In a classroom or in a relationship, accusing someone of cheating is a serious accusation that could mar a reputation and destroy a bond between people. It's an allegation that speaks badly of a person's character and ethics. If someone accuses you of cheating, it's crucial that you respond in a strategic manner no matter what you've done. The more efficiently you respond, the faster you can clear your name or put the matter behind you.
Ask the accuser calmly why he thinks you have been cheating. Some accusers might have evidence or facts that they have assembled. Address this evidence calmly without strong emotion. For example, if a teacher thinks your homework looks similar to a classmates' homework, give her an explanation for why that might have happened. If a spouse has a chart of all the nights you've come home late from work, address his concerns.
Speak honestly and address the accuser's anxieties. For a spouse you could say, "I know I've been swamped at work and this had led you to believe the worst, but you have to trust that what I'm saying is true." For a teacher, you could say, "I know these two homework assignments look similar, but, in this case, it is simply a coincidence." If you are guilty, now is the time to come clean. Trying to prolong any deception is just going make the situation worse for everyone involved.
Show any evidence that you have in your defense. For example, in a relationship, you might have emails sent while working late at the office or projects completed. For an academic situation, show your teacher your notes or rough draft of the work you did. If you are in a school setting, ask to call a parent to vouch for you.
Mention your good track record, if you have one. For example, if you've been a model spouse or student, use that solid history as a reason for the accuser to believe you. Tell the accuser that he can trust you now because in the past you've been trustworthy.
Ask the accuser if there is anything else on her mind and address any underlying issues. Sometimes cheating isn't always the issue at hand, rather, the accuser is upset about something else related to you. Ask the accuser if there is something else on her mind. For example, with a spouse, she might be bothered by what she feels is a steady lack of attention from you. On the other hand, a teacher might not like your conduct and attitude. This dissatisfaction could manifest itself as a cheating accusation.
Items you will need
- Lifescript: 10 Tips For Confronting A Cheater
- "Guiding students from cheating and plagiarism to honesty and integrity;" Ann Lathrop, Kathleen Foss; 2005
- Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images