Auntie SparkNotes: My Best Friend Is A Cheater
My best friend since sixth grade is a cheater. I never pegged her to be one since she was really funny and nice (which has changed as well... but that's a different story). At first, she just asked if a test was hard or easy, which was fine. But recently she has been tricking me into giving her answers, pretending she has already taken a test and is just confirming answers. If I know she is trying to cheat I just say "I can't tell you" or "You'll figure out soon", but often she does it subtly and I don't realize until later. Not only does she cheat on tests and quizzes, she often steals our mutual friend's book during orchestra to copy annotations without her knowing, and ends up with a higher grade than the friend who actually does the work. I have also seen her blackmail other people with secrets or friendship if they don't help her out with something.
Although she has only recently started cheating from me, now that I think about it, she has been doing this since I have known her. On top of all of this, she always gets Top 5 Scholar at my school and subtly brags about her grades. Whenever a topic of a test comes up I try to avoid it, but as I am getting really frustrated with her antics I really don't know what to do. I am also rooming with her for an overnight two-week camp this summer. Please help?
Ah, yes. That awkward whoopsie moment when your lying, manipulative queen bee meanie of a friend finally starts doing the same things to you that she's always done to everyone else—and you suddenly realize the full extent of her lying, manipulative meanie queen bee-ness. It just makes you want to slap yourself, doesn't it?
And not that it helps you now, but just for the record, this is why it's always good to think twice about being besties with someone who does really gross things like cheating/bragging/blackmailing others to get what she wants, for the same reason you don't want to marry a guy who kicks stray cats and is mean to the waiter: even if you're lucky enough never to be on the receiving end of that nastiness, you still don't want to cozy up with someone who's capable of it, y'know?
But hey, since you're there—and since you've finally seen her cheating for the obnoxious nonsense it is—you're actually in a unique position that gives you a lot of power. As in, you can quit enabling her. When she boasts about her academic achievements, raise an eyebrow and say nothing. When she asks you for information, raise 'em both and say what you're thinking: "I'm not going to help you cheat, so stop asking." Let her know that you see what she's up to, and that you think it's completely messed up. (Also, for the love of everything, tell your mutual friend to start keeping her annotated books somewhere less-accessible.)
Not that this is going to make her stop cheating altogether; chances are, nothing will do that. But it'll certainly put a dent in her game to know that you're willing to call her out—and more importantly, you'll be able to see how you feel about the friendship when you go from being complicit in her shenanigans to refusing to condone them.
Changing the terms of your relationship so that you're doing the right thing, even when she isn't, might be the thing that allows you to continue being in the relationship (or at least, the thing that keeps you from taking our your resentments over the course of your two-week stint as roommates by leaving slugs in her bed.) And if she balks at your decision to stop being a silent witness to her cheaty blackmailing business? Then having had the courage to speak up means you'll know you have the courage to do other things, too... like distancing yourself, and finding better friends.
Do you have a cheaty nasty friend? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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