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Is It Disloyal To Talk To A Friend’s Enemy?

Published: August 1, 2021 | Last Updated: August 1, 2021 By | 28 Replies Continue Reading
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Is it disloyal to talk to a friend’s enemy? Where do you draw the line between being a loyal or disloyal friend?


Hi Irene,

I pride myself on being a loyal, good friend. However, I don’t know how to handle myself in the company of people that my close friends consider their “enemies.”

In some social situations, I have felt awkward with people who I know have offended or no longer speak to a particularly close friend of mine. Often these so-called “enemies” of my friends are people that I know and like, and whom I have no problem with.

Yet, if my friend sees me talking to one of these people at a party or hears I have been with that person in a group situation, I can tell they feel hurt and betrayed by me. I have at least eight to ten people I consider my close friends so where should I draw the line?

Everyone has a little drama with someone, and if I avoided all of my friends’ enemies, I would be walking on eggshells wherever I went! These enemies include ex-husbands and boyfriends. Is it disloyal to say hello to them?

I recently said hello to the daughter of a close friend’s ex-boyfriend at a wedding. I said hello to the girl in passing. Since I really had nothing to say to her, I asked how her father was and told her to send him my regards! The next day, when I told my friend that I saw the girl and what I said, she stopped speaking to me! I thought it was harmless party talk but she said I betrayed her. I probably should not have repeated it to my friend but it was innocent and I was shocked at her reaction. Even after I apologized, she won’t speak to me.

Another friend’s son was accused of bullying someone at school and a large group of moms has ignored and avoided my close friend because of the incident involving her son. An old friend of mine is the aunt of the victim and we are still in touch, my close friend gets upset whenever I see her or speak to her. The list goes on and on. Where do you draw the line of being disloyal to a friend’s enemy? Do we fight our friend’s battles?

Signed,  Allie


Hi Allie,

Each of the situations you described sounds pretty innocent to me. There is no blanket answer to your question. Rather, what constitutes loyalty and appropriate behavior depends on a number of factors:

1) Why your friend sees the person as an enemy

If something extreme or very heinous was done to your friend, you could understand how he/she might feel hurt to think you would befriend the “enemy.” For example, if the other person threatened your friend, he/she might feel like you should have nothing to do with that person.

2) When the rift occurred:

If your friend just got divorced from her husband, you could predict that it might still be raw and hurtful to think you were maintaining a close relationship with her ex.

3) The context of the meeting:

Having a date or private tete-a-tete with an “enemy” is very different than innocently bumping into that person in a social situation—for example, at a party or wedding.

4) The nature of the interaction:

If you discuss your friend’s personal business with the enemy, it’s natural this would be seen as disloyal.

I guess the guiding principle would be that although someone is your friend’s enemy, that individual doesn’t have to be your enemy.

It’s not disloyal to remain a friend or acquaintance of the “enemy,” per se unless it’s insensitive because of one or more other factors like those described above.

It is surprising that you run into this problem so often. Perhaps your friends are very sensitive or they are misreading your intent. If the latter is the case, and you are close friends, you should explain that your relationship with the “enemy” doesn’t negate the close bond you share with your friend.

Hope this helps.

My best,  Irene

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Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Long story short, a year ago a girl butted in my relationship I had with an emotionally abusive overt narcissist because she wanted him. I had enough of him so I did her a solid & said u can have him. I went thru the smear campaign, lost mutual friends, had to hear about things this same girl would say about me. 2 months later I jumped into another fling. They say you have a 90% chance of going from one narc to the another. This new guy I suspected was a covert narc. He knew the whole story involving her. Welp, fast fwd a year & I caught the new guy sending THIS SAME GIRL emojis in a chatroom. And a week before that a friend of 14 years also sent her a virtual gift. So I’ve had to cut off 3 relationships because of this SAME girl! It’s crazy how ‘weak as water’ & disloyal some men are for a little bit of attention. Meanwhile, this same girl is with a totally different guy. I can choose to be hurt or I can choose to look at this girl like some sort of angel. She is literally plucking all of the disloyal narcissistic males out of my life. So I choose to be grateful. She’s 43 & still lives at home with mom, sits in bed & drinks all day neglecting her children to chat so I hope that package was worth losing me over. I’ll get past it.

