Auntie SparkNotes: I Hate This Girl In My Choir
I am involved in every single choir group my school has to offer. I work hard to do what I do, and I practice day and night. I see my choir director more than my mother, for goodness's sake!
There's one particular choral group that consists of only six people. I got in, and I am thrilled! But, unfortunately, so did an incredibly irritating girl (I'll call her Sophie). This group requires us to learn all of our music by ourselves and depend upon each other for guidance. All Sophie does is complain that she doesn't get it. She'll frequently stop us right in the middle of a song. Whenever she does this, I think of all the other people who wanted her position, and who wouldn't be complaining. Not only does she not practice at home, but she texts in the middle of rehearsal and does not know what a metaphor is! To add insult to injury, my crush likes her. I want to ask our choir director why she let Sophie in when there were so many other candidates with fantastic attitudes, but I don't feel like it would be my place. However, she drags us down, and I don't just want to sit here and do nothing. It's an insult to the rest of us! We've worked hard to get in this group, and we would be so much farther along in our music if we didn't constantly have to stop and help Sophie. Is there any way to fix this?
Well, this is disappointing: despite my first instinct—namely, to put on a black bustier and some lavender body paint, march into your choir practice, and snatch the voice of your nemesis right from her throat whilst singing a big, bawdy rendition of "Poor Unfortunate Souls"—it turns out that I am not, in fact, Ursula the Sea Witch. UGH. BOO. Which is not to say that your problem is unsolvable, Sparkler—it can totally be handled! — but in the absence of an internet agony aunt with magical octopus-person capabilities, you're gonna have to handle this one on your own.
HOWEVER! Before we go any further, it's important that you take one last look at your acknowledged biases, and make sure they aren't getting the better of you. So, tell me: would you by any chance give a pass to this behavior (texting during rehearsal, failing to learn the music) if someone else were doing it? Is your bad opinion of Sophie overall making you negative where you'd otherwise be neutral?
In other words, how much of your antipathy towards this girl constitutes a legitimate beef with her musical shortcomings… and how much is sour grapes of the "she stole my crush" variety?
Here's why I ask: because if everything "wrong" with Sophie stems mostly from your own, predetermined belief that she can do no right, you're going to feel very, very dumb when you tactfully bring this up to your group and they're all like, "We have no idea what you're talking about."
But if you've given yourself a once-over and you're sure this is more than a question of confirmation bias, then it's time to talk about this with one or two trusted members of your group. Because that's the part of your problem that crosses the line from "unfortunate but inevitable" to "worthy of action": not "Sophie's a dumbass" or "Sophie's a crush-stealer" or "Sophie's a whiny nasty douche whistle," but "Sophie isn't fulfilling her duties as a member of this choir." If she's as bad as you say, then you're probably not the only one who thinks she's bringing down the quality of your music—and if you reach a consensus on this, then it would only be right, as a group, to either a) approach her directly and explain, kindly but firmly, that she needs to start pulling her weight, or b) approach your choir director and ask for guidance in fixing the problem. Just remember: this is about the music, the group dynamic, and every member's commitment thereto. It's not about you, or your personal dislike, or seeing Sophie humiliated in front of everyone for being such a lazy jerk.
That last part is just a nice bonus.
Are you an elite musician with an axe to grind? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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