or When Friends Become Frenemies BY FILIPPO VOLTAGGIO
What to do when a person who has been your best friend, turns on you? Very few things in relationships can hurt more. I have heard clients say that they would rather the friend had died, because they think that missing them would hurt less than this turn, even though it might only be temporary.
Of all kinds of hurts in life, this particular one may be more difficult than others to deal with for at least four reasons.
Firstly, it is hard not to take it personally, since the relationship was personal, period. Secondly, your best friend may have been the one you turned to at times like this, and they are not there for you. Thirdly, a true best friend is tied emotionally to many experiences in life that have been shared, and thus darken the prospect of ever enjoying them again, or doing them again without thinking of the friend and being angered, for example. Fourthly, the friend may know your hot but- tons, or “secrets” that may have been, or could possibly be used “against” you, or the fear of having them shared with others.
Though I usually suggest to my clients, family and friends that they try and find the gift in each seemingly negative situation, this one can be a challenge. How can one possibly look at this situation and see the opportunity, especially when emotions tend to cloud one’s thinking at times like these?
The first thing I suggest is to take a moment to feel ones feelings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Most people think they are feeling their feelings, when they are label- ing their current state as anger or possibly disgust, disdain, etc…. (all of which ultimately distill down to fear).
However, in the feeling of the feelings, I encourage people to contemplate WHY the situa- tion makes them angry, (obvi- ous reasons aside). It’s easy to say something like, “He/She shouldn’t have done that,” or “A true friend wouldn’t do that to a friend.” If one however pro- cesses the anger/fear it is quite possible to get to one of two helpful conclusions.
One conclusion might be, “I see how much I truly love Him/ Her.“ In this case you can take the gift of discovering that even with such “hurt,” you truly love this person, unconditionally. Then you can work on what you need to change in yourself, or in your relating with your friend in order to make the relation- ship more whole than it was.
The other conclusion that may surface while feeling the feelings, is that friendship with this person was out of balance, or that each was growing in opposite directions, or the friendship was a friendship of convenience that no longer was convenient, for example. In this case, the gift is obvious, because potentially, neither party consciously wanted to be the one to break up the friendship. Unconsciously, something bubbled up in the way that it did. In this case, the gift could be that the relationship had to change or be dissolved.
In the case where you discover that you love your friend “unconditionally,” then on your way to mending and creating a more whole relationship, there are a few growth steps that you can take. You can start by asking the question, “If He/She has been such a good friend, what would make them turn like that?” This allows us to look at the situation from other angles. This is more easily said than done, and more easily done after feeling the feelings and analyzing them, and sometimes after much time has passed. One could delve deeper and ask, “what might be going on with my friend?” “Is His/Her medication acting up?” “Is He/She having trouble in His/ Her marriage, job, health?” When one looks at the situation from these kinds of questions, the answers, (though they may not excuse some behavior), might shed light on an opportunity to be a better friend, help the friend, and/ or have a better friendship.
Just as important, if not more so, are the questions directed to self. “What would make Him/Her turn on my like that?” “What was it that I did, said, implied?” “Is this something that they have been thinking about me all along, and never had the courage to say?” You can see how the honest answers to these questions could be answers on how to be a better you, which could be the ultimate gift of such a situation.
As friends, at times, we take each other for granted. Many times we allow our friends to do certain things that we don’t like, and vice- versa, “because we love them,” or because they love us. And some- times, certain things become not okay, as one or both parties grow or change. Without knowing how to change the relationship, these kinds of situations become inevitable. However, no matter how much they hurt, the gifts, and the opportunities for a better you, and a better friendship can be the best gifts, along with a beastie back to bestie and a frenemy back to friend!
Filippo is an author, the host of The LIFE CHANGES Show, and a Life Coach. For more information on Filippo Voltaggio visit www. LIFECHANGESNETWORK.com.
For Radio and TV interviews, public speaking engagements, work- shops, and/or one-on-one sessions, contact him directly at Filippo@ LIFECHANGESNETWORK.com.