“Help! My ‘Ex’-Friend Is Causing Me Anxiety! What Should I Do?”
Written by Ask Olivia | April 22, 2015
My heart hurts, and I don’t know what to do. I guess you could say I have gone through a friend breakup, but I’m not sure [she was] ever my friend in the first place.
I was recently invited to go to a friend’s (ex-friend, more accurately) 18th birthday party. This friend and I have had some rough points, typically involving her hurting me, sometimes really badly, and me forgiving her. Seven times seventy times, right? On the day of the party, I was having a really bad day. I was tired, I was stressed and I was just generally really sad. But I still went, as I made the commitment to come. While at the party, I wasn’t very engaged, and I suppose I may have come off as rude, but I simply wasn’t talking much and I thought she would understand.
The next day…she lash[ed] out at me, saying she was disgusted with my behavior and that she had lost all respect for me. She used my ambitions against me, and claimed I had alienated everyone at the party. To make matters worse, she used my relationship with her boyfriend, who is one of my best friends, to further insult and hurt me.
The natural solution would be to avoid this awful person, but I can’t. She has managed to work herself into every part of my life, from lacrosse to clubs to my social circles. I fear she is going to harm my reputation and turn everyone against me.
I know I should not want to associate with her, as she has hurt me in the past and I’ve forgiven her, and I know if the roles were reversed I would’ve forgiven her. These facts should be enough to make me certain she’s bad news. Yet I still hold on to some small hope she will apologize and forgive me for my behavior and we can still be friends. On some level, I feel she is right, that I am a bad person and bad friend….
What do you suggest I do? My world is collapsing around me, and I feel physical pain whenever I think of this situation. Do you have any verses for me, or any counsel?
Hey girl, thanks for your question. I know that things may seem really chaotic right now. Friendships are usually the most important relationships for girls and guys your age. But I promise you, this will work out. I just pray that you don’t allow situations like this to cause you so much anxiety in the future. They happen often, and throughout your life, so you really need to learn how to work through them without losing your peace.
After reading your story, it seems to me that this could all be boiled down to a misunderstanding. After all, you did write that you “thought she would understand” when you attended her party in a bad mood, and that you weren’t “very engaged, and I suppose I may have come off as rude, but I simply wasn’t talking much.” So, you admit that you may have been rude. My guess is that she didn’t understand. Did you apologize for your behavior?
You also wrote that she has lost all respect for you following your behavior at the party, so did she respect you before? She also invited you to her birthday party, so she must like you, right? Only you know what kind of friendship the two of you had. Is this person as mean as you write? If she is, then maybe you should find a way in which you can be around her without getting upset. I do think that things would be a little better if you take the time to set the record straight.
So here’s what I think you should do:
- Be honest about why you were in a foul mood to start with. You wrote that you were “really sad.” Are you sad a lot? Why? Understanding the “why” may help you figure out a way to fix the problem. Sadness and depression can break up friendships. If it was a random day of feeling blue, that’s okay, but you probably should have put on a positive attitude for your friend’s party. It was her birthday, after all.
- Apologize if you haven’t already. I mean, you admitted that you had some kind of attitude going on. And if this soured her birthday party a little, then you do owe her an apology, regardless of how she’s treated you in the past.
- Be polite whenever you see her. You don’t have to suck up to her. You don’t even have to hang out with her directly, but you should be respectful. Maybe you two are not compatible friends, but you can be civil to each other.
- Make new friends. I’m not suggesting that you drop the friends you already have, but it sounds to me as if you don’t have any loyal friends of your own. Everyone is connected to this person and you have no one to just talk to when things aren’t going so well. Maybe try to connect with like-minded, Christ-like people outside of your current circle. This would certainly give you a break from this girl.
- Hand your anxieties over to the Lord. Worry and fear are sentiments of Satan. When you feel these negative emotions, you’re not trusting in Him. Hand your anxieties over to Him and He will work it out. You can’t change your friend, but God can open her eyes and her heart. Do your part in being a good Christian, whether as her friend or just an acquaintance. Only when you trust Him will you be happy and content.
- Pray. You mentioned that maybe you’re not a great friend, so pray that God shows you how to be better.
Good luck and God bless!
Need some advice? Ask your questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!