Toxic Friends

7 Apr

Letterbalm Gossiping WomenDear LetterBalm: I’ve known a group of people for five years, and I considered them close, dear friends. Last year, a woman joined the group and, for some reason, took a serious dislike to me and started spreading lies. She accused me of being manipulative and trying to steal her boyfriend. She also accused me of “intimidating” her – although for the life of me I don’t know what she meant. She conducted a whispering campaign against me with my friends, gradually winning them over with texts and e-mails. It was very hurtful being cut out and all alone. Eventually, she was caught in her own lies, my friends ceased contact with her, and they’ve started speaking to me again. But now I can’t trust them. They’re telling me I should get over this and rejoin the group. How can I make them understand that this was a serious hurt?

–Still in Pain

It doesn’t say much for your friends if they were so easily manipulated by a scheming liar. Your friends are probably mortified at their cruel behavior and are trying to downplay it. What they did was a serious breach of trust and friendship; at the very least, they should be willing to apologize and discuss it with you. If they continue to pin the reconciliation responsibility on you, then you need to consider how important these individuals are in your life. Ms. L.B. thinks you should move on and find new friends. Your current gang isn’t worth an ounce of consideration. If you decide to move on, pick one of them and say this privately in-person to pass the word to the rest of the group:

All of you chose to believe the cruel lies of a troubled, manipulative woman over a friend you had known for years. You spread those lies behind my back and cut me out of the group. I was alone and maligned, and none of you did anything to defend me. Now, all of you want me to forget what happened, and none of you has apologized or recognized the seriousness of how you hurt me. It’s sad, but I’ll never trust any of you again. So please tell everyone that I wish all of you well but I’m moving on and making new friends.


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