• Handling Breakups

Should I confront my friend?

Published: September 27, 2015 | By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
A woman wonders is she should confront a friend whose values are suspect.


Dear Friendship Doctor,

My friend of ten years slept with my boyfriend behind my back and stole belongings from me, my family and other people.

I have since broken up with him, right away, but I waited for my friend to come clean with what she did, and she never did.

Needless to say we no longer talk because I can’t trust her, and I have, at least, some of my self-respect back. Should I have confronted her?

Signed, Jasmine


Hi Jasmine,

In terms of your friend, don’t look back and second-guess your decision. She committed two offenses that are inexcusable: sleeping with your boyfriend and stealing from you and your family. You have no reason to continue the relationship with him or her.

There is no point in confronting a friend when they have behaved in such a disappointing way unless you want to maintain the friendship. I don’t think this is your intention so confronting her would only engage you in a continuing relationship with someone you’ve learned you cannot trust. The offense is even more egregious because no apology or explanation was forthcoming.

Since you’ve known this friend for ten years, I’m wondering whether this was the first time she acted in such a hurtful way. Perhaps, there is a lesson to be learned. Rather than confront her, you need to independently think about what happened and figure out why you were blindsided so a similar situation doesn’t recur again.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (10)

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  1. Ben says:

    Well said… Popular culture tries to teach us to express our anger at those who have “pissed us off” but I agree that it does me more harm than good….

  2. Morgs says:

    I see that you posted this question a few months ago, but if you are still struggling with the issue I would like to offer one more perspective.

    I feel like life gives you a handful (maybe more) of great life lessons. One of the ones that I’ve learned is “not everyone wishes you well”. I believe you should always give people a chance, get to know them first, but once they do things, especially things as hurtful as your friend did, I might assume that they were another person in my life who has confirmed that life lesson for me.

    I, personally, would not confront the friend. Like Irene said, you’ve learned you cannot trust her, and you can’t really maintain a relationship with someone you cannot trust. I never believed in sharing your feelings and becoming vulnerable, or “telling someone off” just to make myself feel better with someone who might not have my best interest in mind. I save sharing these feelings with friends I see a future with and I want to work through things with.

    I imagine finding out your friend did this to be almost more hurtful than the boyfriend (I could be wrong). I agree with Irene (and Ben) in that you should take some time to be introspective and see what made you be friends with her or if you missed anything. I don’t think you are at fault for being friends with her at all, but once you learn that not everyone means well for you, I think you can figure out some patterns or warning signs for people like that and stay he heck away!

    Hoping you’re feeling better. Recommended music for times like these: Alanis Morrissett’s “You Oughta Know”, and “You Learn” 🙂

  3. ruth says:

    I’m so sorry letter writer this happened to you. I’ve been cheated on and had things stolen from me, but not by the same perpetrator.

    I can tell that I’m going against the flow on this one, but I would have confronted her because it’s my nature to at least try to hold people accountable. I’ve lost friendships this way, and a few other friendships have been strengthened by my transparency.

    If the relationship is over anyway, what harm does it do to say “I feel very hurt by your actions.” and then go from there.

    Whether she gains anything from it or not, is not your burden/problem. Frankly as far as I’m concerned, being transparent with her is a part of your healing process.

    I can tell you from many years of holding people accountable that she will not become all of a sudden humble, agree with you wholeheartedly and ask for your forgiveness. She likely will begin to defend her actions and may even accuse you or say painful things about your relationship with your ex. Again it’s not about her or heart heart or her future or what she gains/learns/benefits from the conversation. It’s about you being transparent and honest; a step in the healing process.

    I agree with the others that a part of healing is also examining your own heart. It’s extremely painful, but your relationships in the future should benefit greatly from the hard work of your self examination.

  4. tanja says:

    Sorry this happened. How did you find out that she slept with your boyfriend? and stole? I agree with the advice given. If you do not wish to continue the friendship, I would just do the phase out method, which is what you have done. Stop the contact. I have done that with a few friendships as well. Some I should have done it sooner. But, anyhow, you live and you learn. Confronting a friend means that you wish to pursue the friendship and it is important enough to you to talk about. Although, at that point you also need to prepare for the consequences, such as confronting your friend and your friend getting defensive, breaking up the friendship with you anyway or denying it and still playing you for the fool, or she could apologize and promise it would never happen again and try to repair the damage. So, be prepared for all types of outcome.

