Jan and I have been best friends for about ten years. I met her through my job, and we immediately hit it off. We have been through a lot of stuff together, and I always thought she had my back. Recently, I found out that she has been saying bad stuff about me to a mutual friend. I didn’t believe it at first, but then I heard that she’s been saying the same things to someone else. I confronted her about it, and she said it wasn’t true, but I could tell she was lying. I’m not sure what to do now. She still acts like we’re good friends, but I don’t trust her anymore.
Bothered and Betrayed
I am so sorry for the betrayal you must feel! It sounds very painful and disappointing.
Given that your “friend” isn’t willing to admit (yet?) that she said what you heard, I imagine there’s no further conversation to have with her directly. It is a dramatic lesson in the power of gossip. If there is a lesson for you to take away, this might be a good one. Did you ever hear her talk about others in a similar way, and allow that to continue? …or even participate?
I ask this of you, even though it may be tender, because – in all (terribly embarrassing) honesty – I have been on both sides of this experience! I cannot express the deep remorse I feel from having hurt another in this way.
Here are a few things I want to say about your question – with more tenderness than can be conveyed on the page:
1) Don’t assume that she doesn’t love and care about you because of her carelessness. She may be someone who tends to focus on what she doesn’t like about others, and life. It most likely comes from her own wounded past and mistaken beliefs. I am not saying you should trust her. I’m only suggesting that you can be assured that whatever she said is nowhere near all of what she feels about you. (I say this to support the healing of your own grief.)
2) Take the opportunity to ask yourself two painful questions: a) How is what they are saying true about me? and b) How am I like this person in this situation?
3) Ask yourself if you saw warning signals somewhere along the way and ignored them. And, if so, commit to doing it differently in the future.
4) Finally, if you don’t trust this person (which is certainly understandable, and perhaps wise), it may be time to find yourself a new person to hang with. It may be that in many years, you could re-connect with this person and feel differently with them. But if this were a possibility, it is liable to take a long time. Trust youreself first (always.) And if your intuition says stay away, do that as nicely and with as much kindness as you can muster.
Blessings and Love to you in all you do,
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