Hi Dr. Levine,
I just had an argument with my best friend of about a year and a half. We go to law school together and are usually inseparable. She recently got out of a relationship that ended badly and, as a result, she’s taken a zero-tolerance approach to dealing with people.
I recently started seeing someone who is a mutual friend. My new boyfriend and she don’t see eye to eye so if my boyfriend would call, I wouldn’t call her to join us—to avoid a conflict.
For the last three days, she hasn’t called or texted me which I find odd since we speak every day. She said I ditch her for guys and that she’s tired of dealing with me and feels our friendship is dead. When I started dating my last boyfriend, she says I would make plans without her as well. She said she’s felt that way for a while and has just kept quiet about it. She is livid.
I tried to explain but she says I only make excuses. By the end of our conversation, she said she will see how things go for now, but she is unsure that I am capable of repairing my mistakes.
What can I do to show her that I never meant to ditch her or offend her in any way and I value our friendship? I always tell her I love her as if she was my sister and I’m very upset that she feels this way. Please help!
Even though you are best friends, while it would be nice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your boyfriend has to get along with your friend (or vice versa). You also shouldn’t have to sacrifice one relationship at the expense of the other.
You don’t say what explanation you gave her, but if you have broken appointments with her (particularly at the last minute) to see your boyfriend or failed to support her when she needed you, she would be justified in feeling disappointed and hurt. Or maybe you should have been more explicit in explaining why you didn’t invite her to join you.
Alternatively, you may have done everything right but since your girlfriend is still reeling from her recent breakup, she may be more edgy than usual and be prone to blow small slights out of proportion.
In either case, here are my suggestions:
- Apologize for any hurt you may have caused her.
- Let her know how important your friendship is to you that you want to support her during this difficult time.
- Tell her it’s okay that she and your boyfriend don’t get along and that one relationship isn’t exclusive of the other.
- Explain that there will be times when you will be spending time with your boyfriend, but that you will make time for her as well. Have a candid discussion about ways you can incorporate each other into your lives comfortably.
If you have already done all of this, you may need to wait a little bit longer until she can hear your. Perhaps, writing your sentiments in a nice card would help.