  2. Julia B says:

    I can relate to this post. My “enemy” is actually a relative (an in-law on my husband’s side) who lives in my neighborhood, where she grew up. She’s a very competitive, manipulative woman and she’s had it out for me since Day One. I don’t know what I ever did to upset her, but she’s clearly not happy with me.  

    Unfortunately, this “enemy” is very involved in the social groups that I belong to in the neighborhood, such as book club. There are several other mutual friends in this group — friends I’ve enjoyed on a casual basis for a few years. Many times, however, my “enemy” made cruel remarks to me in front of these other women or gave me the cold shoulder when I tried to rise above this. 

    I know that some of other women in the group are close friends with my enemy, and they overlook the fact that she can be blunt and rude at times. I don’t expect any of them to “take sides” and I never expect them to stop being friends with a relative I don’t get along with.

    That said, for my own peace of mind, I ended up spending less time with this particular neighborhood group. It simply became more stressful than fun, even though I liked the other women. The pandemic lockdown made it easier for me to back off naturally without making weird excuses.

    I have remained friendly with some of the other women, and occasionally get together with them on my own now. But I am cautious. I don’t talk about “my enemy” when I socialize with these mutual friends, and I avoid getting too close with them. This seems to work, and keeps me out of their gossip mill as much as possible. (These women love to talk about each other, and always have their noses in other people’s business. It’s very “small town.”)

    Luckily, I have other close friends outside this group and in my work, so I devote most of my free time deepening my friendships with them instead. That way, I only have to put up with my “enemy” at large family events, where it’s easier for me to keep my distance and avoid getting stung.

  3. Gwendolyn says:

    It has been my experience that some people have targeted particular people to be covertly mean to, these are tactics of covert narcissists. It might be good to find out from your friend if the one who has an enemy has been targeted for mean actions behind everyone’s back. I have experienced this myself, in which someone does and says mean things, even telling untrue things about me but hides it from those they want to impress. Pretending they are innocent of any wrong doing, they work to hurt their target. When I see someone I love becoming close to these covert narcissists I become very uncomfortable and distance myself from my friend, because the covert narcissist attempts to make me look bad and frustrate me, knowing if I told my story others would not believe it and they would be able to ruin another of my relationships. Just a thought.

    [Last name removed by moderator. To protect yourself from spammers, please do not use last names or provide other identifying information on this blog. Thanks!]

  4. Norah says:

    I have a ‘friend’ who has ditched me years back but said sorry and stuff but 2 years later someone made this crap about me gossiping about my ‘friend’ and she got pissed and refered me to ‘bitch’. ‘Nigga’. Or ‘lil piece of shit’. She also said I was really salty or jealous that I got less expensive presents from my other friends. But all of the friends in our group are loyal to my ‘friend’. I think the only reason my other friends want to be friends with her is because she is more ‘pretty’ or to get presents as she buys lots of gifts for them. What should I do?

    [Last name removed by moderator. To protect yourself from spammers, please do not use last names or provide other identifying information on this blog. Thanks!]

  5. Brooklyn says:

    Hi, I’d like some advice ASAP! Thank you!

    I have a bunch of really good friends ( 20 or 25 I think). But recently, my BFF is talking about how bad one of my friends and her friends are treating her. I don’t know how my friends that she is talking about could possibly be rude. They are very nice to me, and I never see them being mean to others. My friend said that they’re bullying and harassing her and her other friends. Sometimes, I can hear the girls that my friend talks about, talking about how they’re going to publicly humiliate my friend and her friends and that they won’t see what’s coming.I told my friend to warn her, and she told one of her friends that’s dating one of the girls that my friend doesn’t like. I don’t know how the information that I told her leaked, but somehow, those girls know that I told her and are starting to avoid me. I’m sort of upset about someone telling them, because they are really good friends to me and I don’t want to lose them, but at the same time, I don’t want my friend to think I’m a traitor and break up with me if she sees me hanging out with them. I’m torn, please help.

