• Keeping Friends

Making Mistakes in Friendships: How To Recover

Published: April 2, 2024 | Last Updated: April 2, 2024 By | Reply Continue Reading
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Making mistakes in friendships is common. But if handled well, a mistake can actually strengthen a friendship.


Dear Friendship Doctor,

I read my best friend’s messages on her cellphone. I know it was wrong and a violation of her privacy, and I feel horrible about it.

I did this because she is friends with someone we both work for. She downplays the friendship to me, acting like I’m the only one who matters to her.

She went out with her over the weekend and repeatedly lied to me about her plans. Her excuse is that I’m controlling. 

I put 95 percent of my time into this friendship, even causing relationship issues with my partner, and I’m just hurt and feeling that I’m not good enough for her.

I don’t know where to go from here. Although I think she’s forgiven me, she’ll never trust me again.


Hi Caryn,

Everyone makes mistakes in friendships. 

You made a mistake, admitted it, and your friend forgave you, which speaks to the strength of this friendship.

However, I’m more concerned about the underlying problem, which may explain your motivation for reading her messages.

It sounds like you are possessive and want an exclusive relationship with your friend. You mention that you put so much effort into this friendship that it is causing problems in your relationship with your partner. 

Although her lying was dishonest and also a breach of trust, your friend may have been reluctant to tell you about her plans with your co-worker because she didn’t want to hurt or disappoint you.

Friendships don’t have to be exclusive. Having more than one friend is prudent because you won’t have to depend on that one person, and having different friends can enrich your life. 

Even if you are satisfied with having only one good friend, this can feel stifling to the other person.

I would tell your friend that you value her friendship and apologize if you came across as overly controlling. Then, back off a little and give yourself and your friend space and breathing room for other relationships as you regain her trust..

Communicating and learning from your mistakes in friendships can strengthen these relationships.

Hope this is helpful.

Signed Irene


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