• Resolving Problems

Introduced Two Friends…And Now I’m Left In The Dust

Published: October 17, 2012 | Last Updated: October 23, 2021 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
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When you introduced two friends, you inadvertently increased the risk of friend poaching. The dynamic is more common than you might think and there’s not much to do about it.

QUESTION

Hi,

About two years ago I became friends with a woman I met at a class. We immediately hit it off and became fast friends. It seemed like we had lots in common, including our interest in photography. I was very excited to have a friend with whom to share something I love.

After about a year of knowing each other, I met another woman, also into photography. It was my idea for the three of us to get together and chat. I introduced the two friends and we all got along great. Then we went on a weekend trip together and something changed. The other two ladies seemed to hit it off really well, making me feel like a third wheel. They were both having issues with their husbands so I thought maybe they bonded over that.

After the trip, I knew things would be different between us. Within a few months, they were both headed for divorce and I was planning my wedding. They started to hang out together and never invited me. I rationalized it by saying they were probably supporting each other through their divorces. Plus, I was busy planning my wedding and super busy with work. (Neither one of them worked.)

The few times I did see them at a function, they tended to talk between themselves and pretty much ignored me. If I wanted to talk to them, I always had to initiate the conversation. They even ignored me at my own bridal shower. I was really upset when they didn’t come to my bachelorette party and gave no explanation. At my wedding, they made no big attempt to talk to me.

Ever since they became close, the woman I was initially friends with started keeping things from me. We used to share and talk about our photography, but after I introduced two friends, she started going out doing photo shoots, and not inviting me or sharing information when I asked. She became very secretive and actually told me there were things she’d “rather not say.”

One of my good friends says she was just using me. And that now that she’s met someone she’s really close with she basically doesn’t care about me anymore. I thought about confronting her but decided against it. I thought maybe our friendship could just be downgraded. She calls me from time to time, we chat, but haven’t seen each other in months. I know she goes out with the other woman all the time – she’s always posting photos of them on Facebook.

I know this all seems childish and I’m trying just to get over it, but I’m having a hard time moving on. I’m just disappointed that a seemingly good friendship turned out to be not so special. I’d appreciate any advice you could give.

Thanks, Brittany

ANSWER

Hi Brittany,

This is a classic case of friend poaching: You introduced two friends—and the two of them hit it off and left you in the proverbial dust. When that happens, it’s always disappointing and it’s understandable to feel hurt.

Try not to take this too personally. I think it has more to do with the two of them than it does with you. Unless your friend is a serial poacher (and you’ve given no indication that’s the case), it wasn’t something she did to hurt you.

You’re wise to acknowledge that sharing the trauma of a divorce can be a stronger bond than a shared love of photography. It doesn’t mean that your friend’s relationship with you was insincere but it sounds like her life was in flux and you threw her a life preserver.

While I don’t condone her behavior at your shower or your wedding, give these women credit for being there and try to understand that it may have been harder for them to participate in the joyous festivities than it would be if their life circumstances were similar to yours.

While understanding won’t make you feel any better about what happened, keep in mind that some perfectly good friendships don’t last forever and there’s little we can do about it. There’s not much you can do but back off as you have and, if this relationship is important to you leave the door open. You may be able to have a more casual, less intense, relationship with your once-close friend; being friends with both of them as a threesome may be hard to stomach.

P.S. Don’t torture yourself by following them on Facebook. Use the time to sign up for a Meetup group or to join an online photography group instead.

Hope this helps. With time and new friendships, you’ll feel much better.

My best, Irene


Read these prior posts on The Friendship Blog about friend poaching:

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Category: Disappointing friends

Comments (8)

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  1. Susan61 says:

    Yup, it’s all too common. I knew two women friends separately for many, many years. They met about 3 years ago, through me. One of the women, a “queen bee” is aggressively social and it never really bothered me nor did I realize she was a classic case until her social tentacles started grabbing at long-term friends of mine and through the process she began actively excluding me. She is also an active and gleeful gossip (very few people escape without some kind of verbal putdown) so I knew for a fact she was trashing me to my friend while buttering her up. I was hurt and disappointed for a while but having experienced this before, I know it happens periodically through life and as Irene said, there’s not much you can do about it. The other friend moved away for a while and I breathed a sigh of relief as we were all still in touch with each other, but when she returned the queen would zoom in and barely give me a minute to reestablish a connection with this friend.

