Dear Miss A:
I recently lost a friend because she did not like the fact that I became casual friends with one of her other friends. She was not happy about the fact that we got together for lunch a couple of times, stating that I was “her friend,” a concept that I would never dispute, but genuinely do not understand as some of the best relationships I have found over the years have come from “friendly referrals.” …and I do the same in return and do not mind if friends get together without me, which happens from time to time as I tend to be a really socially active person. I also find that it makes my relationships with all my friends that much stronger.
I made special efforts to include her in many group get-togethers to encourage her to make more friends in my social circle (Although I think part of the reason she may be upset is because she is a much more private person). I am a little disappointed about losing this friend, but I also enjoy the other friend she connected me with and will not give up the friendship with the other person.
I have seen this behavior before in friends of friends, but not in my inner circle until now. An acquaintance of mine that I met through an ex-boyfriend called my ex a “friend stealer,” because she felt as though he became friends with a lot of her friends and took them from her. Ironically, the reason we were acquainted was because of my ex. The last time I talked with her, she was meeting me and another friend of hers at a restaurant and she told me about her “friend’s” worst qualities even before we met. I have been keeping my distance from her ever since as it made me wonder what she might be saying about me. After witnessing these two incidents, I have been leery about people who have the “friend stealer” mentality.
Maybe it’s unfair, but my thought is why bring people together if you don’t want them to get along? Also, if you want to maintain close friendships with people, you need to talk about their positive attributes, not tear them down. What people don’t realize is that when they are cutting someone down who is close to them, it also reflects really poorly on the person saying the nasty things and makes people question their judgment.
In the future, I would like to know how someone can handle a delicate situation like this and still leave all relationships intact. Is it even possible?
Concerned Friend Looking for the “Win-Win”
Dear Concerned Friend Looking for the “Win-Win”,
Thank you so much for your question. I completely agree with you about not talking badly about your friends or sharing their most private secrets with your other friends. Talking badly about a close friend shows that you aren’t a really good friend. Granted sometimes our friends can tax our patience, but we need to remember all their positive attributes that led to the friendship in the first place, and talking about someone does little to help the situation. If the negatives are starting to out-weigh the positives, it’s time to cut your losses and find other friends with which to spend your time. I’ve had to make these decisions, and it’s not easy, but in the long run, you’re better off.
I also suggest never sharing your most private secrets with any friend, as the majority of the population can’t keep a secret to save their life! This is unfortunate, but also very true. As President Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog!” As much as I am very open and “out there” in the public, there are very few people that in my “circle of trust”. I’ve been burned one too many times.
Power in Washington is more about who you know than your net worth. Therefore, most everyone living here sees the benefit in networking. Network is something that happens over time. Relationships take time to develop. You have to give to get – a one-sided relationship isn’t a good thing for anyone. As much as everyone loves networking and meeting new and interesting people in this town, networking must be done in a proper manner, or you’ll come off as one of the following:
Social Climber – someone who seeks social prominence by brown-nosing, one who has suddenly risen to a higher economic status but has not gained social acceptance of others in that class.
Gold Digger or Trophy Wife – a beautiful woman who is seen as a status symbol who is in a relationship with a wealthy man and isn’t quite accepted by others at his level in society.
Self-Promoter – someone who promotes himself, rather than useful ideas, a worthy cause, or a business, at the expense of others
Friend Thief/Stealer/Digger – someone who meets your friend, and then the two leave you behind.
I wouldn’t call you a “Friend Digger”, because it sounds as if you never left your friend behind. You always invited her along to lunch and other activities. I think those who aren’t as social, and who take more time to make friends feel vulnerable when someone more outgoing and makes friends easily bonds with one of the few close friends they have.
I think you should reconsider ending your friendship with this person. It sounds as if she needs you. She was afraid to lose you and her other friend to your new found friendships. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, which sadly came true. I would urge you to try to turn the other cheek and reach back out to her. As easy as it is for you to make friends, it sounds as if you meant a lot to her and she was acting out of fear of losing you, which she did.
Let me know how things go!