• Resolving Problems

Is it okay to befriend your friend’s friend?

Published: April 2, 2015 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 11 Replies Continue Reading
.A blowup ensues when a woman gets together with her friend’s friend.



I am in college and my friend and I have been close for about four years. Last week I hung out with a friend of hers without her and she created a huge argument because she felt I was stabbing her in the back and not being a good friend.

I’m not sure how I have been a bad friend. The only reason I imagine she is angry with me is because I didn’t ask her permission to hang out with her friend, which I don’t think I should have to do. At first, I apologized to make amends but then felt it was unnecessary because I didn’t feel I did anything wrong and told her I wasn’t going to apologize for something I didn’t do.

We haven’t talked for about a week and a half because I feel we need a break from each other (we have had other arguments before this one). I don’t feel like it is my responsibility to approach her to fix the issue because I don’t feel I did anything wrong. To be honest, I am extremely offended that I am called a bad friend when I have been there for her for many, many ups and downs over the last four years and really we haven’t had issues until recently.

Her friend I was with also told me she told him I am jealous of her. When I confronted her, she denied it but I don’t feel like people would just make that up. I’m not sure how I should handle this situation and am honestly wondering if maybe its best to just call it quits and end the friendship.

I could really use an outsider’s perspective and hope to hear back from you soon. Thank you!

Signed, Gwen


Hi Gwen,

Becoming friends with a friend’s friend isn’t necessarily a bad thing—unless it is something that’s done habitually or that’s done in a hurtful way. When this occurs, it’s sometimes called “friend poaching” or “social poaching.”

Yes, technically, you didn’t have to ask permission to get together with your friend’s friend. But good friends should be sensitive to each other’s feelings. I’m sure you can understand how your friend might have felt hurt and betrayed when she was suddenly left out from the threesome.

By the way, I only realized at the end of your letter that you were talking about a “he” friend rather than a “she” friend. If your friend had any romantic feelings towards your male friend, even if they were unexpressed, that may have intensified her hurt.

Perhaps you didn’t think about the consequences of hanging out with him because you were tiring of your friendship with her anyway.

What could you have done differently? You could have told her you liked her guy friend (even as just a friend) and wanted to spend time with him. That wouldn’t be asking permission but would give her a chance to tell you how she felt about it. It might have given you the chance to reassure her.

Also, after she got angry, you could have tried to understand what she was feeling. I suspect she was lashing out in anger when she called you a “bad friend” and was focusing on this recent incident rather than the entire course of your friendship. I’m sure the situation escalated, too, when she found out that her two friends were talking about her behind her back.

What you do next depends on the importance of these relationships to you. If you want to mend the relationship with your girlfriend, you need to have a heart-to-heart with her, apologize for the hurt you caused and explain your feelings about the guy.

Best, Irene

Prior posts about friend poaching on The Friendship Blog:

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Comments (11)

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  1. Random says:

    Hi Gwen,
    Actually, you are not wrong but you have hurt her feelings cauz I am going through same scenario. My friends befriend with my one of my friend and I feel left out. I have only two people around and now I am not there It’s like I am not happy but its just I miss them.
    They were used to talk to me like I am important, somehow I am being disappeared. If she is not important, let her know. She will be fine, sooner or later. But in case, that’s not the case then tell her value. And remember one thing, people only react when they care. Else they never show!!!

  2. Delsi says:

    Of course it is wrong to befriend your friend’s friend and this is why… It would be ok if you are able to hang out and not say anything negative about your friend or discuss your friend’s personal business, but you guys did, he told you she was jealous of you … automatic mess. This always happen when people get together with someone else’s friends, the gossip begins. Even scriptures says in proverbs, gossip separates close friends. You should only hang out with your friends friends with them, not alone.. Everyone needs to have their own
    Friends.., God bless the child that has his own…… Hanging out with other people’s friends cause confusion …

  3. Maddie says:

    If you had known him casually before the introduction, I think it’s ok.

    If you did not, you have committed the cardinal sin of friend poaching.

    Him being male complicates it.

    Also, what kind of a guy is this who gossips and plays both sides?

    Ask yourself why it was so important to you to hang out with this guy. Are you competitive at all with your friend?

  4. Lottie says:

    Hi Gwen,
    It sounds like you have lost a friend and all your own doing.Look the word LOYALTY up.Friends dont do what you did without checking it out first.Then bad mouthing her is the pits. Shame on you for repeating it to her. Your lack of thought and consideration is rubbish. Try thinking of others before your own selfish needs. Lottie

  5. Ellie says:

    Hi there,

    I would say the definition of a friend is one”who love at all times” and one that sticks closer than a brother. You did exalt your desire over your friends. You only know the guy because your friend introduced. And your friend and this guy were not casual acquaintances. Where you entirely guilty… no but overall you did not honor your friend. Friends are not always family. You must honor her. I would apologize and say what you did wrong, ask her to forgive you and spend time at a massage place or manicure where you both could relax together and not be forced to speak all of the time together. Ask her how she would have liked you to handle the situation.

    I pray it all works out for you. Friendships are the most important relationships we have. They feed our souls!

  6. Lauren says:

    Hi Gwen,
    All of this stuff is why they call this a “toxic triangle”. You know, three is seldom a good number in friendships, both in adults and in children’s’ friendships.In a group of three, there is often trouble, or trouble brewing.

  7. Lucy says:

    No, technically you don’t need permission to hang out with this guy. I have been the one left out of the threesome and I can tell you, it stings! It ruined my friendship with a long time friend. He appeared to have more loyalty to her than me, and she was never very nice to me to begin with. As for being unapologetic, ask yourself what is more important. Your ego, or your friends feelings and the friendship. Her feelings were obviously very hurt. She may seem overly sensitive to you, but her feelings are real and matter to her. If you don’t care about her feelings, you don’t consider her a friend.

  8. Nicole says:

    You can but if that friend of yours likes the other one more you can be losing a friend. So u have to think about that.

  9. Dionne says:

    I think that you have broken a social rule that most people understand and abide by without having to have it spelled out for them, yes.

    Also, since this guy told you she said something about you, the two of you were talking about her behind her back, too.

    Now if you had invited both of them and she declined, then that may have been different.

    However, this friend being a “he” brings up additional questions, such as if her friendship with him was headed toward being more than friends (or she wanted it to be).

    Sorry, but I agree with your friend. I think you were in the wrong.

  10. Mrs. Chen says:

    From your friend’s perspective — you got together with her friend without inviting her along either because you wanted to talk trash about her behind her back or you are interested in her friend romantically, or both. If she was herself remotely interested in her friend romantically, then this would be considered a “double back stabbing”. On top of it all, you acted all self-righteous when she confronted you about it and refused to acknowledge that you’ve hurt her feelings. So yes, most reasonable outsiders can see that your friend has plenty of reason to call you a “bad friend”.

    But you don’t have to apologize because, you are right, technically you don’t need her permission to befriend her friend. So if you are feeling like dumping her anyway, you can just do nothing. In any case, sounds like ending this friendship would be a “win-win” for both of you. Clearly you guys have difference expectations of your friendship.

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