One of the difficult parts of adult life is learning that friendships end — sometimes for sad reasons.
Even close friends can sometimes betray you, leading to a myriad of emotions.
Unfortunately, it can happen no matter how old you are or how long you have been friends.
The good news is that there are a few signs to watch out for.
These might be hints that your friend has betrayed you or is thinking about betraying you.
How Does It Feel When a Friend Betrays You?
When a friend betrays you, it’s natural to have a lot of conflicting feelings. Some of it comes down to the exact situation.
Examples of friend betrayal could include stealing a romantic partner, sharing a deeply personal secret, or pursuing something they know you wanted.
When your friend betrays you, you might feel:
All of these are perfectly normal responses to having the rug pulled from beneath you by a friend.
It may take time for these feelings to resolve, especially if the friend in question doesn’t apologize or own up to their betrayal.
13 Signs of Betrayal in Friendship
So how do you know if your friend is about to betray you? These 13 signs might offer a clue about what is going on.
Although it will still hurt, it may be better to be forewarned so you aren’t caught off guard.
1. They Seem To Be Avoiding You
Maybe it’s because of a guilty conscience, or maybe they are trying to cut you out, but your friend may seem to be avoiding you. They ignore your calls and texts or offer flimsy excuses for why they’ve been out of touch.
When you ask if you’ve done something to upset them, they might say something vague that doesn’t offer a genuine answer. Good friends make an effort to stay in contact, and deliberate avoidance isn’t normal.
2. They Flake Out
If you do manage to make plans with a friend who’s drifting away, don’t be surprised if they flake out. Whenever you try to meet up, it seems like they have something come up — and it’s not something that really adds up.
People can only have so many car emergencies or family problems before it becomes pretty obvious that they’re trying to avoid you. If your friend cancels plans again and again, there may be something else going on.
3. They Undermine Your Confidence
Good friends should be supportive and kind. A friend who might betray you may try to undermine your confidence by making passive-aggressive comments, backhanded compliments, or unhelpful suggestions.
They might belittle you in front of others or contradict you in ways designed to make you look illogical or incompetent.
Other ways people might do this is by exposing your mistakes to others or belittling your achievements.
4. They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries
A good friend respects your boundaries, whether or not they agree with them. A friend who has betrayed you may repeatedly disrespect the boundaries you have set in place.
These might be large or small, such as keeping your secrets or respecting your preference that they send a text before dropping by.
Dismissing someone’s wishes shows that they don’t care about your sense of comfort, safety, and trust — or that they think their preferences are more important.
5. They Give Insincere Compliments
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a backhanded compliment, and they can really hurt.
Insincere compliments can sound like, “You finally did something right!” or “I never thought that dress would look good on you,” or “Your skin looks so much better than it did last week.”
These backhanded compliments are designed to sound nice but are clearly insults when you stop and think about them. The only reason people give them is to make you feel bad.
6. They’re Not Happy For You
Maybe you just got a big promotion at work, started a new relationship, or heard great news about a close family member. Ideally, your friends will feel happy for you because you feel happy.
But if your friend has betrayed you, they might not seem very happy about your good luck.
In fact, they might seem downright upset or even angry about it, giving curt congratulations and then leaving the conversation.
7. They Hide Their Phone or Social Media
Just as with cheating partners, friends who are drifting away from you might hide their phone or social media from you.
Not that friends usually have open access to each other’s phones, but you might notice that they quickly put their phone away when you walk into the room or act evasive when you ask who they’re talking to.
These things alone might not mean anything, but they can certainly point to something sneaky behind your back.
8. They Seem Jealous
Does your friend seem oddly fixated on your achievements or blessings, but not for the best reasons? Maybe they often make jealous remarks about your financial status, relationships, or material possessions.
Frequent comments like these often have a lot of anger behind them, and eventually, that becomes evident.
You can always ask them gently if everything is OK. Unfortunately, if they’ve betrayed you, they’re unlikely to be honest about what’s really on their mind.
