When Friends Treat Us Badly



I am facing a problem with a friend. She had insulted me in the past a couple of times and was never sorry about that . I decided to stop talking to her because trying to make her understand how she was making me feel did not work. I completely ignored her presence . As a result of this, she has started spreading false stories about me to the rest of my friends .My daily meditation is getting affected due to this .Please guide me as to what i can do to become less sensitive and more strong.

—R.Nandini, India


Dear Friend,

I am sorry to hear about your friend’s treatment of you. Sometimes it takes courage and humility to reverse the momentum of negativity caused by hurt, regardless of who is “at fault.”

As a meditator, try to see the hurt as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and to grow in wisdom and unconditional love.

No matter who is to blame, can you consider or imagine taking the first step in changing things? By this I do not mean to resolve or solve the past hurts. That would be wonderful, of course, but it may be an unrealistic expectation.

Instead see if you can imagine yourself relaxing into a more normal and natural friendliness rather than “completely ignor[ing] her presence.” Nothing has to be said about the past or about lies or hurts – just a smile, a “Hi, how are you! Good to see you!” kind of normal friendliness.

This would not necessarily be a desire to re-establish a friendship, so much as to stem the tide of back-and-forth negativity.

This approach doesn’t require “talking it out” but constitutes a signal from you of the desire to let go of past hurt. Ponder the fact that all of us make mistakes, say unkind things about or to others, or otherwise do things we shouldn’t and regret them.

Further, for all you know this is what she is like (hopefully not, however). But if it were, well, you can’t change her, can you?

Disliking her and showing it with rejection or cold aloofness not only doesn’t change her but makes you feel bad for expressing dislike. So, why not do yourself a favor and let it go: show her in this simple but subtle way that you are “past it now.”

Naturally you may not be eager to re-establish a friendship, or perhaps you would like to and in time that, too, can happen – and even some healing and open hearted forgiveness. But for now, those should not necessarily be your goal.

If you can let it go in your own way, it will help her to let it go in hers. Your meditations will improve, probably immediately. I know this isn’t necessarily easy but then, you want to be happy, don’t you? So what’s more important: hanging on to a hurt, or being happy?!

The choice is always ours. As our beloved Mahatma used to say, “Be the change you seek.”

Nayaswami Hriman