A bad ending to a good friendship: Are there second chances?

Published: January 16, 2010 | Last Updated: January 16, 2010 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading



Hi Irene,

I’m so happy to have found your blog and discovered your book. I will definitely be running out and buying a copy!


A very close, cherished friendship that I’ve had for 14 years has just come to a painful end, and I’m heartbroken. I wish there was a way to repair it, but I know it takes two to work on a relationship and my friend really did and said some things that damaged our relationship and my trust in her beyond repair. Still, having said that, I wish things had not unfolded as they did, and I certainly wish I could undo whatever my role in the demise was (although I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and really believe I only played a small role in it coming to an end).


It’s been about two months now. What continues to pain me is the horrible last words exchanged between us. I certainly expressed my anger and hurt to her but I was careful to avoid attacking her character outright or name-calling her, or permanently burning bridges between us. On the other hand, she attacked me personally and said some downright nasty things that were so over-the-top they were obviously designed to wound.


We had been like sisters who loved each other for years-so to end on such hostile, borderline-hateful terms seems wrong and sad. I know we can’t be close friends anymore, but I hate being haunted by the memory of our last conversation, and having that go down as the last one in the history book of our friendship (which had many loving, fun times through the years). I’m wondering if there is a way to temporarily be in touch just to end on better terms. I don’t know if that even makes sense!






Dear Penny,

I’m sorry that you felt so betrayed that you had to end your friendship. Whether the decision was hers, yours, or mutual, this has to be a painful loss and it sound like you are reluctant to let go.


In terms of the harsh words exchanged between you: When people are hurt and upset, they often lash out and say things out of anger that don’t represent their true feelings. I’m not sure you can go back and change what happened, either the events that ended the friendship or the words that were uttered during the blowup. However, it sounds like you want to try and are willing to forgive your friend to some extent.


Since it has been two months since your last encounter, your friend’s anger probably has dissipated and a calmer, less hostile conversation may, indeed, be possible. Let her know that you aren’t happy with the way things ended and that you’d like another chance to discuss the problems you’ve had in a more positive manner. You’ll probably be able to tell by her response whether or not this is possible.


To do this, it may be best to write your friend a note expressing your feelings and desire to get together. This will give her time to reflect on your request and on what happened between you so she isn’t caught off guard. If you want to rekindle your relationship, you can also mention that you are open to that.


Since you were such close friends, I doubt that she is happy with the way your friendship ended either. I hope you can have a meaningful discussion that either allows you to become friends again or to walk away leaving each of you feeling more whole. It won’t be easy but you seem to be motivated.


Hope this is helpful.



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  1. Hi my name is George says:

    Hi my name is George, I have a friendship that has sadly come to an end, I have tried to fix it, they don’t seem to acknowledge my friendship anymore, I feel all alone, I wished we had never fell out 3 months ago, the friendship came back a little bit, but never recovered, They think I,m no good, I feel sad, it makes me cry so much, I don’t know what to do, we’re to go to, who to cry to. I have said sorry to them 100 times. They don’t seem to listen, I feel very isolated from the rest of the world, I wished we could be friends again, they won’t give me a proper chance to become friends, I do feel I have been unfairly treated. I have suffered a lot in my life.


    In my heart I cry so much. I really want that friendship back, without hatered being there. I admit I have seen very sad times in my life. No one has reconciled me has a friend in all those years I lived there, I met some people in 2011, I really like those people, the friendship collopased in June 3rd this year. I love that family a lot, they don’t think I,m any use to them anymore. Is there a way to save that friendship.

  2. Cathy says:

    I had a friend who I had known for more than 10 years. We were more than friends, we were family. I was there for the birth of both her children, my husband and I were their Godparents. We were always there for each other , and spent a lot of time together . Our friendship has ended over something that I’ve apologized for doing several times. We were at a baseball game and my friend rooted for the opposing team by accident, I made a joke about it laughing off as we were both having fun and have always teased each other about similar things. She stopped talking to me for a week then finally contacted me so we could talk it out. She said I embarrassed her in front of others at the game, and even went as far to say that what I did was the worst thing anyone had ever done to her. This completely caught me off guard, I apologized over and over but now we have not spoken for over a month. My heart is broken, and I feel like I’ll never pursue friendship with anyone again.

    [Last name deleted by moderator; to protect yourself against Spam, please do not use last names on this blog. Thanks.]

