07 Sep A friend changing moment – What do you do when a friend lets you down?
‘What would you do if a friend let you down?’ Not the usual opening gambit from someone you don’t know that well, but nonetheless a question I was asked the other night. So, I got us both a glass of Pinot Grigio, it felt like a white wine moment, and tried to answer the question ….
First off there are degrees of being let down. Being late wouldn’t bother me unless it passed the 30 minute barrier on a regular basis and if there were text updates to let me know of progress! We’ll all have degrees of patience on this one and if she’s a long standing friend prone to being late then you’ve already got your answer and you’re both over the issue!
Major incidents are another matter – didn’t tell you your husband was having an affair, is now dating the bloke who broke your heart, is undermining you in public, is inviting herself out with other friends of yours but not inviting you too, has suddenly become incredibly competitive with you or failed to be around when you went through a major crisis – any of the above are friend changing moments. That doesn’t necessarily mean never to be your friend again, it just might mean she’s moved from inner circle to outer circle. Those circles can we wide and it could now be she’s in the arctic circle!
So when you have a friend changing moment how do you deal with it?
Refuse to answer the phone and stay out of reach thinking she’ll figure out what she’s done if I don’t pick up or call back? Brood on the matter and tell all your other friends how bad she’s been, building up a power base or maybe hoping one of those friends will tell her how upset you are? Get someone else to call her to let her know her actions are out of order? Or are you going to call her yourself and clear the air?
Up to you, but my advice is always to do the call yourself. Any of the other actions make it worse and you’re not in control of what’s happening and what’s being said.
So I’d say it’s time for a few deep breaths and then some clear thinking to work out what exactly has upset you. Was it a one-off or have things been going wrong for a long time? Have many things happened and are they linked? Work out if there is a nub cause or a type of action she’s now pursuing. Once you’ve worked through what’s been happening and for how long it gives you a steer on what you want to do.
It could be your friendship is moving on and you’re moving apart. That’s fine, people grow and change, nothing stays the same, so there’s nothing to beat yourself up about. Just let it go and don’t cling to the past. It could be one big event that needs to be sorted out. Then sort out you must and it could also be the end of your friendship, there might be nothing to save. But before you have that meeting plan want you’re going to say and don’t let your emotions run away with you – and be prepared that it could be the end of your relationship.
Finally, the best thing a dear friend said to me, ‘remember there are different types of relationship, they could be for a reason, a season or a lifetime – cherish each of them, knowing they’re all great, just different’.