Just Do It: Putting a fractured friendship behind you

Published: February 20, 2009 | Last Updated: February 20, 2009 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading



A few years ago, I was a roommate with a woman I will call Marta. She found me by looking at rentals in the paper. She was newly divorced and we became fast friends. I introduced her to my extensive group of friends.

She moved out after I got engaged. We were still friends until we shared a house again after my divorce. I will not go into detail but it did not work out. She seemed to berate me a lot and accused me of stealing. She also is extremely negative and was only in a good mood when she was tipsy. I felt scared and anxious around her so I stayed away which only made her angrier.  

I moved out last May. I sent her an email in September saying we both did things we are not proud of but I wanted to get together IN PERSON to talk about it and put it behind us. I still have not heard from her.

I introduced her to a lot of my friends and they became her friends. When I see her at gatherings, I say hello but that is it; she has made it clear she does not want to engage. How do you repair a friendship enough so that other friends are not uncomfortable when you are around each other?  I am reading a book called Forgiveness is a Choice and it seems to be helping.



Hi Eliza,

Let go of this relationship! It doesn’t sound worth saving. You are describing a “friend” who acted suspicious, angry and negative—and who made you feel quite uncomfortable. You don’t need to do a psychological autopsy of your relationship with Marta to put it behind you; just end it and take away the friendship lessons you’ve learned, both good and bad.

Since you share a circle of friends, it’s best to act cordially to Marta but keep your distance. Say hello—and smile if it feels natural—but don’t go any closer or deeper than that. No one else will be uncomfortable in your presence unless they sense that you are.

Guard against saying anything disparaging about Marta to your other friends; it will only reflect badly upon you and they are already in a position to make their own judgments about her. With the passage of time, I hope things will get easier for you.


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Comments (7)

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  1. lisarowe says:

    Sophie comment the best
    God bless ouur friendship!

    With love and peace, lisa rowe

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting posting. I am sort of dealing with a similar situation. But the interesting thing is the person I am no longer friends with was also badmouthed. She has had falling outs with others in the past. Now, they are on speaking terms. The ex-friend has friended some mutual friends on FB, I know she has seen me, because we have 9 mutual friends. She has made no effort, neither have I. Her mother and husband are on my list. Just weird. I am not going to waste my time with people like ex-friend. Everyone in that group is buddies with her and I don’t get invited to any parties or get-togethers much. Fine with me, because I have better things to do with my time. The rare times I do see a couple of mutual friends, I don’t ask about her or acknowledge anything about her. If someone mentions her, I just say something casual like “oh”, but change the subject. The point is to keep the social group a low priority, which I have done. If they want to contact me, they can call or email. I do have a life that does not revolve around those people.

  3. Karla says:

    it is a process that takes time, but after a while, when you finally forgive, it is easier to let go…

    I’ve learned that the easiest way to forgive is to understand that we all make mistakes in deep relationships, but we learn from them and understand how human we are and move on.

  4. Irene says:

    Thanks for weighing in on the discussion, Patsy. I think that downgrading is a good approach, especially when you travel in the same social circles.

    My best,




  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, if someone could bottle forgiveness and sell it they’d be v. rich.
    I too am struggling with how to forgive some frenemies that finally showed themselves a few months ago. I’ve been publicly humiliated and gossiped about endlessly.
    I’m tired of my evenings being spent analyzing why people act in such hurtful ways.
    Live and let live, right? I’ve witnessed with some others that at times, people will self destruct (eventually) when they live their lives looking to “destroy” other people.

    In any case, Forgiving in a way as to put it behind you, but then move on and not necessarily try to rebuild a friendship is often the best thing. I’m working on it myself. I have zero intentions of rebuilding something that was flimsy and fake the first time. These frenemies need to be downgraded to acquaintances and I learned that from this website.

    Good luck,

  6. Irene says:

    Thanks for the excellent comment, Sophie!

  7. Sophie says:

    For me, this also brings up some interesting stuff about forgiveness, which I’ve had to think about a lot in my life. The most important thing I learned is that forgiveness happens within you and it may or may not require any external change in a fractured relationship. You can forgive a person and still decide not to let that person back into your life. Forgiveness is acknowledging the person’s limitations and humanity but that doesn’t mean you have to put yourself back at risk for being hurt.

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