It's painful when your best friend becomes your worst enemy. You feel betrayed and you struggle to understand how someone so close to you could drift so far away. Many times there are hurtful recriminations that you struggle to understand – and there may be some responsibility on your end as well. In many ways, losing a close friend is worse than a break up, because this is your person, your confidante, your bestie. However, there are ways you can cope when your best friend becomes your worst enemy.
1. Try to Talk It out
The first thing you need to do when your best friend becomes your worst enemy is to try and talk it out. It's best if you can do it when you feel the friendship starting to slide into enemy territory, but if that's not possible, at least give it a try as soon as possible. You may need to wait until certain wounds scab over or until tempers cool a little, but if you want to salvage the friendship, it's worth a shot. Understand, however, that talking it out won't always be possible.
2. Take Time to Grieve
As I mentioned, the end of a friendship is sometimes even more painful than the end of a romantic relationship. Give yourself time to grieve it, even if things do end up getting better. Losing your friend hurts, and you won't be the same again. You may not be able to trust another BFF any time soon, and you need to give yourself time to deal with that.
3. Branch out Your Friendships
Don't isolate yourself, however, and don't shut out all your other friends. More importantly, don't let this one ending keep you from at least trying to get close to other friends, even if they're new ones. You're not trying to make your old bestie jealous here, but you need to branch out into new friendships. Surround yourself with people you like, people with whom you have things in common, people who seem trustworthy.
4. Don't Give in to Insults
Unfortunately, it's somewhat common for new frenemies to get catty with one another. Insults, put downs, and accusations abound as two people who were once so close now use secrets and closely guarded confessions to strike out at one another. Don't give into that, even if your former friend is doing it. Be the bigger woman and hold onto your dignity – even if it seems like she's goading you into responding. In fact, at that point you should make it a special point to hold back and keep your tongue in check.
5. Ignore the Situation
Sometimes you have to ignore your former friend. It will be hard, especially if you really miss her or if she's going out of her way to hurt you, but now's not the time to make amends or to engage in verbal warfare. If you ignore her antics, she'll quickly lose steam. Besides, if she's saying bad things about you, your remaining true friends aren't going to believe her; they know you.
6. Try to Understand
This is hard too, but you should try to understand what went wrong, especially if you're looking for closure or have any hope of someday repairing the friendship. You have to take responsibility if you played a part in the rift and to do that, you have to understand what happened. You can't blame everything on her and she can't blame everything on you.
7. Keep It Cordial
If you run in the same circles, work in the same place, or live in the same town, you can't always ignore the situation. That's okay. Just stay cordial. By being as polite as possible, then again, you come off as the bigger woman and you retain your self respect. In this kind of situation, that's incredibly important.
8. Look for Distractions
As with any breakup, distractions will help get you through. Find a new hobby, new friends to hang out with, or new things to do. Throw yourself into work or studying, take up yoga, get some exercise, and don't dwell on your past friendship. Reflection is one thing, and there's a time for that, but don't make it the only thing you ever think about or you'll drive yourself crazy.
9. Realize It's Time to Move on
Sometimes friendships can be repaired but at other times, there's just too much damage. Maybe time will heal those wounds, but that doesn't always happen. Maybe you have no interest in rekindling your relationship, or perhaps your friend is quits for good. Whatever the case, realize when you're beating a dead horse and do everything you can to move on in a new direction.
If you're lucky, you've never had to deal with this frankly devastating situation. If you have, you know how extremely hard it is. Do you have any tips to share on how you got over the heartache? Let us know how you got through, and if you were ever able to reconcile when your bestie became your biggest frenemy.