October 9, 2017


Hey Brandon,
Math is my FAVORITE subject. But just because I was the ONLY one who got an A+ on a math test, everyone in my class now HATE MY GUTS! I wasn’t trying to make them jealous! The problem is that my friends aren’t in my math class and it STINKS. Once, my teacher put us in teams for a competition. I expected my classmates to be happy that I could help them out. But boy, was I wrong! 🙁 They all ignored me like I wasn’t on their team. They also kept whispering and rudely GLARING at me! Please help!!

Mad Math Skillz

Hey Mad Math Skillz,

I’m so sorry you’re struggling in math class. I mean, not struggling to keep up – it sounds like you really do have “mad math skills,” and that’s great! But, it also sounds like your classmates are really bringing you down, and that’s not so great.

It’s SUPER hard to be that one kid in class who got a good grade on something because you can’t change how other people feel about that. And you DEFINITELY shouldn’t do less than your best on a test, just to keep classmates from getting mad at you. Those classmates are acting super insecure and immature, and they’re taking it out on you when they should be complimenting those mad math skills of yours.

So, about your test results. Let’s face it—there will probably be more tests that you’ll ace while others struggle. One thing you could try is to be humble about your score. HOPEFULLY the teacher didn’t single you out in front of the class and tell everyone how great you did. If your teacher did do that, it would be totally legit to talk to the teacher after class and thank him or her for their encouragement, then request in the future that your score not be announced to the class, because it puts you in an awkward situation with your classmates.

So if the teacher keeps quiet and YOU keep quiet, the only way people should notice your score is if they ask you directly about it. And if they do…well, be honest. It would be really unfair for someone to go out of their way to ask you and then get all mad about it. If they do, that’s on them. You can’t control their reaction. And, as Nikki would say, they should “cry themselves a river, build a bridge, and GET OVER IT.”

While it’s great to be humble and all, I also think you shouldn’t have to hide your success. You should be proud of yourself! But since you’re especially worried about your classmates’ reactions in this class, keeping your scores to yourself is probably the best way to go. As soon as you see your friends, you can celebrate with them.

As for the whole team thing…I kind of wonder if you EXPECTING them to appreciate your help annoys your teammates even more. You know, since they already can’t take how good you are at math in the first place. But, I’m sure you don’t mean to annoy them. You love math, you want to win, and you want to help! But I think you need to approach that kind of situation not as “helping them out” but “working with your teammates.” Don’t assume you have all the answers. Give others a chance to contribute. In this case, I think it’s more important to be considerate of other people’s feelings than to make sure your team wins.

Hopefully, next semester you’ll have some friends in your math class. But until then, celebrate your awesomeness with those friends, keep your head up, and keep up the great work in math!

Readers, how do you handle it when you’re the best at something? Do people get mad at you for your success? Tell us in the comments.