May 25, 2019 at 6:56 pm #295693
I need to know how to move on from an adult friendship. I met this woman through our children around three years ago and our friendship has steadily grown. A few months ago we joined a friends circle with three other couples and it became clear to the group that she and her husband were on the outs. First they wore their rings on different hands, then the rings just came off. Honestly, I never noticed, but others in the group were more observant and very curious. I was at a school event and three different women separately told me about their separation, and I discovered that she’d shared this information with several other women, leading me to believe it was public information. (Here is where I exercise poor judgement.) So, based on my assessment I told two of the other couples in our friend group. It wasn’t a mean spirited conversation, but more concerned. In between this she and I met, and she shared this information with me. FF to Feb, one of the women told her that I had divulged this information to the group. In March we were scheduled to go on a trip that I invited her to and she was a little stand offish on the trip, but I didn’t think much of it. A month later, I get a text from her saying that she knows I discussed specifics with our friends and she doesn’t trust me anymore. (Here is where my spiraling begins.) I responded to her apologizing and realizing retrospectively the extent of my mistake and can we meet. I also sent her an email explaining and apologizing again. (She doesn’t respond.) We don’t meet, but I do host all the couples at my house two weeks later and at the end of the night she and another woman (who I am not close with and who wasn’t really involved in this, but is very “spiritual” and “not judgmental”) basically decide we should talk about it. Needless to say, I completely broke down in tears (very uncool to do this after someone has been drinking) and apologized again, it had been wearing on me. Honestly, it still is. It’s been about a month and I haven’t heard from her, but I have seen her out with the other women. (That hurt a lot.) I accept that I was wrong. I also think she handled it immaturely and definitely doesn’t value my friendship. I don’t blame her for this, but I do blame her for not having the backbone to 1. speak with me earlier 2. let others dictate how she should handle this situation. At this point I just want to move on from the situation. It’s tricky bc we live in a small town and have mutual friends.
My goal is for us to just be casual friends, after this situation she isn’t forgiving and I’m human and I can’t go through this again. She isn’t upset with the two women who initially told me, but is upset with me based on the individual advising her at the time. Any advice? Has anyone been though something similar with a friend? I’m lucky bc I have a lot of great friends who supported me through this, I don’t really consider ending this friendship a loss long term and I do think our “season” is finished. (I’m able to finally see the positive, which is that all these women showed some true colors and I’ve been able to self reflect and focus on my really true friends and being a better friend to them.) It’s been difficult for me to move forward and forgive myself. I feel deeply and I’m a good friend, I messed up and I need to move on. Words of wisdom appreciated.May 25, 2019 at 9:10 pm #295711
The two women who told you about the separation had no right to share that sensitive information with you. They put you in a situation you shouldn’t have been in. So that was their first mistake, and their second was not being clear with you about how “top secret” the info was.
Your mistake was assuming it was okay to tell others, but in your defense you thought it was already public information. You mentioned that while telling the others, your conversation wasn’t mean-spirited but more “concerned”. A big lesson to learn here is that when you are genuinely concerned about a friend, go directly to that friend without involving anyone else.
Friends make mistakes and forgive each other. That’s what they do. When they don’t, the friendship ends. You have recognized your mistake and apologized to her. What more can you do? Nothing, so stop beating yourself up. She’s making too much of this.
BMay 26, 2019 at 4:53 am #295725
Thank you for the response, Brandy.
I wanted to go directly to her, but I was told at the same school event by the “spiritual” woman to wait for her to come to me. (She already knew and they were better friends, so I took her advice.) In the mean time, everyone in our group had been speculating for months and it came up.
You are correct about forgiveness, and this friendship has run its course.
I’m struggling to get past my mistake, forgive myself and not care that I’m essentially cutting out three friends. The first woman I told has turned out to be a huge fair weather friend, that hurts after I introduced her to the group. She told them I shared this info w her w the other couple aNd then basically threw her hands up saying “oh no judgement from me!”
