Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them.
It hurts when you trust someone and they let you down, especially when you consider them a close friend.
You feel disappointed, sad, and upset because your friend failed to live up to your expectations.
The saddest part is maybe you didn’t expect much from them to begin with. You just wanted them to do what friends do – be there for you, make you laugh, cheer you on, and talk.
Maybe they betrayed you by talking about you behind your back or by revealing your secrets to others. Perhaps they didn’t invite you when they were all hanging out, or they simply failed to be there for you when you needed them the most.
Whatever they did, they certainly disappointed you, and you don’t know how to deal with that. What should you do when friends fail to do what friends are supposed to do?
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you deal with feeling let down by a friend. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
Every Friendship Is Different
When you’re upset with your friends, the first thing you need to realize is that you can’t expect the same things from all of your friends.
You have best friends, close friends, friends, and casual friends, or whichever way you wish to call them. The point is, you don’t have the same depth of relationship with every friend.
Maybe you’d like all your friends to do all the things that you expect a close friend would do, but you have to adjust your expectations depending on the depth of friendship. Meaning, some of the people you get coffee with are just that – people you can drink coffee with and discuss current events.
There are also people you confide in who give you advice, and these are your close friends. But be honest, can you really talk about everything with everyone you hang out with? You probably can’t, and this is why you should have separate expectations of your friends depending on your closeness and level of trust.
You can be close to someone who doesn’t like talking about feelings, but they’re your go-to person when you want to have a fun time. If you need them to make you laugh, they’ll be the right person for the task. But when you need them to comfort you, they might not be the person you reach out to.
So, before doing anything else, think about your friends and realize that they are all different. Examine each unique friendship and then adjust your expectations accordingly. Were your expectations justified or did you set the bar too high?
Once you’re done with that, let’s start to process those hurt feelings and learn to let go of anger and resentment.
1. Understand your feelings and allow yourself to feel them.
Your feelings are valid, and you have every right to feel what you feel. If a friend lets you down, it’s normal to feel disappointed, sad, and even upset. However, it is not healthy to let your feelings consume you for a long time.
So, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and identify why you feel that way, but don’t let your feelings turn into a grudge. You can write them down, talk about them with your loved ones, and cry if that feels right. Just don’t suffer for months without telling anyone what’s bothering you.
You might be tempted to stay silent and keep your emotions bottled up for a long time but don’t. Don’t let your negative emotions eat you up inside. Let them out in a way that you feel is right for you.
2. Take some time and distance to process your feelings.
You need some distance from the person who hurt you, so create time and space to grieve the loss of trust or loss of the idea that you had about your friendship. While you shouldn’t take too much time to feel bad, you shouldn’t rely on your immediate reactions either.
Maybe your first instinct is to fight or take vengeance. Don’t.
And don’t reach out to the friend who hurt you until you have fully processed your feelings.
When something bad happens, it can feel like the end of the world. If you let some time go by and get some distance from your friends, you’ll be able to look at things more objectively. It will be easier to consider things from their perspective and think about what happened without feelings clouding your judgment.
This is a very important step.
3. Consider things from their point of view.
Okay, so you’re disappointed. But what is your friend’s side of the story? They might be willing to give you an explanation, or you might realize that they’re unaware of how much their actions have hurt you.
Consider things from their perspective, and don’t automatically make them the bad guy in the story.
Did they act unintentionally? Could they have really known that what they did would hurt you so much? Did you do something that might have caused them to let you down? Did they apologize, and are they willing to give you an explanation?
These are just some of the things to consider before acting on your hurt feelings.
4. Try to put your feelings aside.
If you have gone through the previous steps, you should be entirely aware of both sides of the story. This can help you look at things objectively.
Try to put yourself outside of your situation and see things from a third-party perspective. Look at the big picture, and don’t let your emotions make you go back to considering things from your side only.
It’s hard to be objective, so don’t beat yourself up if it’s too difficult to put your feelings aside. You can always involve an objective third-party in the situation and get their opinion. This could be your loved one but also a therapist who has experience with situations like yours.
A therapist could suggest more ways to deal with this based on your exact circumstances, and it might be better to talk to a professional since your loved ones will probably struggle to be objective because of their feelings for you. They might just take your side and empathize with you, which can be helpful but not when you want an objective opinion.
5. Meet with them and have a calm discussion.
Even if you are pretty confident that you know their side of the story, meet with your friend to hear them out. They might surprise you with some insights that you haven’t thought of, or apologize for their behavior and ask to make things right again.
It’s important that you talk things out anyway, and you should do it in person instead of via texts or calls. This conversation is not about attacking them or hurting them back. You should give them a chance to explain themselves, especially if you still want to be friends with them.
But even if not, you don’t want to risk losing people in your life over something that could be resolved in a simple and honest conversation. So, show grace and talk to them without playing the victim or constantly mentioning the event afterward.
However, be aware that your friends might not react the way you expect them to. They might not want to make it up to you or even acknowledge that what they did hurt you. In that case, you have no other choice but to decide whether or not you still want to be friends with them.
