When a friend betrays your trust, it can shake not only the foundation of that relationship, but also your self-worth and confidence. While betrayal may happen due to an honest mistake, an accidental overlook, or an intentional choice to cause harm, the pain is the same.
Whether you ultimately decide to mend the friendship or cut ties, it is imperative that you also tend to the business of healing. Follow the steps below to find restoration for your heart!
1. Evaluate the situation. Consider whether the friend in question made a deliberate choice to hurt you, or if (s)he has simply been preoccupied as of late. Look over your history together to decide if this circumstance warrants further action.
2. Recognize your role in the issue. Did you contribute to the rift? Take responsibility for your own choices.
3. Engage in activities that increase your self-worth. Often when hurt, our self-esteem can nosedive. Remind yourself that you are deserving of love and consideration. Volunteer, set new goals to achieve, and utilize your gifts.
4. Confront the problem. While your first instinct may be to avoid thoughts over the very thing that caused you pain, try instead to address the facts head-on. Find your inner voice and speak up for yourself.
5. Seek help from a counselor. If it seems you deal with a pattern of betrayal in relationships, it may be wise to gain new tools to break that cycle. Speaking to a professional can help you to make productive changes and invest in more gratifying relationships.
Steps to take with others:
1. Have a conversation with the offender. Sometimes it can be beneficial to hash things out and gain another’s perspective. Share your hurt with the friend and allow him/her to share their viewpoint.
2. Get some feedback. Ask a neutral party to take a look at the situation and to assess your response to everything.
3. Don’t allow conflicts to linger. Don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today. Hurt can fester when left unaddressed for a long time. Be direct and respectful when seeking a resolution.
4. Show grace. Offer forgiveness, even if you can’t fully understand your friend’s behavior. It is well worth your peace of mind.
5. Be cautious when moving forward. Continuing to invest in a friendship after serious betrayals should be done slowly and carefully. Allow him/her small opportunities to demonstrate reliability before jumping in with both feet yet again.
6. Move on with dignity. If you conclude that it is wisest to distance yourself from this friend, communicate your decision respectfully. Refrain from gossip and keep your head high.
7. Invest in new friendships. While it can be difficult to trust after a betrayal, challenge yourself to give other people a chance. Remember that while no person is perfect, you are resilient enough to survive disappointment.
Nobody wants to be let down by a friend. However, working through the tangled emotions can restore your self-confidence and your ability to connect with others. Walk with purpose through the pain to repair the damage done to that friendship- or to develop new, rewarding friendships.