Here's How To Deal With Being Betrayed by a Best Friend, Expert Says
Being betrayed by a best friend is incredibly hurtful and can be a challenging situation to navigate. It usually happens very unexpectedly, as a best friend should always have your back, right? Since loyalty isn't always the case, we spoke with Leanna Stockard, LMFT at LifeStance Health, and are here today with some helpful tips on how to deal. Regardless of age, even the best of friendships can be stressed or even ended when trust is compromised. Read on to learn more about what Stockard has to say about how to handle being betrayed by a best friend.
Take some time to reflect
If you are betrayed by a best friend, the first step is to take solid time to consider what happened, why it happened, and how you feel about it. Stockard recommends spending time journaling and meditating, saying these activities can be extremely therapeutic when addressing your feelings. She adds, "These skills, especially journaling, can allow you to put those thoughts into a constructive space, where you can look back and reflect on them at another time."
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Reach out to a confidant
Another helpful step is to speak with a confidant for support, comfort, and to help you sort out your thoughts. An unrelated person to the situation may offer some stellar suggestions on how to get through the situation.
Therapy is always an option
If you're struggling with moving forward, therapy is always an option to consider. Broken trust in a friendship is a biggie to deal with, and every individual has their best way of handling things. A therapy session is a great way to speak openly and confidentially without being judged. A therapist will share coping skills and help you deal with the situation effectively.
Communication may resolve things
After reflecting and mulling over some good conversation and ideas, take time to decide how you'd like to proceed with your friend. Carrying out your decision can be extremely grueling, but Stockard has some valuable suggestions. "If this is the first time they betrayed you, it may be helpful to communicate with your best friend that you felt betrayed by them," she says, adding, "It may have also been a misunderstanding, where a conversation will also help to potentially lead to clearing things up with one another and working toward forgiveness."
A good friend should be receptive to hearing your perspective, and it could be a simple fix. If this wasn't the first time the friend deceived you, having a discussion may still be a prime time to let them know your feelings and that trust is essential to build back into your friendship. Stockard warns, "While they are building back that trust, I recommend being restrictive of what you share with them, and what you do when they are around."
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It may be time to cut ties and move on
Although unfaithfulness does not always mean the friendship will end, there may be signs indicating it's time to move on. As you take time to process, consider the loss you've endured. "This may include identifying and missing the good times you had with them, the moments when you thought you would be best friends forever, and the laughs you shared," Stockard says.
The decision to repair a friendship or end it is different for everyone. It's totally normal to undergo feelings of denial or grief. It's also normal to wonder whether you're making the right decision to end the friendship. Stockard stresses, "Communicate, communicate, communicate!! This suggestion goes for whether you do, or do not want to remain friends with the person who betrayed your trust."
If you do decide to cut the ties, think about meeting up with them, and relay that the trust is now broken and you've decided to end the friendship. You can use this time to answer questions they have, but Stockard warns, "I want to emphasize that if you have made that decision, make sure you stick to it, unless you are willing to give your friend another chance."
Let it fade out
If the thought of chatting with your best friend about the betrayal doesn't feel like the right step, you can simply allow your bond to fade out. You can do this by not accepting plans when they invite you and don't respond to their messages. This would include not contacting them via text or social media. Stockard explains, "It may feel bizarre, but if you are truly wanting this friendship to end without confrontation, your lack of engagement may be the way to communicate to them that you are no longer interested in the friendship."
Whatever you do, you should never feel responsible for the betrayal, even if your friend points to you as the cause. Their actions placed you in a vulnerable place with them, and it was not your fault.
Ending a friendship is a loss you'll have to accept
While you're taking it all in and acknowledging how toxic this person is to your life, remember their actions and what brought you to this decision in the first place. Stockard continues, "Work on acceptance of this loss, and recognize that if they were able to betray you the way that they did, they may not have been as great of a friend as you believed they were. With this acceptance, it is also imperative that you forgive yourself for trusting this person, you did not know at the time what they were capable of, and it is not your fault."
Learn to trust again and move forward
It's not easy to trust others after experiencing disloyalty in a friendship. It's crucial to focus on the traits and behaviors your friend had, and decide on which ones you seek in another friendship. Try to grasp an understanding of what trust means to you in a friend, realize you have good, loyal friendships, and remember that not all friends will behave badly.
Stockard leaves us with a bit of important advice. "Take your time healing from your loss, even if it is a loss that you initiated. It can take time to heal and rebuild your trust, so spend that time working on yourself, and you'll be surprised how much you can learn," she says.