to want to take no for an answer. She keeps telling me I can pick the date/time, so realistically I can't be "busy" forever. How do I get out of this without saying "I don't want want to spend any time with you that I don't have to."

How much longer do you have till class ends with this professor?

If it's just a few more weeks, say that you are busy with studying but will get back to her at the of the school year.  That way it gives you breathing room.

Are there not rules in your school about acceptable fraternization between professors and students? Assuming a lunch between the two of you doesn't cross boundaries, I think you're stuck (also assuming this person is not abusive in any way). Will you still have dealings with this professor beyond this term? Will you need her for any references?

If not, then the PP's suggestion of being busy 'til the end of the term and then just disappearing seems to be your only hope.

If you find you can't get out of it, explain your favorite thing in the world is cappucino at Starbucks so at least it goes by quicker.

Sorry. Not much help. :(

I'm going to go the other way here and say that if possible you should grit your teeth and go.

When you are out in the working world you will have to deal with many people different than you, from the down right despicable to the crazy doofuses of the world.  A bit of acting will be beneficial to your future career.

You may find that this person is more tolerable on a one to one basis, or you may gain insight into her character, and why she is so annoying.

I would think of this as a business lunch, frankly, not a social thing. It's unlikely though not impossible the professor is asking you out to lunch to socialize - more likely is that it's common in your department's culture to take students who excel out as a little reward. After all, your success makes the department look good. If you're an undergrad, I would think of the following: Will this professor ever potentially be important to you for letters of recommendation or will she ever be on a board or committee deciding funding or scholarships? Have you received your grade in this class yet? Will you ever be taking a future class with or work with this professor later on? Does this professor know people that could potentially help you network or land a job?

If you're a graduate student, in my opinion, you should go regardless of the above. You never know when you may need a professor's help or expertise, and also how you treat this professor will certainly be public knowledge in the dept. If you go and are polite and professional, it will earn you points. It's all part of creating a professional academic persona and is kind of the price of doing business (so to speak).


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