6. Decide whether you still want to be friends with them.
It’s important that you do your part right, and if you have tried to be objective and calmly talk to your friend, you have done your part. What did they do though?
Depending on your situation, you can now decide whether you still want to be friends with them or not. They might have made your decision easier, or harder, but this is something you don’t owe anyone any explanations for. If you think that you can’t forgive them or don’t want to pursue the friendship further because of how they disappointed you, you have every right to end the friendship.
Things aren’t always that simple. So what if you want to be friends with them but can’t get past what they did? Well, true friends would apologize and try to make things better if what they did was that hurtful. If not, maybe they aren’t worth being friends with.
7. Try to forgive them.
If you want to stay friends with them, you have to try to forgive them for what they did. You can’t keep acting like the victim, blaming them, mentioning the event, and getting upset about it.
In fact, forgiving them is important even if you don’t want to keep them as a friend. Don’t hold a grudge. Even if your friendship is over, try to let go of any hurt feelings that you’re harboring because you don’t need unnecessary baggage in your life.
Rise above it all, forgive, and move on with or without them. This can be easier said than done, but try to think of it this way: what they did is a reflection of their character, and how you choose to react is a reflection of yours.
8. Consider ending the friendship if you can’t forgive.
Even if you want to forgive, it might be too hard. So, if you can’t forgive, offer grace, and show dignity despite everything that happened. Don’t keep retelling the story to other friends and leave what happened behind you.
When you end the friendship, you won’t be constantly reminded of the transgression. With time, you’ll leave it in the past entirely, even if you don’t forgive them.
Maybe you’d like to pursue the friendship further, but you just can’t let go of your hurt feelings. That’s okay too, but you have to accept that those friends won’t be a part of your life anymore or at least for a season.
People sometimes reconnect, so even if it’s over now, maybe one day you’ll be able to put everything behind you and start fresh.
9. Find closure.
We already know the routine when a romantic relationship ends, but what about a friendship? You need an official “breakup” even if it’s with a friend.
Just like in romantic relationships, sometimes you won’t get closure from the person who hurt you, and you’ll need to find it on your own. You could write a letter to the friend or friends who have hurt you and burn it or keep it somewhere out of sight. It’s okay if you think of your own ritual that will signify the end of the friendship.
Consider getting rid of any keepsakes and memories to help yourself move on. Moving on from a breakup with a friend can be just as hard as moving on from a romantic breakup, or even harder because friendships can last longer than relationships.
Plus, when you lose a partner you know that the wrong one has to go so that the right one can come along. There’s no limit to how many friends you could have, so losing a friend can hurt a lot. Similarly, because there is no limit to the number of friends you can have, you can find many more.
Not everyone who comes into your life is supposed to stay in your life, and that’s okay because you can still share good times and learn from each other during the time that you’re in each other’s lives.
10. Meet new people.
If you end the friendship, go out and look for new friends when you’re ready! If your friends have broken your trust before, it doesn’t mean everyone will do so. Learn to trust people because some of them are worth it.
You can meet new people by picking up a hobby, joining a club, or volunteering. Just be a good listener and make an effort to plan activities and invite your new friends. When you’re choosing new friends, look for people with integrity, who are kind, and who make you feel good as well.
If someone is not good to you, they are not your friend. While no one is perfect all the time, remember your friends should not put you down or let you down. So, don’t be friends with just anyone but do befriend a variety of different people.
11. Befriend a variety of different people.
What kind of people do you look for when you’re searching for friends? Maybe you’ve made a wrong choice before, so why not try befriending the kind of people that you’d never considered before?
Keep an open mind because you can learn from anyone, and everyone brings something different and unique to the table. If you have a history of choosing friends who let you down, don’t look for the type of friend you’ve chosen in the past. Reevaluate your standards and get outside your comfort zone.
Give everyone a chance but select your close friends with a bit of caution. You want to pick your closest friends based on how much you can trust them, how they make you feel, and how they treat you, but not what kind of clothes they wear or who they believe created the Universe. Listen to different people’s stories and find out what things look like from their point of view.
12. Talk to a therapist.
In the end, you can always seek outside help when your friends leave you disappointed. If you are hurt and you’re having trouble processing your feelings or you don’t know how to forgive your friends and move on, talk to someone about it.
A therapist has experience with people in similar situations to yours and will be able to help you with more tips and ways you can feel great again. Just because you might have lost a friend doesn’t mean that you have to go through this alone.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You may also like:
- If You Were Betrayed By A Friend, Here Is What You Should Do
- 16 Ways To Keep Friends (8 Do’s + 8 Don’ts)
- 8 Tips For Letting Go Of A Friendship
- 12 Clear Signs Your Friend Doesn’t Respect You Very Much
- 13 Signs You’ve Outgrown A Friendship
- What To Do If You Hate Your Friends
- 14 Signs Of Fake Friends: How To Spot One A Mile Off
- 25 Qualities Of A Good Friend: People You Can Really Count On
- 6 Critical Steps To Making Things Up With A Friend Who’s Mad At You