DEAR HARRIETTE: At the last minute, I agreed to have an acquaintance help out on a project I was working on because it sounded like she might be able to bring in some much-needed funding. It turns out that her participation was shocking. She was loud and obnoxious the whole time. She did not bring in one dollar. She did turn me on to a couple of good resources for the project, but honestly, it wasn’t worth it.
I feel like her involvement sullied my brand. She and I have completely different personalities, and she is not professional in her behavior. How can I sever ties with her? She has been pressuring me to host another public project that she could partner on with me. After how poorly this recent fiasco ended, I don’t want to have any more to do with her. How do I walk away from her without suffering the negative consequences of her bad-mouthing me for doing so? -- Awkward, Atlanta
DEAR AWKWARD: Be careful. Think long and hard about a strategy to acknowledge this person’s efforts, even if they didn’t pan out. Thank her for her hard work. Let her know that you appreciate her interest in helping you with this project. Tell her that you will not be pursuing the other project that she recommended. Suggest that she look for another partner for future projects.