The 6 Types of Group Mates You Meet in College and How to Deal with Them

Article by Julia Antique

It’s that time of the school year again. Depending on where you study, it may be the bitter end of the term or the fresh start of the semester. But one thing’s for sure: You’re glad you won’t have to deal with your previous group mates anymore.

Think back on all those nights of hard work that almost brought you to tears. Remember your many “seen-zoned” messages in your Facebook group chat? And let’s not forget the many group mates that have left us hanging by going AWOL on the presentation day itself.

But it’s not all bad. Although your chances of finding good group mates are slim, some of the people you’re grouped with may actually turn out to be brilliant people with friendship potential outside the classroom. You just have to know how to work with each other.

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The 6 Types of Group Mates You Meet in College and How to Deal with Them

6. The “LEADER”

They are the face of your group. Regardless if they actually live up to the title or slack off. Their name is always the first one to be written in papers and they have the “tedious” task of submitting your work to the prof on behalf of the group. Being known as the “LEADER” may give them a reputation of being “responsible” or make them invincible because everyone knows you always write a leader’s name on everything.

But be wary because slackers may use this title as a disguise. They know that this will be their one-way ticket to a free ride. You can spot a “LEADER” by watching out for group mates who are all talk while doing the bare minimum (aka tagagawa ng Gslides/Gdocs).



How to deal with this type: Hold them accountable for their claims to do certain tasks by keeping up to date with them on their assigned work. Ask them about it in group chats so that you’ll have a witness on their statements. If all else fails, have an open discussion with your group about it and talk to your “LEADER”. If most of your group mates don’t have confidence in them, then have a re-election and pick someone more capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a leader or ask your professor to change the group’s assigned roles.

5. The Real Leader

Unlike the former, Real Leader types actually do their work early or on time and tend to be control freaks. They’re perfectionists by heart and aren’t open to other people’s ideas. God forbid if you go against their ideas because it’s usually their way or the highway.

But on the bright side, your group finally has a clear direction and you know you will get work done. Good luck on having no chill with The Real Leader as they will “make career” any requirement (even if it’s a minor subject) like it’s your only major that term. These types aren’t understanding and expect full compliance. They will not hesitate to leave out your name on the paper if you fail to do so.

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How to deal with this type: Befriend them. No seriously, just like a bird likes its feathers being ruffled, The Real Leader is no different. Kiss up to them by asking their opinion on your work. They live off feeling important and have a big ego, so don’t be afraid to make low-key “sip-sip” now and then. This will come in handy when you’re asking them to extend the submission of your part cause you haven’t done it yet cause they want to submit the output 3 days early.

4. The Airhead

The Airhead isn’t necessarily dumb; it’s just that their ideas are. The Airhead means well and genuinely wants to help, but they usually end up doing more harm than good. They’re the ones in the group who suggest impossible, off-topic, or even downright offensive ideas. They don’t mean to be this way, but common sense is not The Airhead’s forte and they’re more of doers than thinkers.

Their strength is that they always ask questions so that misunderstandings rarely occur. They also have an innocent charm that they can unleash when presenting your work. However, they’re the last person you want defending your topic against a panel. If this happens, bring coal and prepared to be grilled.

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How to deal with this type: Literally go up to them and tell them what to do. Don’t beat around the bush or ask for their opinions. Just straight up delegate the task to them. They work best when things are crystal clear and are happy to follow orders without questions. This type doesn’t read between the lines so if left without being assigned a job, they will probably do nothing.

3. The Visionary

The complete opposite of The Airhead, The Visionary has a lot of great ideas. They’re usually the go-to idea person in the group. But that’s the thing: that’s their only contribution. Unlike the Airhead, The Visionary is more of a thinker and less of a doer. The Visionary doesn’t offer concrete steps on how to get something done. They think about the “big picture” but fail to plan out the small details that it’s made up of.

Aside from that, The Visionary can become pretty annoying. While they rant to you about how dumb the Airhead’s ideas are, they also tend to complain a lot about certain parts of the work that isn’t aligned with their vision. And if the chosen topic of the group isn’t The Visionary’s own idea, prepare to hear a lot of petty comments and complaints regarding the “infeasibility ” of said topic. And if they disagree about the chosen topic, prepare to see The Visionary go AWOL.

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How to deal with this type: Visionaries like to keep it low-key but are not afraid to voice out their opinions and criticisms even if they really didn’t contribute much aside from giving out ideas. Be low-key as well by befriending them first and then being really honest with them. Because you built rapport with them, they won’t feel insulted by your comments and will appreciate your opinions instead. The Visionary is actually very open to criticisms regarding their ideas, but it has to be from someone they respect. Get them to do work by convincing them that they need to do a certain task because “no one else can do it better” than them.

2. The Holy Ghost

In high school, you had a group mate that was always absent. In college, you have The Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is basically the older, more updated version of that person. This member is usually MIA and you probably don’t even know their real name nor do you recall meeting them. What you know is that they’re still in your group despite all of this.

But what intrigues you the most is that this person still manages to do work for the group and can defend your topic effortlessly even though they don’t attend class. You and your other group mates always wonder how The Holy Ghost isn’t FDA’d (Failure Due to Absences) yet and if you’ll ever see them again.

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How to deal with this type: Although you can’t force someone to go to class and be present during group works (you’re not their parent), you can at least give them a heads up on important dates that your group will be needing The Holy Ghost’s presence. The key with this type is telling them directly what to do. And although they will often seen-zone you, don’t take it personally and trust that they will do work since that’s the only basis they have for their grades.

1. The Hopeless Case

You’ve tried your hardest to motivate this one, but all your efforts have been to no avail. You’ve delegated, asked nicely and even straight out begged them to do work but still, they refuse and end up doing nothing. You hate to be the person who calls them out on their crap but sometimes you just have to put your foot down by kicking them out of the group.

The Hopeless Case may take the form of a close friend or even a past group mate and are usually added in the group because of your “close” bond. But having a pre-existing relationship just makes it harder to drop them as a group mate and you’ll probably end up taking this free-loader along for the ride because of this.

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How to deal with this type: Avoid being in this situation by picking group mates wisely from the start. If it’s already too late, try having an intervention for them with your group mates. Knowing that they are burdening multiple people will hopefully guilt trip them into working. If that doesn’t work, give them an ultimatum. If all else fails, kick them out. Make sure that you separate your friendship and work relationship beforehand so that your personal relationship with them doesn’t suffer. Hopeless Cases are bad group mates but it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people.

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Have you had any experiences with these types of group mates? Tell us how you dealt with them in the comments section below!