Lifestyle Fashion

When a good friend treats you badly

There are no guarantees in life that everyone in our inner circle will continue to like us, and yet it can be hard to tell when a good friend, a longtime relationship is found to harbor disdain or even contempt for us and our life choices.

Occasionally we may have picked up some subtle cues, causing us to pause and reflect on the relationship. We may have even shut up or tried harder with them, but if they become overtly difficult or offensive, followed eventually by a half-hearted apology, we may have to ask ourselves if we really want to live this way. Will we always have to put up with being mistreated to make sure our inner circle runs smoothly?

Initial reflections on your rude or unsympathetic behavior may make it better to conclude that it was unintentional, even if you have vague suspicions about it! But, if an apology did finally come, did you feel better about it, or instead did you somewhat cynically assume that it only happened because they had been caught misbehaving, hoped to ignore it, and then be seen in a better light by those who had witnessed their ‘remorse’!

Ask yourself, after being hurt by the words or actions of a good friend, how did it feel to hear ‘I’m sorry’? What type of word is it? It certainly is a word that many of us use automatically several times a day. From letting the door slam on the person behind us, to accidentally jumping in line or even when someone bumps into us, the word pitiful often comes up without thought.

How do you move on when a good friend treats you badly?

There are times when one person’s actions are so divisive that they cause a split in a group of friends, forcing others to take sides. Being the catalyst for this can mean we feel guilty, sorry, or ashamed, even if we have done very little to cause the initial disruption.

When someone we consider to be a good friend is rude, disloyal, or offensive, we may react by doing everything we can to win them over, perhaps blaming ourselves in some way, wondering if it’s our fault. It can be tempting to compensate and work hard to persuade them that we are kind, worthy, and worthy of his approval. But surely there has to come a time when we accept reality, take stock and accept that their behavior is their problem. Our paths may continue to cross, but it’s important to safeguard our peace of mind and not give away our power by feeling stressed, unhappy, or sick.

Weeks or months can go by in which, for commercial or social reasons, we are forced to rub shoulders with someone, a good friend, who has seriously wronged us. Because we have yet to meet and engage with them, we perceptually ‘accept’ their apology, smile, and return the courtesy. It oils the wheels of any meeting, disperses tension, allows others to feel more able to relax. But, behind the smile, it is most likely that we have mentally distanced ourselves from the relationship, thus protecting ourselves from being too vulnerable and risking the same thing happening again.

The phrase, ‘actions speak louder than words’ has a certain resonance here. Do you believe their apology or would you rather wait and see how they treat you afterwards? For an apology to be truly acceptable, it needs to feel genuine, and as such, you may need to include the details of what you’re really sorry about. An ‘I’m sorry’ blanket can seem rather vague and conciliatory. However, feeling that there is some degree of awareness of the distress they have caused can help make an apology sound more sincere. And, of course, it is interesting to wait for what will happen next.

After someone has said they’re sorry, we can feel the pressure to be nicer, eager to show that we’re a bigger person, ready to move on. Some people believe that once they have apologized, the situation is automatically resolved and we have a responsibility to be kind, generous and appreciative of their efforts, even if nothing they have said will repair the pain and damage caused.

Words alone take a second or two on someone’s lips. Yes, a ‘good friend’ may want to keep the peace by going through a damage limitation exercise to defuse the tension. But if an apology isn’t sincere, you’re justified in being appropriately polite as you smile, say “thank you,” and then walk away.

After an apology, it would be nice to have some evidence of a desire to change, behave better, and improve areas of tension. Only when we see someone accept responsibility for his behavior can we trust that he is remorseful, intends to treat us with respect, and is willing to repair the relationship.

Remember, if you continue to mix with people who don’t value, respect, or treat you well, you’re doing yourself a disservice and missing out on opportunities to find a circle of true friends. Value yourself by walking away, even if it means losing your old connections and, perhaps for a while, ending up alone.

When you fill your life with people and things that feed your soul, that bring you joy, you will gradually notice that you attract more like-minded people who are supportive and on a similar wavelength as you. When you value yourself you let others value you too.

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