It’s funny bc if I threw everyone under the bus, I’d have a defense. But that feels petty and weak and it’s not my style.May 26, 2019 at 8:21 am #295755
What a lot of people do is redirect their anger from person B to a person C. It may be that this former friend is angry at her husband but is suppressing her anger toward him and interact with him for the sake of her children, endure his presence for their sake or for financial reasons.
Next, her suppressed anger doesn’t stay down and she finds a convenient target for her anger, you in this case. So she avoids your company, enjoys your hurt feelings as she continue to make it known that she is angry at you and that you did her wrong… and she gets the relief that she needs so to be able to .. endure the company of the person she is very angry at.
It is a common dynamic. What do you think?
anitaMay 26, 2019 at 8:23 am #295757
* didn’t reflect under TopicsMay 26, 2019 at 10:09 am #295793
I wondered the same myself and your assessment is pretty spot on in retropect. She and her husband are continuing to cohabitate for the sake of their children, and that’s not easy. I do find it extremely childish to take out your anger on others, this is not a quality I value in the people around me. It’s disappointing, but better now than in another three years.
Seeing as you have a pretty good read on the situation, what would you do if you were me?May 26, 2019 at 10:17 am #295799
To loop back…I’m struggling on how to process and move forward. This is a new situation for me as an adult in my 30s and I haven’t experienced anything like this since I was a teenager. After having prided myself on being a good friend and having lots of positive friendships, this just blew up in my face. It is what is now and i’m focused on moving on. But I have NO IDEA how.May 26, 2019 at 11:41 am #295817
Yeah, I agree with both of you, this lady is probably redirecting her anger at you.
So how to move on….this is what I’d do: Look at this as a huge learning experience that will save you countless headaches in the future. No more talking about any person behind his/her back period. And don’t talk about this situation anymore. When you’re with friends and someone brings it up, say you don’t want to talk about it and then change the subject. Even when you’re having a weak moment and you feel the need to express your side of the story to a friend, go for a walk to clear your head, or talk to your husband instead. If you keep talking about it with others you’ll be keeping it alive. Just let it die.
When nothing’s happening, when there’s nothing to talk about, people move on to the next drama-filled scenario, and once a situation is in the past they often look back and regret the ways they behaved in it. These women are being too hard on you and I think they’ll eventually regret how they’re treating you. In the mean time, forgive yourself and hold your head up high! You’ve done nothing that you don’t deserve to be forgiven for! Research ways to sit with uncomfortable and unresolved feelings, like mindfulness and meditation. This is a great opportunity to improve yourself, to become emotionally stronger. Also, plan activities that you like to do that don’t involve the women in this circle. Take up a new hobby and look to make new friends. And be polite and friendly, even to the women in this circle.
BMay 26, 2019 at 1:49 pm #295839
“what would you do if you were me?”-
– you over-apologized to this woman and she.. didn’t apologize to you for not acknowledging your tearful apology, for ignoring you, did she?
If I was you, I wouldn’t interact with her unless she apologizes to me, until she says something like: I am sorry that I didn’t respond to you, that I ignored you. I was too harsh on you, after all I too talk about people not in their presence, sometimes mentioning personal details about them to others. As a matter of fact I talked about you quite a few times to others, to people you know, and not in a flattering way, and I mentioned to them a personal thing of two about you…
I don’t think she will say these things, but my point- is there any person on the face of this earth, living among other people, who does not talk about others not in their presence? I do, because I like to learn about people and I am curious. I don’t want to gossip which is talking about people in a malicious way and/ or for a malicious purpose. But you didn’t do that!
May 27, 2019 at 9:40 am #295941
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
Hi Brandy, HUGE learning experience. And that’s great advice to stop talking about it. I’m also refocusing on positive things to say about each one of these people when they come up. “Oh her kids are so sweet!” My husband is great person to vent to, although I have a good friend who is in a different state and a therapist who is my go-to. But I agree, this shouldn’t be a local topic. And what an excellent point that it keeps it alive by talking about it. Letting it die a slow ugly death.