    • bj says:

      you know we dont want to be involved in everyones drama and yet we want to assure our friend we care about them. just because your not having a problem with these people, maybe you might just be a people pleaser. as long as you agree with everything they say then they like you. are you afraid of having less friends, because if you are your not secure enough. better to have a few good ones than many who you just are superficial with. your friend may be onto something. and maybe just a little less of a people pleasure or codependent.maybe she is a person who is honest and doesnt hide how she feels, and reveals the truth. sometimes we may ignore the truth, only wanting to think the best of everyone, instead of being strong enough to see the lies. i would really think why these so call friends are putting her down. dont be so quick to believe what these girls have to say, sounds like they could be bullies. if you want to find out the truth let it pan out and perhaps keep your nose out of it and wait and see.
      remember good friends will respect your opinion and they may just be good friends because you just follow the crowd.
      friends come and go but a true friend is with you through the good times and hard times. they have to be tested. if your the one that is always helping them and giving and when you ask for help and they dont then you better think

  6. Vinnie says:

    I use to have some good old friends, but I have a close friend A of mine who want me not to talk to B… my old other friend because A & B they r now enemies/rivals…. I cannot loose my close friend A at any cost…. She is crying, hurt because I called B for lunch….A Saying stop relation with B… I at any cost can’t live without A…. Suggest what to do….

    • Brandy says:

      Your answer is simple. If you can’t live without A then let B go. You can not have both. Put yourself in A shoes how would you feel if it were you.

  7. Laura says:

    I have a friend, who I consider my best friend. And we hang out and get together with a few other friends and some people we knew in high school, from time to time. Well recently this girl(enemy) that has only ever caused drama in my life has come up again. She went to a party we attended, and was again mean and rude to me. So later that night I was telling my best friend how I felt and we both agreed that it would be best to stay away from that girl. And she had my back (so I thought). Well now a few weeks later I am seeing my best friend liking my enemies Facebook pictures and commenting little friendly cute things on all her posts. And let me get this clear she knows how I feel about this girl. I KNOW it sounds so juvenile, but do you think my friend is stabbing me in the back or disrespecting me? Or am I being too sensitive? Also what should I do? Does my friend have bad intentions ?

  8. Just Sayin says:

    Here is how I see it. If you confide in a friend that your “frienemy” has treated you with disrespect, threatened you, degraded you or anything of the like which caused you distress…and your “friend” still decides to hang out with, talk to, act like it is ok with her?…..then dump that friend.


    It is a matter of respect, concern for your well being and trust in my view.
    Any of those things get shattered? You can try to piece it together but all the time and strong glue won’t ever make it the same. You will also look at it askew.

    Trust your gut. Trust your instincts. Love and be kind to yourself. Don’t wallow in the enemies opinions of you. Those who matter will stand by your side through thick and thin.

  9. brenda says:

    besst friends are like the best om gso my bff is the best

  10. Val says:

    I have a situation like this. I am divorced and my ex started dating a friend of mine. This friend has a daughter my daughters age. They were on the same sports teams which included travel. As you could imagine, it was a rough go for me. Now fast forward and the woman has shown her true colors to a few of us creating drama for my daughter and some other friends. She and my ex just broke up after a rocky road. Well I got her into my women’s group before all this happened–it is a small group of women. I was making the best of it, even though it was so uncomfortable, until the drama happened. Many of the women in my group were worried, as other things were preventing me from going a few times, that I was staying away due to the situation. I said I wasn’t, been then when the drama started in, I found that I just couldn’t make the best of it anymore and would they mind if I took her off the list. Then I asked my now ex-friend to respect me and bow out.

    All was well until she started putting feelers out there and saying to some friends that she couldn’t believe we hadn’t been meeting. When she knew we were. Now my friends are concerned that socially they will feel bad because the woman hasn’t done anything to them. They feel bad because they know she hurt me, but they have to still see her at social events. I think I would call the ex-friend out if they were doing that to someone else in the group and say hey, why don’t you bow out for a while until time has passed. It’s not cool to date an ex-husband in the circle of friends. She also created drama with another members daughter. The coach even warned my ex-husband as to what he is getting into from his dealings with her. He didn’t listen to the warning.