    But, in this case, I would just stop contact abruptly and not respond back. But, I don’t know how important the friendship was to you and if you got anything out of it?

  5. Lillan says:

    I’m sorry that this happened to you. It can really hurt to be betrayed. One blessing that I can see here is that she brought to the surface how untrustworthy your boyfriend was…and how how untrustworthy she is. That information, though painful, makes you stronger and in a better position to make different choices. Peace.God bless.

  6. Maddie says:

    She’s not your friend. Move on. Don’t look back. She’s history and not worthy of your thoughts.

  7. Amy F says:

    She’s not your friends. Friends don’t treat each other that way.

    I don’t like the to use the word confrontation, because it implies a negative tone, which could very well put the other person on the defensive. I prefer discussion, because I want to have healthy, productive conversations. I phrase sentences in a way to avoid straight out blame by using “I” statements. I felt _____ (disappointed, sad, angry) when ________.”

    Some people find writing a letter to be helpful in expressing themselves, and often those letters don’t need to be sent to have the result of letting go of anger/hurt.

    Before you decide ask yourself:
    What do I want/expect to get from confrontation?
    What is the likely outcome of talking to her?
    In what other ways can I release the feelings I’m having?
    What are possible negative repercussions?

    Who knows, maybe with time and much contrition on her part you can have some kind of relationship, but I don’t see how or why you’d ever have full trust in her.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Amy F,
      I find the questions you listed helpful in deciding whether or not to discuss the end of a friendship formally. It’s a decision that is personal and one I struggle with as my natural tendency is to be a “pushover”, “doormat” – or more appropriately, choose ‘flight’ instead of ‘fight’.

      I think the first question, is what do you expect or the purpose is really important in determining, being honest with yourself. If I expect the other to respond or behave in a certain way (like get an apology) than that isn’t a valid reason to discuss the end of a friendship. If I want to communicate how I feel about the situation and ‘practice’ courageously speaking of how I feel (being vulnerable) than I have the discussion. For me, not speaking about how I felt with someone who hurt me was continuing an unhealthy pattern of ‘fleeing’ and being the pushover and never letting someone I cared about hear how I felt.

      That is why I find the questions helpful, it is such a personal decision that these steps can help understand what is going on within yourself.

      Kind regards,

  8. jacqueline says:

    Hi Jasmine:

    I agree with Irene that this was probably not the first time your friend behaved so badly. She got caught, which eventually happens, sooner or later. The truth always surfaces.

    Confronting her is not necessary, as your actions – severing all ties with her, are self-explanatory. She knows why you are no longer talking.

    Jasmine, you did not give us very much information if your friend was always like this….You were friends for 10 years…. Perhaps she is jealous of you (and others), or is mentally ill and that is why she steals and sleeps around. I will go out on a limb here and guess that your boyfriend is not the only one she fooled around with.

    I hope this gives you some insight.

  9. Ben says:

    Everyone does what makes sense to them at the time. Whether there are positive or negative consequences. While in counseling during my severe depression my counselor told me I was getting a payoff from being “stuck.” It was explained that being stuck was a familiar feeling. People who steal and people who are dishonest get a payoff as well. People who get confronted by their abhorrent behavior can either turn toward truth and honesty or get mired in denial or never turn around. What surprises me about this question is having been severely violated by someone thought to be a friend a quandary concerned with “the friendship.” Seems to me a better question to ask oneself is why did I ever believe this person was ever my friend? True friends don’t screw over their friends. True friends don’t steal from other friends. As it was told to me by a former pastor, “Love is wanting the best for the other.” There is nothing as painful as the “wounds of a friend.” Having experienced that myself I have to reflect on who truly is my friend? Even the Bible tells us to “guard our hearts above all things.” I know now I play a part in everything that happens in my life. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Know this Jasmine that you are not alone in having your trust violated. Know also you won’t be the last. Hopefully someone is reading this gaining knowledge and insight to hopefully prevent the same thing happening to them. Sorry for your loss.

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