• Keeping Friends

Betrayed by a friend

Published: May 16, 2015 | By | 19 Replies Continue Reading
A woman feels betrayed by a friend who seized an opportunity before she did. Is that wrong? It depends.


Hi Irene,

Thanks for all the great advice you share on this site, and for the opportunity to ask my question.

Over the past few years my family has grown very close to a neighboring family. Our children are close in age, and we have many common interests. We became so close that when their son was born two years ago, they asked me to stay at their house with their young daughters while they went to the hospital. My husband, who doesn’t have many friends, considers the husband in this family to be one of his best friends, and the kids all get along well.

Recently we told them that we were thinking of moving to a different neighborhood. We laid out our timelines and mentioned that we had found a terrific realtor to work with to sell our house and buy a new one. They replied that they too were thinking of moving, too, but in a few months’ time.

Within a week, they had hired our realtor, bought a house we had our eye on in the new neighbourhood, and listed their house down the street from ours.

I feel shocked and betrayed that they did not tell us about their plans first, but I realize they are likely just clueless about how their actions might make us feel. It’s not the first time the woman has been inconsiderate or has let me down, but because my husband and the man are such good friends, I’ve taken it in stride. Now however I think they all expect we will be the best of friends in the new neighborhood (assuming we can find a place to buy there), and that there is nothing wrong with what they did.

Do I let her know that my feelings were hurt and that I wish they would have just been honest with us, as we were with them? Or do I just distance myself from her (hard to do, as my husband likes being with the man so much)? Quite frankly, I have several other very good friends and don’t need the hassle that this friendship comes with. But when I see how pained my husband is about the whole thing – he is disappointed in them too, but unwilling to risk his friendship over it – I feel like I should just silence my feelings and move on.

I’m not sure if this is something others can relate to, but if you feel it warrants a reply, your advice is much appreciated!

Signed, Marcia


Hi Marcia,

Your letter really resonated with me personally because I remember many years ago, my best friend (and then next-door neighbor) and I often talked about having children at the same time. When she told me she was pregnant (and I wasn’t), I initially felt a sense of betrayal (until I thought about it for a few minutes). Of course, that made no sense because you can’t time your pregnancies but I felt hurt because it dashed the fantasy of us raising our babies together.

So I can well understand how betrayed you must have felt, when your friend essentially “beat you to the punch” over something which she had far more control. In this case, there were also adverse economic consequences in addition to hurt feelings. Putting her house up for sale may make it more difficult to sell yours and her purchasing a house you “had an eye on” removes it from inventory.

Did you tell her that you had your eye on that home? Could your realtor have been at fault in not letting you know your friend was looking at the house you eyed?

Apart from this particular situation, could it be that your friend admires you and withholds information because she is somewhat competitive?

Only you can decide whether there was malicious intent in your friend’s actions (this time and in the past) and whether the hurt and sense of betrayal is great enough to topple a friendship not only between you but also ones between your husband and children. My sense is that this transgression may have confirmed doubts you had about your friend in the past. Could that be?

Should you talk to your friend about this? Only if you want to remain close and think it would change her behavior in the future.

Should your husband remain friends with the guy? That’s probably his decision, not yours.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (19)

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  1. Mary says:

    Just going through some old threads to delete and thinking about poor Marcia – the hurt to disappointment. You poor darling- being all excited about finding this great place- and sharing it with someone you thought was your friend.
    I cant even begin to imagine how you must have felt when you found out what shed done.
    Shes not a friend at all and if your hubby still supports that family than hes a traitor too or a extremely weak waste of space. He knows how much that upset you and who wouldnt be shocked.

    Have you thought anymore about moving right out of the area – and maybe you should even look for a man who will give you the loyalty and support you deserve while your at it.

    As they say where is the love?

  2. Rosamund Forbes says:

    Marcia’s story is very sad i think to be betrayed in such a way by someone who she thought was a friend. Personally although a difficult situation i myself would find the courage to move on from this dilemma. I do understand that the husband’s are friends which makes the situation harder still. I think i would let the friend know of my feelings but it seems to me the friend has been letting Marcia down before. I had a similar situation but i was the person who moved i moved from Surrey to Dorset 18 months ago. I had a friend and next door neighbour who i knew for 20 years. My husband sadly has a nervous problem anxiety and social phobia. This friend used to help us out take us to places when it was needed. When i told her i was moving she wished us good luck and i kept in touch on the phone i rang once a week. I rang her recently and i got a rather curt conversation saying she had moved on and had new friends now in her area of Surrey. I was rather upset with her conversation and made some excuse to get off the phone. Last week a letter arrived from her saying she was not going to contact me anymore and iw as not to contact her the excuse was that i had ignored her since i moved and never visited her since. She knows our situation i can’t just get up and leave my partner alone all day as he can’t travel that much. My partner said don’t bother again let it go and i think he is right. If some people can be so petty and not understand another person’s dilemma they aren’t true friends i don’t think.

