• Keeping Friends

The little lie that snowballed

Published: October 23, 2009 | Last Updated: January 26, 2013 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
Is there anyway to make up to a friend when a little lie has snowballed?


Dear Irene,

I’m 28 years old and a TV journalist. About 3 years ago, I met another female reporter to whom I took an instant liking and we became close friends. At the outset, I felt deeply for her and she grew to like me, too. We hung out together, vacationed together, and I loved doing things for her. Although we had disagreements, there was no professional rivalry or backstabbing between us.

I lost my parents in 2007 and 2009. My mistake was that I lied to her about something, which I subsequently covered up with more lies. This lie went on for nearly two years. Initially, my friend was only curious about the lie but began asking a series of questions. When she asked to meet with me on September 1, I sensed something was amiss and dreaded losing her friendship. She was the most important person in my life.

When we met, my friend told me what she had uncovered and I owed up to my huge blunder! She was deeply dejected and told me that I was the darkest person she had ever met, now her worst enemy. She said she didn’t want to have anything else to do with me and wants me out of her life. When I lost my dad on September 7th, I desperately wanted to speak with her but she didn’t want to and accused me of taking advantage of my dad’s death.

This friend had been the fulcrum of my existence. From that day on, I’ve apologized repeatedly but it all seems in vain. She even told me if I don’t stop instant-messaging her, she’ll involve the police. She says I’m nothing but a bagful of lies and she can’t stand me!

The lies didn’t involve sleeping around with anyone’s partner or loss to anyone’s life, limb, property, career, or reputation! But, yes, I wounded her emotions deeply. I created something that didn’t exist so she could like me more. I knew it was wrong at the beginning but it was something that made her feel good about herself and she really got invested in the lie. By that time, I was trapped in a web of unintended consequences. I’m not a habitual liar and have never done anything like that before.

My worst fear has come true: My friend has abandoned me because of my horrible blunder and despite my sincerest apologies. She means the world to me, Irene, and I had come to depend on her so much. I feel no animosity towards her, and I’ve told her I would do whatever it takes to make it up to her. I’m desperate for reconciliation and for her forgiveness! Do you think it’s possible given the facts and circumstances of the case? What should I do?



Hi Hannah:

Even though your lies may have been well intended, they caused great hurt to your friend and my sense is that they have irreparably destroyed your relationship. Since your multiple apologies have fallen upon deaf ears, you have no choice but to step back and give your friend the time and space she needs to recover from this trauma. You need to understand that she may not ever be able to forgive you.

If you can come to understand why you needed to create this lie, I’m sure that you will have learned something about yourself and avoid something like this from happening again in the future.

You probably need some time to heal, too, but you will get over her.

My best,

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Comments (2)

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  1. Irene says:

    Hi Chantelle:
    Thanks for chiming into the discussion. You may also want to take a peek at this post that deals with grieving: https://www.thefriendshipblog.com/blog/final-friendship-disappointment
    Thanks for reading and posting.

  2. Chantelle says:

    With respect to the friend refusing to speak about the letter writer’s father, the accusation she made was unfair and disrespectful. Even if she suspected the writer was taking advantage of her father’s death, even if the writer really was doing so, she was in the wrong then using the incident as ammunition. It’s an unacceptable way to treat someone who is grieving. In that kind of situation it is better to say nothing than to lash out.

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