    At the same time my closest friend, instead of empathizing says I just have to suck it up and said she was glad when they put her back on this list. Now everyone will feel better, our group will still go on and I won’t feel back for causing distress to others and making the group end. (she is not in this group) I am now wondering how good of friends they are or are they just a little passive and don’t want to make waves.

    Torn, confused and more than a little hurt. I am very loyal to my friends and it is just not how I would handle situations. Would love if anyone could shed some light on this. Would help me to feel better.


    • Nancy says:

      The thing that makes a difference here is who wanted the divorce in your relationship? If you wanted it, then you should feel vindicated that your friend found out what a ‘loser’ he is and you both should be happy to be away from the ex. You should work to get over the fact that your friend dated your ex b/c he was your ex. Move on and if you can’t be the same kind of friends with this girl you once were, get along for the sake of the group.

      If he wanted the divorce, then you are dealing with different feelings (hurt, anger) and that is the issue you need to work on. Go to a divorce recovery group and move on with your own recovery. I would also recommend you try to forgive and forget with your friend b/c she obviously found out he is some kind of ‘loser’ too. Get along with the group and your friend and enjoy having a group to have fun with.

      • Sima says:

        I think it’s really weird that her ex husband and friend got together. I disagree with the answer. I don’t find it supportive of this lady’s situation. I think it’s unfair to pin the whole blame of this situation on this woman, and make out she has to do all the work. None of it is her fault. My advice: this friend Is no friend to you. She knows what you went through with the ex. It’s totally inappropriate. I would never dream of dating my friends ex, it would be so weird and would create so much warm awareness between me and the friend. I would walk away and make new friends. They don’t sound loyal. It’s all surface level, nothing deep. You’ll always be on your guard, cautious of what Youl be saying to them etc in the end in reality it doesn’t work. Friendships are meant to be fun, friendly and make you feel at ease. Not tense, sad or on edge. Listen to what your body is telling you and go with your gut. Your answer will be there.

  11. Annie says:

    What should I do if my best friend is friends with a girl that bullies me and my friends mostly her once bff I am really mad at her and I do not know what to do

  12. Kristen says:

    I have a friend who is friends with an enemy of mine. I have told her everything about this girl and what she did to me, her mother, and her brother (my boyfriend), yet, she still wants to be friends with her. She bows out of conversations with me when this girl comes up. I think it’s being disloyal. Needless to say, this girl has moved down my ranks to “acquaintance” at BEST! Screw her.

    • Brandy says:

      Your best friend is not a good friend. Cut her off and move on.

    • Sima says:

      I totally agree and was in a similar situation. Only I had introduced 3 close friends to each other (a family friend, school friend and uni friend whom I’d known for about 30 years. They had known each other for 4 years and my fam friend known my school friend and uni friend for about 18 months) the uni friend back stabbed me. I became rarally stressed, ill. I then decided to move on with my life and make new friends and focus on myself. I thought I cannot control my friends who still insist on meeting my uni friend but I can control who I keep in my inner circle. I started to feel uncomfortable around the other friends as information about meeting me etc was going back to the ex friend. The ex friend also stalked me on instangram and the other two were both aware. Both saw how hurt, upset how ill I became to the point where I needed an ECG. I actually think my inner peace is the most important thing. And If people want to hang out with your enemies who wish you actual harm, they are not your friends. There is no need to get into s discussion or a fight over it. I told two of them how I felt the other knew but wouldn’t say anything. I decided it’s because they don’t want to know. My feelings were not important to them. It’s all about them. Cut them off. They are toxic and dangerous. Focus on positive relationships that are supportive of you, that being you happiness and peace.

  13. Alicia says:

    WHAT about when you have an actual enemy? Somebody you have fought several times. Somebody that has lied on you and tries to get other persons to not like you. You dont like them and they dont like you. It’s no secret.
    AND…you talk about all your problems that derive from this person to your supposed friend. For years you exhale to this person. Then you find out your supposed friend has been talkin about you, in a negative way, to your exact enemy. Then your friend swears to God they never did it, but you got the proof from an EXTREMELY solid source.
    This happened to me. I don’t look at my friend as a friend any more. We were friends 38yrs down the drain.

