And flatmate makes three

What to do when someone comes between you and your bestie?

Friends are important, says our elder, but you’ve got to be a best friend to yourself.

Dear EWC:

So it started when my best friend and I moved in with a mutual friend. It was good at first but then my best friend started to pull away and then she started treating the other friend really well, and we then grew more apart. It affected me a lot.

When I told her about it, she told me that this is in my head but when I told her about the things that I noticed, she had nothing to say. It’s like everything our other friend says is what she listens to and she only stays with her. I feel so alone. I do not have any friends either. And this mutual friend is really very rude to me for no reason. She is older than us so we do not say anything out of respect but she treats all other flatmates badly as well and my best friend sort of ignores it.

My best friend and I have been together for 13 years. We grew up together and came to Canada together. Since the day we moved to this new house, I cannot find happiness; I try a lot but I feel alone. I do not know how to fit in them and it feels horrible. All I want to do is go somewhere no one knows me. I do not want to be sad, but when I see that my best friend has changed, it is like a punch to the gut. It feels like I am left with nothing, since I have no family here either.

Greenleaf replies:

I see that you’re going through a difficult time, but I believe you can move through this with grace. First, you can simplify by realizing that the only person you have control over is you. Friends are important, and I’ve been through my share of ups and downs with relationships. It is very hard when you want to be friends with someone who, for whatever reason, changes the dynamics of the friendship. All you can do is be the best friend you can be, but most importantly, be a best friend to yourself. Loving, respecting, and forgiving yourself has to be your priority in order for friendships with others to thrive.

I would like you to feel empowered, not powerless. Though you have no control over your friend and her behavior, you do have complete control over your responses and your behavior. Rather than continuing to approach her for now, I would suggest pursuing other interests, especially your own self-care. My experience has shown me that the basis for all good relationships is self-love and self-forgiveness. Focus on your well being first, and if your friend really cares about you, she will approach you on her own.

Find activities that help you feel energized: Nature, music, dance, art, phone calls with other friends or family, a walk or run, a bubble bath, meditation, or a new hobby. Even in the midst of COVID-19, we can find activities that help us feel good. There are hundreds of YouTube videos that can teach you something new and enjoyable. Be good to yourself!

The truth is your best friend needs to feel free to choose whom she hangs out with, just as you have the right to choose your own friends. If your older flatmate treats you poorly, however, you don’t have to take it. Let her know that you are a person with feelings who deserves kindness and respect, and make sure you treat her and others in the same way. Whether it is integrity with another person or within yourself, it is important to feel good about who you are and where you stand.

Once you try the above suggestions and feel better about yourself, you will naturally feel better about your dilemma. Motivation and discernment for decisions about friendships will be easier, and you will once again feel yourself a person who knows what they want and how to take good care of themselves to ensure their well being within and outside of relationships. I believe in you. I hope this has been helpful, as you are clearly a lovely, caring, intelligent person with much to offer the world. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors.


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