I learned a valuable lesson over the past few days: You can tell who your your real friends are when the going gets tough.
I won’t go into the details, but a friend of mine – or someone I thought was a friend – went through some rough stuff this week. As ever, I was there to support her. But my actions were misinterpreted and, instead of understanding and accepting my apology, she presumed the worst possible about my character, my intent, and my actions.
Not only did she tell me in no uncertain terms to leave her alone, she made some really nasty comments about me and began a character assassination that seemed to come out of nowhere. My partner and other good friends were left reeling. None of us could understand it.
True friends have disagreements. Nobody agrees on everything, not ever, not even soul mates. But when someone you believed was your friend believes the worst of you, not the best, and goes on to attack you based on that assumption rather than believing that maybe your intentions were good and genuine and caring, then that hurts. It hurts deeply.
In my case, I’m left to doubt. I’m wondering – along with my partner – why my now ex-friend thought so little of me that she chose to believe the worst. Why she thought I was malicious and nasty. How she could have ever thought so little of me.
I’m left wondering if all I ever had was a fair weather friend – someone who liked me as long as everything was fine and good, but the moment things got rough she’d be ready to turn and attack and get nasty. It sure looks that way.
I want to believe the best in people. I wish I could believe the best in my friend. But this isn’t the first time this has happened with her, although it’s the worst case of it. And I’m now in a situation where I can’t help thinking that I don’t want this stress in my life. I’m here to support my friends, but there is only so much hatred and nastiness I can take before I turn away. Because I have self-respect too, and after saying sorry countless times for the statement I made that was misinterpreted, I can’t say sorry any more. I don’t have any sorry left in me.
Instead, I’ve spent most of the week since crying and leaning on other friends that I hope I can trust. But now I’m looking at all my other relationships, all those friends, and wondering if they, too, will treat me the same way when things get rough.
I can’t help but think of that line from the Bernstein Mass: “How easily things get broken.”
I don’t think I can be friends with this person any more. I need friends I can trust and rely on, not friends who will lash out and hurt me and go on the rampage, and character assassinate me, and throw vitriol about.
Being in pain doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole to the people who care about you.
So I’m done. This friendship is broken. I wish it weren’t, but it is. Eventually I’ll stop needing shoulders to cry on, and I’ll move on. But it’ll be a while yet.