9. They Make Mean Jokes
There should be room in a friendship for jokes and sometimes even good-natured teasing. But “good-natured” is the key phrase.
If your friend is continually making jokes at your expense or seems to enjoy embarrassing or belittling you, it’s safe to say something is going on.
It’s always a good idea to voice your concerns to ensure it’s not a misunderstanding. If they mean well, they’ll apologize and back off.
10. They Avoid Your Questions
You sense something is wrong, so you start asking questions. Maybe you even wonder if you did something wrong and your friend is upset with you.
Sometimes, you might end up having a heart-to-heart and laying everything out in the open.
But if they dodge your questions and insist that everything is fine when it’s clearly not, there might be something else going on. Good friends shouldn’t act evasive when it comes to fixing problems.
11. They Gossip About You
Talking about a friend behind their back is never okay. If one of your friends suddenly seems to be dishing out with everyone you know, they owe you an explanation …and an apology.
Of course, most people don’t just start gossiping out of nowhere. It could be a sign that your friendship has soured. It could also be a sign of their true nature. People can be good at hiding their bad side until it suits them.
12. They Ignore You
Friendship goes both ways. Just as with a relationship, there has to be some give and take. If your friend doesn’t seem to be listening to you when you speak, that’s something to note.
A sustainable friendship isn’t possible if they demand that you listen to their problems but never return the favor.
It might just be a sign that they’re not a good friend — but it could also be a sign that something has changed.
13. They Tell Small Lies
Most of us tell the occasional white lie, but if your friend seems to be frequently lying for no reason, there might be something strange going on.
It could be that they are trying to cover their tracks, so you don’t know what they’re planning to do — or it could be that they are showing their dishonest side. Some people are pathological liars, meaning they lie all the time without real impetus.
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What to Do When You Are Betrayed by a Friend
So what should you do after you feel the effects of betrayal in friendship? It can take some real effort to move past the experience and heal from the emotional wounds.
1. Take Some Time to Think
It is easy to do things impetuously when you are feeling sad, hurt, angry or humiliated. Try to avoid making any big decisions before taking the time to reflect.
You can do this by journaling, talking it out with someone else, or simply sitting with your thoughts. Think about your friendship, the betrayal, and how it has affected your relationship.
2. Confide in a Friend or Therapist
Getting an outside perspective can help you sort out your feelings and figure out what you want to do.
A listening ear can be helpful for your emotional needs, and another voice can help you feel validated — or consider the situation from a new angle. Regardless, it’s always good to talk to people about emotional experiences.
3. Reach Out to Other Friends
Gossiping about friend drama and trying to pit mutual friends against each other isn’t a good idea.
But what is a good idea is finding strength and comfort in other friendships. When you’re feeling let down by a friend, having other friends offer support can make a huge difference.
4. Open The Lines of Communication When You Feel Ready
Let’s be clear: even if you do want to try to repair the relationship, it’s OK if you’re not ready right away.
You have the right to tell your friend: “I want to talk about this eventually, but right now, I’m feeling too hurt and vulnerable to have a conversation. I’ll reach out when I’m ready.”
5. Decide Whether Cutting Ties is a Good Idea
Sadly, some friendships can’t be saved — and reconciliation can’t be one-sided. Sometimes, cutting ties with your friend might be the best thing for your mental and emotional health.
You also can’t force forgiveness, so sometimes, the best way to move on and forgive them is to get some space. Losing a friend is always sad, but sometimes it’s the best way forward.
6. Consider What You Need to do to Heal And Move On
Sometimes, you may need time to grieve for the friendship that you lost. It’s OK to let yourself feel the hurt, anger, and betrayal that they inflicted on you. However, it’s not healthy to dwell on these memories forever.
Consider what you need to do to move past the experience, whether that’s making new friends, going to therapy, or something else.
Experiencing a Friend’s Betrayal
Unfortunately, most people experience a betrayal by a friend at some point. Although it is always a sad experience, it can open the door to healthier friendships with other people.