    • lottie says:

      How can people be so fickle? I really feel for you. To think how someone would write such a nasty note.Lottie

  3. Mary says:

    I am the first person to lose it, when people straight away suggest that being depressed calls for medication. When sad things happen- people get sad.

    However, i was surprised by Irene s response her honesty, and the time and energy she put into it.

    Clearly she is busy lady, and btw having no friends is often because of that and no other reason. Not that you would probably know anymore about her than me.

    Working long hours, no matter what your doing – especially counseling can leave little time for friends.

    I think Irene would make a good friend – but as i said i dont agree with all this medical health medication.

    Sometimes folk just need a friend.
    Does far more good than all the pills in this world.
    In regards to the situation at hand – your friend did go behind your back.

    I am sure you will end up finding something even better – a better house in a better area with a better neighborhood .

    Your husband sounds weak- sorry. Tell him to man up- she crossed your family

  4. Maddie says:

    When you have major personal life-changing plans in life, don’t be so eager to spill out all the specific details. It may sound harsh, but those are words to live by.

    It is our own mouths,that tend to get us into trouble.

    You do not have the corner on realtors, listing homes, or homes on the market, so why advertise your specific intentions?

    You told your friend your plans, they sounded good to her, and she had already been thinking along the same lines. Discretion is a good thing. Don’t blame her.

  5. bronwyn says:

    There’s some real viciousness in the responses — an alarming amount.

    I think Marcia thought she was sharing information with a friend. And a friend doesn’t do what this neighbor did. And when you share information with someone who is a friend you do not expect it to be used against you.

    Amy, I thought your response was reasonable because it says you would try to be fair in the situation. This so-called friend wasn’t.

    Lottie, you called Alicia mean-spirited, but look at the way you talked to Marcia. While one may not share information with everyone, I think most of us have a friend or two we think it’s safe to confide personal matters to. I wouldn’t expect someone whose children I had cared for to be running out to stab me in the back at her first opportunity.

    I think I’d tell my husband I didn’t want him to lose a friend, but that I was stepping back from this so-called friendship and that you’d leave it up to him to work out the details with his friend. But I would make it very clear that I didn’t want any personal matters discussed with him or his wife. It might be difficult, but I think that’s the best you could do given the circumstances.

    I agree it was inappropriate to address Irene the way Alicia did.

    It sounds like Laura summed things up pretty well.

  6. Lottie says:

    Whoops that was mean spirited. Are you having a bad day Alicia?

    Regarding Marcias problem.
    Why does your neighbour have to tell you her business first? She has done tricks on you before so I blame you for discussing private affairs with her. I can see you were probably being friendly but in the excitement your tongue got carried away.On the other hand your told her about a fantastic realtor,what would have happened if she used a different one,be offended because she used somebody else! I bet you would have been.Yes I agree I also would be peeved but you are to blame. In future keep your own counsel regarding your families private affairs especially with money and property.
    Finally I see no reason to not still be friends with your good neighbours who you get along with.She beat you to it because of your mouth. You could turn it round and say how pleased you are that they took your advice by using who they did,send them a moving in card and flowers and stop being sulking.
    I do not agree that the realtor should have maybe told you about their business or them yours.Business is private and tittle tattling from the realtor is wrong.
    In the grand scheme of things it is not worth falling out.I wish you well. Lottie

  7. Dionne says:

    I think some women just see other women as competition. They can’t be trusted because instead of being someone to turn to, they use what they find out to try to “win,” whether with sneaky copycatting, one-upmanship, catty gossip, or actually swooping in to take something away from you. Since you say this is not the first problem with her, I think what you have here is a frenemy. Maybe if you arrange things to do with other families, your husband and kids will transfer over to higher quality friends.

    • Laura says:

      I completely agree with everything Dionne said. This woman is a one upper and a frenemy. She stole the house her friend wanted after stealing her realtor and getting her own house on the market first. She sucks bigtime and can’t be trusted. I would be done with her. Let the hubby make his own friends. I would not want these people in my business! These are the kind of things that go down in suburbia among competitive women with too much time on their hands.