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi to “trust issues.” Your post resonated with me because I too have had a friend like yours. My friend could not tell the truth if her life depended on it. I don’t believe she was trying to be deceitful and mean. She is just so unable to not have anyone dislike her or disagree with her, she will say or do anything to “be” the person everyone else wants her to be. Her goal seems to be to avoid ever having anyone be mad at her or disapprove. She reflexively is untruthful, for these reasons. But it just got to me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt betrayed and as if I were always been placated. It came to a head over some big things she lied about. Then, she told me some things that indicated she was very heavily deceiving her husband and children. She seemed to be able to deceive them so easily, it kind of scared me of what she was capable of. No, nothing “serious” like a crime. But her ability to be so glib, such a chameleon…it made me very uncomfortable and even somewhat mad. She panicked at seeing me pull away from her, and actually said a bunch of things she thought I wanted to her–she said she was going to get therapy to become a more forthright person, etc. She thanked me for calling her out on her deceitfulness. But it was all a bunch of lies. She ultimately had no interest in changing, didn’t think she had any reason to change. Once she thought I might not be mad at her anymore, she went back to her old, deceitful ways. And I just had to end it. I tried not to be cruel. But I told her I just had a hard time with someone who couldn’t even be slightly sincere and truthful. This made her upset, and we ended the friendship. I feel bad about this and often wish I could reconcile with her. But … I know if I did, every conversation would just be superficial chit chat, and worse than that, it wouldn’t be anything I could trust was honest. I don’t know if dumping your friend is the right answer, but I do want you to know your feelings of betrayal rang a bell with me. I suggest talking to her and telling her how you feel. See what she says. If you can live with her answers, I guess give her another chance. But if you find you cannot, don’t beat yourself up over it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I’ve known my friend for almost 5 years now and she’s my best friend. I really don’t have a lot of friends that are important to me and she is one of them.. The thing is.. she’s lied to me over and over again, making up stories and lies. I want to forgive her… I’d like tu trust her but how can we learn to trust someone again when I doubt every single word she tells me ?

    She is like my sister… but it’s so hard to forgive and go forward wih it. I juste feel betrayed and don’t know what to do, even after a month of reflection about it…. Do you have any advice?

  5. sunshine says:

    Hi Irene
    please keep this confidential.especially my email add. i really need your help its emergency i need answer as soon as possible. i have been friends with this girl for 2 years and i realized that i was the only one working hard towards friendship. i even helped her with her financial difficulties and until today she has not paied me back the money and i didn’t rush. but last december i noticed how she was busy caring for other friends and i felt left out and i realized that she was just taking advantage of me my kindiness and helping her pay her bills. so i just cut her off, i stopped talking to her, answering her phone and text messages. i have done that for 8 months now i tired hard and i kept my chanllenge. but recently when she called i didn’t know it was her calling so i answered and she needed my help, she was stressed and missed me so much how i am the only best friend she ever had. i told her its too late i cant be friends anymore i have made up my mind and its just that you have hurted me so much and i went thru so much beacuse of you. so she was apologyzing and wanted to know what is it that she did beacuse she wants to make up for it. i told her i forgave her long time ago, but i cant i dont need her friendship, beacuse she didn’t know how to treat friends and how is it my fault that she lost a diamond like me while she was busy looking for rocks and stones. so i finally told her i’ll give her one chance, but i cant meet her yet beacuse i dont trust her and she can only call me once a month. another problem with her is that she lies too much and i dont know why beacuse everytime she lies to me i find out somehow its not true, i sense it sometimes. so what do i talk to her when she calls me>:???? is there any rules i should follow????? what should i tell her????? how should i trust her agian??????? what should i do to make her be honest to me at least for this last chance???????????/ how can she work hard to make up??????????? what about the money she borrowed form me>>>>/??????? how should i ask her about giving it back??????? what can i do that will prove her friendship is pure and she is worthy of my friendship???????????? is there a rule which will tell me if she is a true friend to me or still taking advantage of me???????????? i really want her to be honest to me just be a friend being her self without covering and hiding.

    Thanks so much

    i cant wait, its really bothering me

    thanks a million

  6. Anonymous says:

    Matilda, it’s so true that friendship takes two. I recently was dumped by a very close friend, who felt too stressed by our friendship. She was distancing for a few months until I asked her about it. She said that we’re too different and she doesn’t want to be good friends anymore. I wish I could just accept that, but the truth is that it’s damn hard! I’ve had casual friends drift apart and that’s fine, but to have such a close friend, who’s shared everything with me and me with her, end our friendship is devastating. Truly. It’s been two months and I’m still very much in the grieving stage. Perhaps even in denial as I’m trying to maintain or get back what we had by being friendly towards her and, every now and then, offering to hang out or chat with her. Most friendly overtures have been refused. I must be a glutton for punishment because I keep on trying. I guess I don’t want to give up on what we had. I don’t want to give up on her. I know she’s going through a tough personal time and I want to support her but I can only do that if she accepts. All of this is emotionally draining and deflating. Thanks for listening.

  7. Matilda says:

    Hi Penny,

    In that case, I must say that friendship is really the weakest part of you, like you seem to be unwilling to let go of the friendship you have built for years. Indeed, it’s not the cherished memories which make us feel sad but the fact that they will never happen again, is much worse to think about. Everything, I guess deserves a second chance. But working on it alone is just useless, it really takes two to fix it.

    I wish you can find time to discuss and fix it with your friend.

    Best regards,


  8. Kristin Caproni says:

    Hi Penny,

    I hope you folllow Irene’s advice. Even husbands and wives say terrible things to each other. The closer a relationship the more love but sometimes the more conflict too, because we push each other’s buttons. M. Scott Peck, a great psychiatrist says friction is what helps people grow.You know your friend didnt mean it, and really, should this situation cancel out all of the good of the friendship? Good friends are hard to find. Talking things thru and ending or continuing with a good ending is a good idea.

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