    Thus, I stepped back from both of them. It was strange and unsettling to witness and sent me on a path of questioning and discovery about myself. I also began to research how females behave in groups, as well as the all too common “queen bee” phenomenon. My research confirmed what I experienced, that social exclusion is somewhat inevitable when groups of women gather together, especially in groups of three. Being a bit of a “friendly loner”, I tend to slink off and do my own thing rather than aggressively pursue people and try to divide them like this queen does.

    Flash forward to today, my friend returned to the area and the queen aggressively moves in. Sigh, it is what it is and I just don’t the energy to compete. I pretty much no longer contact the queen, I’m sure she has trashed me mercilessly (last time I saw her she trashed me to my face) and we used to be friends but when I look back, it was mostly filled with gossip about other people. This is how she relates to people and it is what makes her tick, makes her feel powerful somehow.

    My motto with friendship is live and let live but there are women who do not live by this. Sometimes you just have to let go when your mental health is challenged and simply accept that things have changed. When I see the queen I remain open and friendly but she continues to try to assert her dominance. That’s her problem.

  2. Tanya says:

    That heading “Introduced Two Friends, Now I’m Left in the Dust.” I’ve had this happen at the grade school level, college level, and now as a Mom. I think I’m that “hub friend” that introduces females to one another and then those females hit it off. Problem is, I’m left in the dust…the third wheel. It is incredibly difficult to not take it personally. It hurts and it digs up those feelings I had as a grade schooler losing her friends. As Irene says, perhaps certain bonds trump others. (paraphrasing) I am an introvert; so it takes me a long time to muster up the vulnerability to even make a friend. Then when I feel “they’ve abandoned me”, it makes me more hesitant to try and make new friends. In the end, I end up lonely and bitter about the whole thing. Thank you for your post. It makes me feel a little better that I am not alone!

    • Natalie says:

      Hiya Tanya,
      No you’re not alone! It’s the story of my life! I think we are doing something wrong, perhaps we are too trusting and make it easy for others to do it. My best friend poached all of my friends but never introduced me to any of her friends. That’s because she was always careful and never invited me when seeing her friends but I was the opposite and always invited her whenever I was doing something so I guess it’s my own fault, I will be more careful in the future!

  3. Agirlwhoisinsecure says:

    Hello, I like the advice you gave but I’m not sure how it applies to my current situation – I’m a young teen and I’ve found myself in the third wheel position twice in 1 year by different people. I’m best friends with these two amazing people but when we are together I feel like I’m the third wheel, if there is on seat left on the bench my 1st friend would tell my 2nd friend to sit. I’ve been besties with my 1st friend for 3years and at my school there had recently taken in a ton of new students in my year and my 1st friend is now really close with another friend and they have so much in common it’s not funny and I’m just sitting there, I’m always there for her when she needs me but she’s never there when I need her. I feel like a old toy and she has just found a new shinier toy. Basically I feel like the third wheel and I’m not sure what to do because. Both my friends are amazing and we are really close and I don’t want to ruin our friendship but I don’t want to be the third wheel all the time.

    • jacqueline says:

      Sometimes three is just a crowd, as the saying goes. Sometimes, as Irene stated, friendships just don’t last or go the way we want them to. People change over time. You said that you have always been there for friend #1, but she has never been there for you. So, maybe your friendship wasn’t as amazing as you thought. Have you tried talking to her, and expressing to her how you feel?

  4. Mitsy says:

    I appreciate this letter because this has happened to me a couple times (different circumstances). It happened once in college & then years later in a work situation. In both cases, I ended up not being friends with these women afterwards. The one former co-worker & I are now better friends & see each other a couple times a year (for our birthdays) but that’s it. Sometimes situations happen where there is not much you can do but move on & try to make new friends. I’ve had to do that several times in my life & even though I felt like I had done nothing wrong, I felt left in the dust as well. One thing I did learn in friendships is that you can’t have a close three-way friendship. It usually never works because trying to share time & emotional conversations with 2 who are also good friends backfires. I try to keep some friendships separate for that reason. It’s not so much worrying about “friend-poaching” as it is making things simpler for myself & not setting up a potential scenario to be let down later.

  5. Anonymous says:

    …that it’s not personal. While i cant blame Brittany for feling upset, I think it’s important for her to realize the circumstances. Perhaps the life differences are just too dissimilar right now to offer the kind of friendship she wishes for.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good advice, Irene. I think the poster’s upcoming wedding and wedding plans may have hit more of a nerve with the two friends than the poster may have realized. The two friends could bond over the life change they were both going through. It’s easier sometimes to be around people where you can just “be” and sort of share dark humor over things like showers and weddings when you aren’t in the same place in your own life. I don’t think it really has anything personal to do with the poster.

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