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April 24, 2021

SHOULD I TAKE THE BLAME FOR MY FRIEND?

Hi Brandon,

My friend and I are working on a long-term project for school, and we’ve been doing all the after schoolwork at his house. His mom is usually super nice (putting out snacks and stuff), but a few days ago, my friend accidentally broke her favorite (and expensive) vase while he was goofing around. We tried gluing it back together but that didn’t work. Then my friend begged me to take the blame because he said his mom would take his cell phone away for a week if he was messing around when he was supposed to be studying. So, I took the blame. His mom was SO mad, and now every time I go over there, she looks at me like I’m a major troublemaker! I really want my friend to tell her the truth, but I don’t want him to get punished (both for breaking the vase and for lying). What should I do?

From,
Not-So-Guilty Girl

Hi Not-So-Guilty-Girl,

Wow, that’s a tough situation. I know you’ve got loyalty to your friend, but that’s not cool at all that you took the blame for the broken vase.

So, about his mom’s potential punishment for him…

If you communicate with your friend by phone a whole bunch, that’s a big loss for both you and him (although, I bet if an emergency happened, anybody could contact him through his mom).

But on the other hand, while losing your cell phone for a week might seem like a huge deal (believe me, it DOES), I think that it’s not the worst punishment in the world. I mean, you could ask him this question. . .

“Is it worse if your mom treats me differently FOREVER just because you lied about breaking the vase?”

Here’s what I think: your friend knows that he should have confessed. I think he knows that the moment has kind of passed, so if he tells his mom the truth much later, she’ll be even more mad.

Here’s another thing I think: moms (or grandmas in my case, since I live with my grandparents) are generally pretty understanding about mistakes, especially if you come clean. And they generally love you a lot. And they’ll forgive you for a lot, even if they seem angry at first.

Here’s what I also think: it’s not cool to let your friends take the blame for something, particularly if THEY end up getting punished instead of you. But if it’s a friend who you like a whole bunch, it’s probably really hard to ask them to take the blame.

Bottom line: if your friend is a good friend, he’ll be feeling really guilty about how he treated you…so maybe you can talk to him about some options that might make you both feel better. Here are three options to consider:

  1. Keep taking the blame. Don’t worry about how his mom feels about you—just be proud that you got your friend’s back! Um…yeah…but that whole situation is just going to keep coming up, especially if you spend time at your friend’s house. I feel like it’s not fair for you to seem like a “troublemaker” when you were only being a study buddy.
  2. Tell your friend’s mom who broke the vase. If you don’t talk about it to your friend ahead of time, this option might make your friend a little mad…but really, you have the right to be a bit upset at your friend too!
  3. Ask your friend to confess to your mom. I think that this option is the best for allowing you to keep hanging out with your friend. It might be painful for him to lose his phone for a week, but in the end, I feel like his mom will feel good about him coming clean (and she might end up putting out snacks for you again!).

Okay, readers, your turn—has a friend ever asked you to take the blame for something you didn’t do? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments!