Asking for a friend: Help! My annoying classmate copies everything I do – now, she’s even taken my place in a school club

  • We can’t control what others do or how situations turn out, but we can control our own reactions and work on being flexible
  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers, and our team of clinical psychologists give advice and resources you can turn to
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We feel you! Copy cats are so annoying

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us.

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Dear Friend
I have a classmate who often copies me whenever I join a competition or group, and I find her really annoying. Recently, she found out that I was going to join the Science Society, so she joined it too! I really do not understand why she did this. She has been in the English Society for three years and has never taken part in the Science Society, which I have been in for four years. This year, she made it into the society, but I lost my place. What she did is really unbearable and annoying. What should I do?
Something the Copy Cat Dragged In

We’ve got some tips on what to do in this situation

Dear Something the Copy Cat Dragged In
When a person you dislike has taken something you were excited about, it can feel so frustrating. But while we can’t control others’ actions, we can manage our own reactions.

It is difficult to lose your place in the Science Society after being a member for years. But just because this person got in and you didn’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should blame them. Thinking that way won’t do much good for you in the long run.

Things often don’t go the way we want, but we need to make do. For instance, you can prepare all you want and still not get into your dream university. Flexibility is key for these moments – it enables you to make the most of an unexpected outcome.

I love the sport I play, but my friend is way better than I am

While it might be painful to focus on what you should have done to get into the Science Society, it might be more practical to think of the options you have before you. Whether it’s joining the English Society or picking up a new hobby or volunteer position, try to keep an open mind, and set your eyes on a new goal.

Even if you’re not part of the Science Society this year, maintain the connections you’ve built, and find new ways to keep up with the subject.

Not everyone we encounter will become a friend, but we still should treat them with respect. Although your classmate frustrates you, it doesn’t seem like she intended to hurt you, so it isn’t fair to be angry with her.

Help! I feel left out in my school club

When someone makes you feel this awful, it helps to focus on things that bring positive feelings. Spend time with friends, and keep your eyes on your goals – regardless of this person, what do you want to accomplish?

If you do feel like this classmate is purposefully trying to hurt you, it might be worth talking to another classmate to figure out what might be happening. If it becomes clear that this person is trying to cause you physical or emotional harm, then you might need to talk to a teacher or another adult about how to approach the situation.

Check out more tips from the Department of Health’s Student Health Service:

Hope this helps, Friend of a Friend

This question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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