I'm in a situation I don't really know how to handle.

I'm a student at university and one of my class mates decided to study way too many things at the same time so she doesn't show up to many of the lectures.

Since I'm always going and taking meticulous notes, she expects me to give her my notes.

In general, I don't have a problem with this but she doesn't take studying seriously at all and often just doesn't come to lectures because she's not feeling like it, would rather sleep or play video games, which she tells me very openly.

My notes take me a lot of time and work and I don't see why I should give her that just because she's not taking this seriously.

She also asked me several times if we want to study together which wouldn't do anything for me since I'd just have to explain everything she missed to her.

My problem is that I don't really know how to politely tell her I won't do the work for her she's too lazy to do. She's usually a nice person and I don't want to offend her. I already tried giving her clues like obviously hesitating when she asks for stuff and things like that but I don't really know how to be more direct without hurting her feelings.

  • Unfortunately this question seems to be a phrasing request which is off-topic for this site. You can make this question on-topic by providing a clear interpersonal goal (i.e. "how can I make clear to her that I do not want to help her, without straining our friendship" this is ofc only an example). Please make sure to also explain why you think the approach that you would take is not good enough. See How do I write a good question for more information. Thanks
    – kscherrer
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 9:51
  • 1
    You seem to be making some pretty sweeping and condemning statements/assumptions. Is there some back story here? How do you know why she's struggling to keep up or show up?
    – apaul
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 10:00
  • @apaul there is. She's often making clear that she'd rather go home and sleep or play video games than go or that she thinks the topic we study is easy enough that she doesn't need to go the lectures.
    – user4308
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 10:51
  • @Cashbee I'll rewrite the question, thank you.
    – user4308
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 10:52

4 Answers 4


You've said she's studying too much at once (presumably she's taken on extra classes?) but then you also say that she's openly admitting to not coming to lectures because she's not feeling like it, would rather sleep or play video games.

From experience myself as a degree student with a girl who used my notes and my time rather than paying attention / turning up to lectures my suggestion would be to tell her that while you want to be helpful, you are putting a lot of effort into your lectures / notes / studies and that you would find it easier helping her if you knew she was taking it as seriously as you are. Instead of giving her notes from now on; invite her to come to the lectures with you - perhaps to become a study partner or something - and then if she continues to rely too much on your kindness you can tell her your priority has to be your studies and that helping her all the time is a distraction. I wish I had done the same but ended up wasting a lot of time on someone who then up and quit uni altogether.

Sounds to me you like her and care about her success so I hope she appreciates that; though sounds like she's using you. Unless this is her way of getting your attention if she likes you. Never know.

  • Your suggestion comes 'from experience', would you mind sharing how this experience came to be? Are/were you a student? Did you have a similar experience? If so, how did it turn out?
    – kscherrer
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 16:53
  • @Cashbee I’ve updated my answer Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 17:18

You'll have to just tell her. You don't need to mention any judgments of her character, though.

It really seems like you want to tell her that you think she's lazy, and that for that reason alone you will be withholding your help. I doubt you will be able to level that accusation against her without hurting her feelings. Fortunately, that's a totally unnecessary thing to include when speaking to her. You can focus on her behaviors rather than her character. Contrast

I don't want to keep tutoring you and giving you my notes when you could easily get the information yourself by attending the lectures. The reasons you've given for skipping those don't seem very solid to me.


I don't want to keep tutoring you and giving you my notes because you're such a lazy person. You're too lazy to do any of the work yourself.

One is an explanation, the other is a judgment of her as a person.

This is a situation in which hinting (and other indirect forms of communication) is unlikely to work. She could legitimately miss your signals, and have no idea how upset you've become about the situation. She could also understand what you want to express, but pretend not to in order to keep imposing on you. No amount or type of hinting will solve this, since that sort of indirect communication inherently does not make your position explicitly clear.

However, in being direct with her there are a few things that are worth keeping in mind:

  1. If she's satisfied with her grades, then she's not wrong to say that she doesn't need to attend the lectures. This may be entirely dependent on your assistance, but is still true. Her approach to the situation has been effective. That's not necessarily lazy (though it certainly could be). This situation could well be the maximally efficient use of her own time, even if it is less efficient with your time.
  2. This approach she has chosen might legitimately be ideal for her. Not everyone gets the same amount of value out of lectures, and if they are especially inefficient for her it might be a better use of her time to refer to notes from someone that did attend. That doesn't mean that you have to participate, but that situation is perfectly consistent with what she's told you about why she skips lectures.
  3. Making your notes available to her costs you very little. If you just made photocopies for her each week, that would take a negligible amount of time. Again, there is no reason that you must participate in this, but it's a poor argument to use her (asserted) laziness as a reason to decline helping her, when that saves you a trivial amount of time and effort.
  4. Not everyone is equally good at taking notes, and even for a single person that can vary from class to class. It's possible that for these particular subjects your notes would always be superior to hers, whether she attended lectures or not, and so they might remain desirable no matter what.
  5. Teaching things to someone can be an excellent study method. As long as it's still material necessary for the test, I personally would consider going over things with someone less capable in the subject to be a solid study method. That may or may not apply to you here, but she could easily be mis-valuing this use of your time.


You can easily tell her that you don't want to continue giving her your notes and tutoring her, neither of which should hurt her feelings. You can tell her why you don't want to continue doing those things without hurting her feelings. You cannot make a sweeping, negative judgment about her to her face without risking hurting her feelings. You do not need to make that sweeping, negative judgment to her face.


If you truly want to help her, the polite way to tell her is to explain to her how her current course of action is ultimately not going to work. You can say something like:

Hey Jane, I noticed that you have been missing many lectures. As meticulous as my notes may be, they are not a substitute for attending and paying attention at the lectures. While you may get some benefit from the notes, some of it may not make much sense if you have missed the lectures and there may be some details missing from the notes as well.

I was like you in school and attempted to take as many notes as possible, but the bottom line is that you will not be able to write down every spoken word as well as every word, diagram,...etc that is written/displayed on the board. Notes are not meant to be your primary study source, they are a piece along with the lecture and course book which in combination will allow you to understand the material. Depending on the professor, those notes may not be enough to pass the course.


She won't pass this class with or without your notes, I can assure you. You must turn up to lectures and classes to pass. Notes are not going to cut it!

With that in mind, it's a moot point whether you give her copies of the notes or not. I agree though that you should not study with her. I would simply lie and say I'm studying with somebody else or the time doesn't work.

  • Lies will usually be found out, and then you are worse off than before, it damages your reputation, and worst of all, it damages yourself. You should only lie - if that is what you want to do - if it is so blatant that nobody believes it and it is clear to everyone that you just lied to get rid of the person.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 8:54

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