If this has happened to you, it’s not necessarily going to be an easy thing to get over. If you decide that your friendship has come to an end, it’ll take you a while to adjust to life without them in it.
But if you want to keep this friend in your life, you’ll need to face up to what’s happened and work through your feelings before you can start to repair the relationship and move forward.
Here are the steps you should take either way.
1. Accept that being betrayed by a friend is deeply hurtful.
If you find that you’ve been betrayed by a friend, it’s completely normal to be devastated by it. Some people try to fight these feelings, not understanding why a friend could have such power over them, and why a betrayal on the part of the friend can rock their world so.
That’s largely down to the fact that we tend to place far more value on romantic and even familial relationships in our society and often ignore the power of friendships.
But if we’re honest with ourselves about our feelings, we start to appreciate just how important friendship is to us, and what a big impact it can have on our lives when it goes wrong. Our friends are the ones who are there for us when we need them and are a constant presence in our lives.
Don’t beat yourself up about it, but accept the feelings, give them their due importance and be prepared to examine them and work through them.
2. If you can, have an honest conversation with your friend.
Your friend might have betrayed you to such an extent that you’re not willing to speak to them face to face (at least not for a long while). And that’s your prerogative. But if you can bring yourself to speak to them, an honest conversation could be the salvation of your friendship, or could at least help you to move on, even if you choose not to remain friends with them going forward.
You both need to be totally honest about things, without letting your ego get in the way.
Give them a chance to explain the situation from their point of view. Even if it doesn’t make things better between you, hearing their reasons for acting the way they did might help you to understand the things that have happened.
If you haven’t been the best friend to them in recent times, that might have contributed to their behaviour. That’s not an excuse for their betrayal, but it’s something to bear in mind.
3. Figure out why you feel so betrayed.
What is it specifically about what your friend did that has hurt you so? You need to take some time to yourself to reflect on why this is hurting you so badly. What elements of what they did bothered you the most?
Was it a concrete action that you felt was a betrayal, or was it them withholding the truth about something from you?
It might be fairly obvious, but the main reasons you’re so hurt by it might be more complex than they appear to be on the surface.
4. Ask whether the relationship is worth saving.
So, you’ve had an honest talk with them about what happened, and you’ve had a chance to analyze the way it’s made you feel. It’s now time to look to the future and decide whether the friendship you had with them is salvageable and, if so if it’s really worth your while putting the effort into patching things up with them.
How important are they in your life? Would your life be poorer without them in it? Are you willing to put the necessary work in to rebuild the friendship?
If they’ve consistently been a good friend to you in the past, there for you when you need them, providing you with good advice, being loyal, and enriching your life, then one betrayal might not be enough to counteract all that. Or it might be. It’s entirely your decision.
5. Ask whether they are sorry.
Of course, a large part of how you move forward will depend on how your friend is dealing with the situation. If they can’t understand your feelings of betrayal and haven’t apologized or done what they can to improve matters and make things up to you, that might be an indication that the friendship doesn’t have a future.
If, on the other hand, they’ve shown remorse and are doing their best to make things up to you, that might be a sign that your friendship could survive their betrayal.
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