  8. Amy F says:

    I don’t think the friend did anything wrong. Sure, she could have disclosed her plans if they preceded the LW’s plans. I would not assume malicious intent, even if the friend decided after LW told her. Maybe LW’s disclosure triggered something the friend had been thinking about. All houses on the market are fair game, until purchased. I wouldn’t personally bid on a house my friend had bid on, but if she hadn’t bid yet, I’d tell her I loved the house too, and if she wasn’t bidding by the end of the day, I would since it’s such a great house and one of us should get it before someone else grabs it.

  9. BBfriend says:

    I think Irene’s questions are well put and lets Marcia come to her own conclusion, which is all that we can do. Irene can not tell us what to do, but rather help to point us in the right direction.

    Marcia, I totally understand your feelings. It is a very strange feeling to have people behave in an underhanded way. To go so far as to hire the same realtor, and buy the house you were looking at…it all seems so bazaar.
    I once had a friend who was getting married on the same day as me. She asked if I had a florist, so I told her. Before I knew it she went to the florist and asked to see all my wedding planning details. The florist called my planner to tell her that she had shown them. She ordered the exact same flowers in the same arrangements, in similar colours. It was weird and upset me. But my mother reminded me that imitation is a form of flattery. But I never hung out with her again.

    I recently let go of two other friends who behave in much the same way. It didn’t end well, so i don’t recommend the confrontation. You will need to work on getting to a place in your mind where you no longer need this person in your life and chalk it all up to her weirdness, not yours. I like to remind myself often that “it is not my circus”. You can’t do anything about her behaviour, but you can protect yourself from her in the future.
    It is likely that, in her mind, she is not being malicious, and trying to undermine you. It is more likely that you gave her a really great idea, she got over excited in her mind, and jumped on it. It could be competitive. It was certainly selfish and thoughtless. So that means she will be selfish and thoughtless in the future. Do you really want to move into that neighbourhood near these people? Is there another neighbourhood that would be great to move to??

    If you have to socialize with her, make sure it is not one on one, that you have other relationships that are important to you around, and that you have little time to really sit and chat with her. That is what I would do.

  10. alicia says:

    Irene, you gave this woman absolutely NO advice, except a series of questions. No wonder you yourself don’t have any friends.

    • Amy F says:

      Alicia, I think your comment is entirely inappropriate. It says far more about you and the type of person you are than Irene.

    • Lauren says:

      The questions that Irene posed are good for the original poster as this will open the OP’s eyes to other views of this situation. One of my sister-in-laws is a doctor of psychology (PhD), and she has said that she asks her patients pointed or eye opening questions as this opens other avenues of analysis for the clients. Thus helping them to see things from a different or from many different venues.

      Also, from what I understand and read about in this blog, Irene has many friends, colleagues and acquaintances in her life. Irene wisely applies her high level of education and credentials along with her wisdom to help many, many people.

    • Laura says:

      Irene generously dispenses free expert advise on this site, and she gave the OP the tools she needs to work through this situatiion.

      Irene has legions of friends that love her, not that she needs any depending from either a troll or a 13 year old!

    • Susan says:

      Wow, that was quite bitter and acidic. Sounds like you’re projecting a little here, Alicia. Maybe you’re one of those types who expect easy answers and like to be told what to do, instead of thinking things through, asking yourself questions, and doing the hard work yourself. Maybe it’s time to take a good look in the mirror before you lash out at Irine. Irine actively helps people, what do you do? Spew angry and inappropriate commentary from the anonymity of your computer? Get help.

    • Jack says:

      Questions need to be asked and the situation properly assessed before responsible advice can be given, Alecia. Irene gave Marcia food for thought as well as a sympathetic ear.. the sign of a true friend. I, myself, would rather be given a series of points to think about rather than have half-baked advice thrown around like chicken feed. But hey, that’s just one fellow’s opinion.

      • lottie says:

        Yes Jack,
        We have given our advice ,which doesn’t mean it has to be taken.Sometimes a simple idea or suggestion can bring a whole new meaning to a situation.

        I stand by everything else I have said.All thoughts and ideas do not have to be discussed with friends. The housing market is fickle and fragile with everybody out for themselves.It is a cut throat multi $$$$$$££££££ business where people will guzump who gets in the way,with sneaky deals being made.I speak from experience.
        A similar thing on a much less ££££$$$$ scale happened to me where I mentioned a new car I had seen in a show room,where my “mouth” told a friend I was going to buy it. Within hours they went and bought it. I was gutted. My fault.It could never happen again I learnt my lesson.
        Alecia was disrespectful to Irene,and might want to apologise,for her rudeness.What inside information has she got regarding Irene having no friends????
        I stand by what I said,and certainly not worth falling out over. Just zip the mouth with private info.Learn from a mistake.It is like an epidemic where everything these days gets discussed. Take care. Lottie

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