Due to covid-19, I have not had a chance to socialise much with friends and I believe this is the case for many friends across the world. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a few friends – we shared a meal and updated each other on what was happening in our lives. It was a wonderful experience to be able to sit with friends and talk about what was happening around the world and also in our lives. We humans are social beings and we need friends in our lives – no man is an island as the popular saying goes and I have come to find that finding the right connection brings a certain quality to ones life.
I have been seeing a quote on social media for some time now by S.E Hinton “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky” – this quote always makes me think about my own friendships both present and past. With so much happening in the world and the awareness of mental health being pushed through several mediums, we all need people to talk to whom we can trust and count on both in good times and the bad. However, I find that friendship these days are not what they used to be and people are always out for what they can get from friendship with less thought to what they can bring to the table.
If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than luckyS.E Hinton
Another common trend I have noticed is that friendships these days do not last and though I have come to accept that this may be the new norm due to whatever reason, what worries me the most is what happens after friendships end. It almost seems like sharing information with people can so easily be used as a weapon against one and it is appalling. We are human and we may fall out even over the most trivial things and these falling outs can sometimes lead to the end of friendships – but to wield information that was shared in trust and under the bond of friendship as a weapon because you are no longer friends with someone is frightening.
I have been following a story on YouTube of a trio who are no longer friend this week, they have been going live on several social media platforms to reveal secrets of each other. The information being shared are things that were shared in good times when they were all friends and to see them now talking as if to see who can bring out the most damning information about each other is quite sad. This then escalated to these former friends revealing even more information about the family members of their former friends. While I watched this all unfold and the public take sides, I acknowledged that there was a lot of emotion at play however, these emotions were not being managed well at all.
I get it that sometimes people hurt us so badly that we want to retaliate and do something to hurt them like they did us or get people to see our side of the story by revealing how bad they were to us or to other people. But to what extent are we willing to go to get back at people or get our side of the story heard? If you are like me, who finds it hard to open up in dialogue, trusting someone with information we dont want everyone to know is a huge and difficult step for us to take. So watching these ‘friends’ bring out one dirty secret after another of their private lives with the world as an audience, was heartbreaking.
A friend of mine shared her story of how on her birthday some years back, one of her friends invited her to lunch. She went to this lunch hoping to catch up with said friend but she spoke of how this friend spoke about a mutual friend and her family in a very bad way. She went on to tell me how on several occasions this lunch frined tried to share information regarding the intimate relationship of their mutual friend – by the end of lunch, my friend realised her mistake. She had sat down for a meal with someone who searches for information about other people to use as a weapon – she recalled how as she went home she realised that certain information she had shared with this woman would later be used against her. Fast forward a few months and the relationship of the trio was no longer as it used to be and the friendship would later die and my friend the casualty.
In a world where what you say can easily be used against you – who can you trust? If my friends today can easily become my enemies tomorrow and use my vulnerable moments against me, what then is the point of building connections? These were questions I asked myself as I read through the comment sections on said YouTube videos and there were a few people on there who shared the same sentiment. While we encourage people to share their challenges, who do we trust in our vulnerable moments? It’s bad enough not wanting to be judged by our weaknesses and challenges but then to also think that what you have shared in confidence can be used against you publicly can be overwhelming.
We are not perfect and we have found ourselves saying things we should not have said in certain situations – however, we need to stop and reflect on what we wish to share with others. A few weeks ago, I wrote about setting boundaries and I believe the same applies when sharing personal information with others. Before you share any of your secrets with that wonderful friend, play back previous conversations with this person and imagine yourself being the subject of their conversation. If you feel you would be comfortable in their narratives about you, then go ahead.
Most importantly, when sharing informaton listen to your gut – when my friend shared her story about this birthday lunch meet-up, she spoke of how she felt off through the whole meal. When she reflected on her short friendship with her lunch buddy, she realised that this friend never had anything nice to say about anyone, including her own family members. She recalled one incident where she and her sister met said friend – her sister immediately told her that her friend could not be trusted from one conversation her sister over heard. For a long time, my friend said she wanted her side of the story to be heard – but she never had the chance. After a while, she asked herself if getting her side heard would solve anything – she finally accepted the situation for what it was and moved on.
When friendships end, lets remember that we used to like these people before things changed. Even if the friendship ended with you being betrayed, do the decent thing and try to forget any personal information that was shared with you in confidence. Sometimes we want to get back at people, however, as good as that would feel – always remember that at some point these people were good to you. And even if they were never good to you, there is nothing to be gained by washing their dirty linen in public. It takes maturity to get to this point and I know very well that exercising forgiveness is not something that comes naturally – but like everything else, it takes living consciously and practice to master it.
If you have had information you entrusted to a friend used against you, I am sorry to that you have had to experience this – its not a nice feeling. I truly hope this post helps you start your journey of forgiveness and healing – most importantly good luck in future friendships ; there are good people out there waiting for you to come along. If you have been one to betray a friend by sharing information shared with you in confidence to damage their image – I know you may have felt hurt by them and hope you can also forgive, heal and see that the trust they placed in you was a privilege not to be taken lightly.
I would love to hear from you if you have had a similar experience or have a topic you would like for me to write on. Remember sharing our experiences encourages the dialogue needed to effect the change we seek.
In a world where what you say can easily be used against you – who can you trust? And if my friends today can easily become my enemies tomorrow and use my vulnerable moments against me, what then is the point of building connections?Tweet