When you feel like a friend has betrayed you, the experience is much like infidelity in a marriage. Your trust is shaken and your feelings are hurt. You question your judgement and you may lose a relationship that’s important to you.
Sometimes a friend may make an honest mistake or lack the capacity to stand by you through a serious illness or other hardship. Sometimes they may even harm you deliberately.
Whatever the reasons, try these tips to help you promote healing, whether you decide to salvage your friendship or go your separate ways.
This is Part 2 “Steps to Take with Others”…
Steps to Take with Others:
Talk It Over.
If possible, sit down for a conversation with your friend. Let them know how you feel and listen to their side of the story without justifying yourself -in any way!
You may find it helpful to get an additional perspective. You can ask a mutual friend or someone you trust to give you feedback on how you’re handling things but don’t fall into the trap of gossiping about your friend.
My rule of thumb is to always go “upwards” when seeking to manage conflict/hurt/pain.
What I mean by that is go to someone above you in leadership. Someone
who you look up to. Someone who has more wisdom and life experience than
yourself. Whether in work or in life we
always have those we look up to – mentors so to speak. These people should be a
safe space for you to gain that additional perspective.
Resolve Conflicts Promptly.
Disagreements are easier to fix when you act quickly. Keep touchy situations from getting out of hand by communicating directly and tactfully.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute before speaking to them.
Imagine you are them and feel for a minute what it will be like for them to
hear what you have to say. Take this perspective with you into your gentle and
Letting go of grudges will give you more peace of mind.
Pardon your friend and wish them well even if you don’t approve of their behaviour.
And remember that it’s a normal part of the human experience to have negative emotions 50% of the time. Half negative and half Positive emotions make us normal people living the fullness of our lives.
Forgiveness is a skill we have to learn if we want to live ‘well adjusted’.
If you decide to maintain your friendship after a serious betrayal, you
may want to take things slowly. See if your friend is willing and able to
follow through on smaller commitments before you take bigger risks.
On the other hand, you may decide that you’re better off ending contact
with this friend. You can still be gracious by letting them know your decision
and refraining from gossiping about them.
The most important challenge for you may be to keep your heart and mind open to making new friends. Trust is the basis for any healthy relationship. It’s impossible to avoid disappointments, but you can know that you’re strong and resilient enough to bounce back.
Pray for Them (optional).
This one is just for those who believe in the power of prayer.
I have found prayer to be uber-powerful in my life to help me to forgive, move forward, let go and live ‘lightly’ without all those issues in that emotional backpack we can sometimes fall into the trap of carrying around with us.
A simple prayer for their wellbeing each time the betrayal arises in your mind is the balm needed to help you heal and move forward without suffering any more than necessary.
Losing a friend is always difficult, especially when you think they’ve let you down. By working through your feelings, you can restore your trust in others and you’ll be able to repair your friendship or build new and more supportive ones.
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