Frenemies without benefits

Joey Garcia

What do you do when the person who was always your best friend starts treating you like a closet friend? My best friend and I used to do everything together. But she started blowing me off and hanging out with other people. Now she says “Hi” but doesn’t stop and talk to me at school (we go to community college). But when I’m home she blows up my phone with texts about problems she has with her friend group or with her family. I spend a lot of time helping her and thinking we will be close again but she just ignores me the next day at school or when I need help. What should I do?

Be your own best friend. Learn how to listen to yourself, how to enjoy hanging out on your own and how to encourage, motivate and inspire yourself. Oh, I know that it’s easier to try to cast another person in the role of best friend. But if you do, you will miss the opportunity to deepen your appreciation for who you are and what you really need from others. And, while it is very sweet to provide solace to a friend, it’s best to offer that support as a gift. In other words, don’t expect something in return. Give your support with no strings attached, no expectations that kindness will be reciprocated with kindness. That’s hard to do. It requires a spiritual maturity that comes from—you guessed it—learning how to be your own best friend. Once you are happy in your relationship with yourself, new friends will find you.

How can someone do something that can hurt a family so badly but in their mind it was with a good intention?

Has the person been diagnosed as a narcissist? If so, it’s natural for narcissists to be so self-involved they justify any behavior that suits them. Outside of that realm, a person who is deeply in denial (and therefore out of touch with reality) could also behave in a manner that is hurtful while not realizing the harm caused. Once cleared of emotional blocks, these people are profoundly sorrowful about all of the pain they have caused.

The other possibility, of course, is that those who were hurt saw the crisis hurtling toward them but chose not to intervene. That’s right, their own denial contributed to the collective wound. If you investigate along these lines, these individuals might say something like, “The thought crossed my mind but I didn’t think he (or she) would actually do something like that.” This is often a convenient way to shrug off responsibility and dump blame directly on someone else. Yes, it’s true that every thought we have is not accurate. But we must be internally meditative so we can compassionately consider whether a thought is intuitive, instinctual, truly honest or a lie. The capacity to think clearly is the fruit of spiritual growth.

Why do we have to forgive those who have hurt us deeply? Can we choose not to and just ignore them or forget about them?

We forgive for our own sake. Forgiveness allows us to move out of the state of being a victim and expand into experiencing ourselves as equal to others. In the process we accept that we have also hurt others, although not necessarily in the same manner or degree to which we have been hurt. But no, we can’t simply ignore or forget about the person who we say has hurt us. Our brains don’t function that way. So tune your heart to this mantra instead: Ultimately, every experience happens for our personal evolution. Sometimes, those who have suffered the most have the most love and wisdom to offer others.

Meditation of the week
“Together with the culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport,” says Pope Francis. Will you resolve to have more fun?

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