How many friends do you have?
When I say friends, I don’t mean FB buddies or Twitter followers, but real friends. People you could a would call, if you were down to your last dime and needed a pint of milk, or received some really bad news and needed a strong shoulder to cry on ?
Personally, I have a ton of acquaintances. My other half likes to say, that we could rock up to Alaska and I would be sure to know at least 3 Eskimo’s. I seriously doubt it, but I get his point.
You see although I make connections easily, and will talk to anyone, I’m very selective about who I bring into my inner circle.
That’s why when my best friend and I dissolved our relationship after over 16 years in each other’s lives. I was totally devastated.
So what happened
I entrusted my best friend with my one prized possession – my home, whilst I went to fulfil my dream of travelling for a year. Never for a second did I think a thing would go wrong with my right hand girl in charge. But go wrong, it did.
I won’t go into the details as they would only bore you, but needless to say, whilst several thousand pounds down ( there goes my flashpacking), I was back on a beach in Bali, next to my partner ( who I’d left out there) within 12 days. This was my dream, and I wasn’t about to let it die quite so easily.
Still sun kissed and several pounds lighter from the stress, I was also heart broken.
When I’d challenged my bf of 16 years and the mother of my beautiful god children, on her failure to handle my business and hers; as we’d agreed. She told me “she didn’t want to be held responsible, and as far she could see, we had nothing else to say to one another”
Well she only had to tell me once.
That day I made the painful decision, that regardless of any rethinks or comebacks, our friendship was definitely over.
So to wrap this sob story up; in the space of two weeks, I’d lost my bf, my god children, very nearly lost my home and had depleted a large chunk of my travel savings. As I said, I was ….
I searched for reasons to make her right and me wrong (which is unlike me), and came up blank. It finally dawned on me that I was best friendless. So I drowned my sorrows in expensive Indonesian beer, transient acquaintances, sunshine and kept my English stiff upper lip, in the knowledge that this was her shit, and not mine.
So how did I recover?
Well it was hard.
Despite the urge to lambast her to anyone who would listen. I refrained, internalised the process and decided to alchemise the experience into a lesson in loss, and boy oh boy did I feel lost.
Best friends anchor us, they cheers us on from the side lines and call us on our ‘stuff’. They listen to our problems without judgement, they know the ugly things about our personalities that Twitter followers and ‘randoms’ will never know. The reality is, the older we get, the less opportunities we have to build these kind of (your family) friendships. It’s your history together that makes the whole thing, so damn special.
So although this happened in June last year, I can honestly say it’s only now, I’ve felt suitably recovered to discuss and reflect on it objectively. I also realised that I’m not the only person in the world who has had a friend betray them and shed some grown woman tears. So I decided to write about it.
What to do when your best friend or any friend, betrays you:
- Resist the urge to character assassinate. It feels good in the moment, but afterwards, you feel like your 16 years old
- Don’t get into email wars, say what you have to say via email or preferably face to face, then shut up
- Allow yourself some time to mourn. When you lose a friend and in your heart you know it’s permanent, it’s like the death of a loved one. It’s ok to wear black for a few days
- Find someone who you trust and then talk about it. Not in a “he said, she said” kind of way, but talk through the situation and your feelings
- Make sure that person is neutral. There is nothing worse than pouring out your heart, then worrying for weeks after, whether that conversation is now on the grapevine
- Use it as an opportunity to get closer to other friends. They may have been your best friend, but they aren’t your only friend
What not to do:
- Pretend like it didn’t happen and drown yourself in cheap Indonesian beer, or your medication of choice
- Keep going back over old ground. If you’ve made the decision that the friendship really is over, then have the courage of your convictions
- Discuss the situation ad nauseum with mutual friends. You will only become childish and resentful, and your slagging off session will reach their ears sooner or later. Not that you much care, but why not be the bigger person
- Immediately try and replace the friendship with someone else. This is called being on the ‘rebound’ and rarely works out
- Beat yourself up about it. If on reflection it was YOU who screwed up monumentally, then be a grown up and make your peace. They don’t have to accept it, but that’s the right thing to do. If it wasn’t you and your mind is made up, then don’t make it any harder than it has to be.
My best friend as I will never talk again. The reality of this is now my decision, as I’m pretty sure she would try again given half a chance, but I’m officially done. It saddens me; that I won’t be at the kids school plays, will no longer receive their phone calls just to tell me they love me. Seriously it does, but I’m over it.
Like I said, they may have been your best friend, but hopefully not your only friend, so move on.
So if you’ve ever wondered what to do when your best friend betrays you, this is what worked for me.
- Have you ever lost a best friend, and if so, how did you recover
- How many chances do you give friends, before you say enough is enough
- Do you think it’s possible to find a new best friend, when you’re nicely into your thirties? Do we even need best friends at that age
Come and share your thoughts and experiences with me, let’s heal a little bit more, together. If you liked this post or think it may help others, then why not share it.