When Friends Turn Against You

Friends are important. Together you share your private thoughts, your favorite music, your clothes, your heartaches, your hopes. Friends are who you want to be with most.

But what happens when you don't approve of what your friends are doing or when they misunderstand where you're coming from? You know what happens: the people you enjoy being with quit calling you on the phone and cut you out of their plans. You're left feeling confused, hurt, angry - perhaps even scared. You begin to wonder, "How can I win them back?"

"I'm going to win them back - whatever it takes" is not the best attitude to adopt when your friends turn against you. After all, they are as free to choose their friends as you are to choose yours. Right now, your friends' choice of friends does not include you.

Get through this time with dignity and self-respect. Rather than trying to win back your friends, consider other options.

If you know why your friends have turned against you, explain to them what you did - or didn't do - and why. If you owe anyone an apology, offer one honestly. If you don't know why your friends have turned against you, ask. They may have made assumptions about something you did - or didn't do - and a simple explanation will clear up the misunderstanding.

Remember, asking questions, apologizing when appropriate, and explaining yourself are not done to get your friends to like you again. That is a possible result, but it is not your goal; your goal is to pursue honesty in the name of friendship.

If you keep in mind that your intent is not to win back the old friends, you'll be more honest in everything you do and say - a very appealing part of being a friend. Acting, talking, dressing, or thinking in ways that are not really you is not what being a friend is all about. When you act in ways that do not show respect for who you really are, you offer a lie to others - not friendship.

Whining, begging, pouting, or trying to get even will not result in friendship either. When you offer the real you to others, you offer the finest gift of all. Renewed friendships and new friendships can result.

Somewhere, sometime, somehow, the friends who have now turned against you started being your friends. In the same way, you can start new friendships again. Fresh and exciting friendships can begin with simple exchanges. Helping a classmate with homework, walking down the hall with a new acquaintance, or eating at the same lunch table with someone are all great opportunitis for new friends to connect. When old friends turn against you, you have a great chance to treat yourself to something fantastic: new friends!

Maybe you've heard the saying: "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold." Friends from long ago were once important to you, and you were important to them. Take this opportunity to touch base with these people. You may have drifted apart for a number of reasons-good of bad-but that was then and this is now. Use this opportunity to give an old friend a call just to see what's up.

Think through what you know about your relationships with the friends who have turned against you. What was honest and good about those relationships? How were you able to support one another through tough times? What were the fun things you enjoyed, and why? What was NOT honest and good about those relations? How were you bad for one another? When were you less than really good friends?

Think about these things as you make friends in the future. After all, there is a reason why each person comes into your life, regardless of what happens. Everyone can teach you something about yourself and life-things like who you are, what unique qualities you have to offer others, what values you want to live by. You will be a better friend if you let old friendships teach you.

When your friends turn against you, don't turn against them-or yourself. Chad's friends turned against him when he made the varsity basketball team. At first, he couldn't understand why. Then a sharp comment from one of those friends clued him in: "So you made varsity," the friend said. "Big deal; you're still just Chad to us." Chad had to admit to himself-and eventually to his friends-that for the first few weeks after making the team, he considered himself pretty hot stuff. His friends didn't care that Chad had made the team; they were offended by his attitude and said so by their behavior. Chad had failed to be a good friend to others because he hadn't been a good friend to himself.

As you experience the confusion of your friends turning against you, remember: the one good friend you most need to have all your life is YOU.

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Last updated on 12/24/06 2:40 AM


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