Question: When Friends Replace Friends and Dis-Invite You

Anonymous asked:

My friend leaves me out and seemingly purposefully planning things without telling me. We have a mutual friend, every time I will hang out with her the next day I find out my friend has planned something with that same person without me. I try my best to invite her everywhere and I forgive her constantly. She’s admitted she finds herself very selfish. I pray for her. I just want to know how to stop feeling bitter when she is so negative and how to respond to her negativity.

Hey my dear friend, I’m really sorry this is happening.

I know it sucks to be left out of things, especially when it involves mutual friends.  As embarrassing as it sounds, it feels like you’re being cheated on, and it’s a legit feeling.  I will not attempt to smooth that over or water down how you feel.  But I will say: that feeling will get toxic if you’re not sure how to handle it.

I wrote something on this over a year ago that I’d like to quote here:

The hard truth is that friendships can change, sometimes overnight, and can drift apart for no other reason than time or life.  Whether or not you’re actively being “replaced” or the seasons just turn, people move on with or without each other.  It’s not that they’re your enemy, but that life happens.  I do believe in lifetime enduring friendships, but they are a rare bonus blessing that requires a near-perfect mix of variables to work.

While I completely understand your fear of losing a friend … it can imply ownership or possession or obsession. It can be very unhealthy.  Often the “fear” of losing a position with your friend is nothing more than Satan or sin wedging a rift between you two when there really isn’t one.

Friendships are not always permanent things we can control.  If your friend wants to hang out with your mutual friend more than you, it’s possible she feels a different kind of connection with her that you need to be okay with — and if you try to wrestle this away from her, you will lose both of them.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but you might become the nagging third person who they’re not sure how to handle.  That’s why she makes excuses like “I’m selfish,” because she doesn’t know what else to say.   Again, I know this really hurts.  I’ve had plenty of broken friendships over the years that I’ve had to mourn over.  But if you’re saying things like “I forgive her” only because of this issue, then my dear friend: you have a lot to pray over for yourself.  I don’t want to be mean here and I’m not saying you’re wrong: but you can quit praying for her and start praying for you.

I’ve accepted long ago that I can’t be ALL that my friends need at all times, and vice versa.  It is a crushing expectation that no friendship can bear.  If my friend finds comfort and counseling from someone else better at it than me, then I can only be grateful.  In other words: I’m not the only friend who can be a friend for my friend.  I really had to let go of that pride.  I’m simply not the only guy for the job.

So the way to fight jealousy is to celebrate someone when something good happens for them.  Your friend has a friend!  This is good news.  Even if they don’t invite you all the time: as much as it hurts, just let that be.  Don’t overthink it nor analyze nor bust them on it.  Keep inviting your friend anyway.  And if the day comes that life happens and you both drift apart: be thankful for the times you had, and keep your eyes open for new friendships and new seasons.  This is all part of growing up, and God has more in store for you.

Maybe none of this is what you wanted to hear.  But please pray hard through these things.  I say them all in love and truth.  Will throw you a prayer, dear friend.

— J.S.

For a recent message on biblical friendship, click here.

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