I hope they regret how they’re treating me, but not one of them seems to think they’ve done anything wrong. Even the one who dropped the information (my friend of five years!) and then didn’t call me for a head’s up or a well check. It’s now obvious why each one of them as trouble making/keeping friends. Mindfulness and meditation is on my list and this seems like a great opportunity to give it a try.
Working on forgiving myself and moving forward, thank you for the great advice and support.
KMay 27, 2019 at 9:48 am #295943
I DID over-apologize, you’re right. For me, a genuine apology will fix a lot. This doesn’t seem to be the case with this woman. She did acknowledge my initial text response, but did not respond to my email or follow up with me after my tearful-apologetic breakdown. (Its now been more than a month.)
<span style=”display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: #ffffff; color: #333333; cursor: text; font-family: Georgia,’Times New Roman’,’Bitstream Charter’,Times,serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;”>You’re right, we’re all curious and talk about eachother in different ways. </span>This is a good point.
I find her to be weak in that she is taking direction from one of the other women, she’s essentially flushed our 3 year friendship down the toilet. I’m only sorry that I wasted my time for so long. I hope she and I can get to a point where we can appreciate the good and move forward.
Thank you for your words of wisdom!
-KMay 27, 2019 at 10:07 am #295951
You are welcome.
“she’s essentially flushed our 3 year friendship down the toilet”- we do invest time and effort in people and often see little to no return on our investment, sometimes we see negative returns. All we can do is learn, evaluate people better, learn what a particular person values as important, what motivates the person and figure out how to proceed, invest or not.
People are easy to negatively criticize others for things they themselves are guilty of. A person who gossips for example will criticize another for gossiping. Therefore, when a person criticizes you, instead of assuming sole guilt, if there is guilt at all, think: is the criticizer free of guilt, of the same wrongdoing she is accusing me of doing?
May 27, 2019 at 11:09 am #295975
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
You are welcome. I understand how hard this is. My kids are older now but I remember so well the awful pressure associated with fitting in with certain “powerful” moms at my kids’ elementary school, wanting so badly to be included, trying so hard to be considered “worthy” of their friendship. But one day you realize it’s all nuts! Women can be so tough. They get together for lunch or a night out and everything seems great, but then the next day one will begin criticizing another behind her back for such an innocent transgression. Just one comment interpreted the wrong way by just one woman can mean the beginning of the end of the poor woman who made the comment. And it’s all done in such a sneaky, snaky, covert way, labeling another as “loser” without being seen as a bully. Face it, some women, no matter what they do, are going to become targets, and other women who do the exact same things will be forgiven and celebrated. It’s totally bizarre. But I’ve been there, seen the body language, excluding, ignoring, eye-rolling, you name it, and I survived! 🙂
Hang in there, always take the high road, and know that it gets so much better when your kids hit high school.
BMay 28, 2019 at 10:53 am #296139
“People are easy to negatively criticize others for things they themselves are guilty of. A person who gossips for example will criticize another for gossiping. Therefore, when a person criticizes you, instead of assuming sole guilt, if there is guilt at all, think: is the criticizer free of guilt, of the same wrongdoing she is accusing me of doing?”
This is true and good lesson for me to keep in mind moving forward. I should pay closer attention to how I reproach those around me and think if it’s something that I too am guilty of. As it’s applicable to these women, I’ll probably never find out.
</div>May 28, 2019 at 11:16 am #296149
Yes, the examination goes both ways: how is the other person guilty of what the accuse me of/ of a similar behavior on their part and how am I guilty for doing the same or similar behavior I accuse others of. I call this inside-out learning and this is what I do here as I communicate with others.
“As it’s applicable to these women, I’ll probably never find out”- maybe you can find out if you ask any one of these women questions in a different way than before, or approach them differently, maybe?