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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Suspicious Student

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Usually suspicious students complain about something other than their psychological difficulties. They are tense, cautious, mistrustful and have few friends. These students tend to interpret a minor oversight as a significant personal rejection and often overreact to insignificant occurrences. They see themselves as the focal point of others. Behavior and everything that happens may seem to be interpreted in a suspicious light. Usually they are over-concerned with fairness and being treated equally. They project blame onto others and will express anger in indirect ways.  Many times, they will feel worthless and inadequate.

Helpful Responses

  • It is important to send clear, consistent messages regarding what you are willing to do and what you expect.
  • Express "reserved compassion," mindful that a suspicious student may have trouble with closeness and warmth.

Responses to Avoid

  • Being overly warm or nurturing or assuring the person that you are his/her friend.
  • Trying to flatter the student or being cute or humorous to try to relieve your own anxiety (This will probably distance the student from you.)