    • Leslie Kay English says:

      Alicia, I was so hoping someone with great wisdom had responded to your situation. Because my situation ( in a nutshell ) is very much like yours. There is no question in my mind that the “enemy” ( I really don’t like that word, but for lack of a better way to say it, I used it )in my situation is 100% toxic to all that are around her. She has proved it over and over again. And though we all collectively agree with that statement, there are a few friends that “tolerate” her behavior. Even fell sorry for her when she acts out unprovoked and attacks people. Saying things like “she must really not like herself.” Meanwhile, I am a “baby” when I speak about it. I am so close to walking away from every single one of them. It is totally absurd. So if you have any answers or get any please send them my way. I feel your pain!

  14. Mel says:

    I was friends with a couple who are having an affair with each other. They turned on me, infact the girl actually physically attacked me and her boyfriend tried to run me and my kids off the road. My so called best freind who btw HATED this couple before all this has now all the sudden become friends with them. When I told her it wasn’t very cool of her to do that and how hurtful it was she told me to go F myself and lose her number she can be friends with whom ever she wants.
    Now to me that IS VERY DISLOYAL and definitely falls into your categories above. I am beyond hurt. I cant wait till this couple turns on her too.
    Friends Be loyal to your friends.

    • Sydney says:

      Hi Mel,

      I’d say in this case, just completely avoid them. They are not your real friends if they treat you with such disrespect. Don’t talk to them, they aren’t worth your time. Don’t listen to the rude things that they say, they don’t determine your future, only you do, so if they have something nasty to say, just don’t listen because the rude comments don’t matter. As for the attacking, if they do it again and physically hurt you, call the cops ASAP. You can sue them for this, or if it’s very severe, could have a greater punishment. Don’t let them get to you, you’re beautiful inside and out.

  15. stan says:

    What should you do if your children are staying friends with ex-friends who ended the friendship in a very hurtful way

  16. Alexis says:

    I thought my best friend would never turn on me cuz we promised but she did and now she is friends withe the person we didn’t like. Now I found out she is my cousin and she still doesn’t talk to me cuz she doesn’t know yet. I feel really bad because I think everyone is gonna turn on me soon. But truth is I am jealous of her.

  17. E says:

    I’ve been in a similar situation where two of my best friends were dating each other. From day one, I set the record straight with both that I loved them and while they were dating, or if anything went wrong between them, that I would not take sides either way. Throughout their relationship, I managed to stay out of their squabbles while talking to both separately and providing insight when I could. One thing I would never do though was to share what the other had said. There was no way I was getting in-between two close friends who were dating.

    Even after they broke up, I remained friends with both. What I credit them for was that no matter how much either didn’t like the idea of me being friends with the other after the breakup, they respected my decision and dealt with the fact I was going to remain friends with both parties.

    My point…if you have “friends” who will stop talking to you just because you’re talking to someone they don’t like, and giving there aren’t extreme circumstances involved, I would have to question the value of the friendship in the first place.

  18. anon says:

    Allie I totally feel your situation, my ex-bestfriend (Sadly I had to “dump” her a month ago and that’s how I came across this website) was always having some type of trouble with all kinds of people, because of her issues and personality she sees everything and everybody black or white, so those that were (according to her)not on her side or did not have any use for her, were automatically placed in the black-enemies list, which always kept growing and growing. As her best friend ( I am a gay male), I was “supposed” to treat these people as enemies, not only they were not enemies since i did not agree with 99.99 % of my friend’s judgments on others, but some were for me beneficial for my life, my social life, and my business. It got to a point where I was afraid to say hi to most people at the gym just because they were placed in her “enemies” list, the day I confronted her and told her that I was not going to continue supporting her in all her personal fights and dramas, is the same day our friendship had to come to an end. My advice is let people carry their own sands of bags, specially when they do so by choice. My ex-friend is addicted to drama and conflict and I was paying the price of all her personal “wars”. I do miss her a lot but my life has never been more peaceful, also since I am not around her anymore I am surprised how many doors me standing by her were getting closed in my life.

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