I lied to my friend


He was once my closest friend. We met in our first year at university, and ended up living together for the whole time we were there. In our third year, we had this little apartment overlooking the seafront and I have loads of wonderful memories of the fun we had there. We did everything together, and shared all our secrets.

When I married my wife, there was no doubt that he would be my best man. I thought he would be my best friend for life. But the person I am today is not the person who was in that friendship. We had a lot of adventures together, but they were mostly adolescent and hedonistic – as befitted the time in our lives.

That time of heavy drinking, drug taking and one-night-stands was exciting and fun, and on the whole I don’t regret it. But it isn’t where I’m at today. I’ve grown. I’ve settled down. I’ve had to work on myself because I couldn’t keep using all those things to escape from the reality of my life. My friend knows all of this, but it’s like he doesn’t want to absorb it.

He doesn’t take this on board because he hasn’t changed. He really hasn’t changed at all. He’s still the same crazy, reckless guy I had all that fun with back then. And now we can’t relate to one another anymore. Since my breakdown, I’ve been on this long, painful, massively significant journey, and he doesn’t really want to know about that. He still ignores the fact that I’m working at sobriety and brings me a bottle of Scotch when he visits.

Those visits are few and far between, because he now lives on the other side of the world. But I still feel crappy about the last time I saw him, over six months ago. I feel like I must be incredibly boring to him now, and like we barely know each other anymore. He isn’t interested in my recovery, and I don’t want to hear about his wild, drunken escapades, so there’s nothing connecting our lives anymore. I felt like his last visit with me must have been a chore to him, and I don’t want to be a chore.

So when he told me he’d be in the UK for Christmas, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I didn’t want to see him and go through all those horrible feelings again. But I couldn’t tell him that. I go every week to a CoDA fellowship, where we focus on authentic relationships and communication, so I knew this was ‘bad’ recovery, but I lied anyway. I made excuse after excuse while he suggested date after date. Maybe that’s because I don’t want to upset him, but I think it’s also because I don’t want to really admit to myself that this friendship is dead. That feels too sad, like such a big loss.

At the same time, I am jaded when it comes to pushing myself to be authentic. I tried that with my sister just before Christmas, and she was harsh and distant and selfish in response. That risk backfired and basically resulted in me feeling resentful toward her and despairing about the future of our relationship. I laid it all out there, and she ignored my honesty about how I feel and chose to effectively punish me for not behaving how she wanted me to.

Then there’s the crap I went through with the eating disorders clinic. Telling them everything about myself, answering all their humiliating questions, and being sent away and told they won’t help me.

Being open with people, telling them my truth, taking those risks that feel so massive – right now I am not sure it’s how I want to live. It is so much bloody hard work, it’s painful, and most of the time it seems to get me nowhere. I’m ashamed of the lie I told my friend. I’m really sad that I lied to someone I once had a very real relationship with. But I also just don’t have the energy to handle things in a better way.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. bravingmentalillness says:

    I hear you. I’ve been there, but I think toxic influences whether people, and places don’t have a face nor are they worth sacrificing my wellbeing. The truth hurts, but it’s the best. 😉 good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leo says:

    If you want my honest opinion, a true friend is there through the pain and the laughter. I have been blessed to have friends that I can cry with, and share my darkest fears and passions, otherwise there is no point. Why hide that side of yourself? A real friend would embrace your growth as a person and help you be better even if they don’t know how to be yet. Not drag you down. Maybe he will become that one day. You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Me says:

    Sometimes it is ok to lie now, to protect yourself until you are strong enough to be honest. It is good to be grounded and feel safe in yourself before you tell someone that truth that is hurtful and to a person who you feel is manipulative to you at times. The truth will come out eventually, but hopefully when you feel strong and powerful in your own self to deliver it kindly and yet definitively.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      wise words – thank you


  4. DV says:

    No matter how much people *say* they want to hear the truth, they often don’t really, and react badly to it. Plus, a badly delivered truth can be very hurtful no matter how well intentioned. Some people use truth like a weapon. I get that honesty and authenticity are worthwhile long term goals, but they take a lot of strength and a knowledge of what you want from a relationship – and sometimes you just don’t have that. Often you need to stall for time while you work out what you want and how to get it without hurting yourself or other people too much in the process, and sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to get you through. I think you did okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      I’m glad you think I did OK. It’s tough feeling like doing the wrong thing is all I can manage.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like you’ve tried being authentic and truthful with your friend (and others) in the past and more recently but it’s got you nowhere and left you feeling rubbish. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you need to survive and take care of your needs. Sometimes a lie is better than opening up a huge can of worms just before Christmas. Maybe the time for the ‘we’ve grown apart and our lives have changed’ conversation will happen but at the same time perhaps the relationship will just slowly fade without that – you don’t always need to talk through these things. Sometimes relationships just fade out over time…or you can let them. Don’t beat yourself up for doing what you needed to do at a very difficult time. You’ve been let down a lot recently and it’s hard to keep opening up in the face of such disappointments. Don’t shut down or stop putting yourself out there, just don’t waste energy in futile interactions (i.e. With your friend). You must prioritise your own needs and your own recovery right now and you know that seeing this friend would have been difficult. I think you did the right thing and I think you are being hard on yourself. It’s too early for a proper response here but I guess I’m trying to say, be kind to yourself xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks, I know you’re right really. I just can’t help feeling like I’ve taken the easy option instead of doing what was right and honest. Maybe I have to be OK with that for now.


  6. bethanyk says:

    I thought I commented on this but now I see I didn’t.
    I feel like you did the right thing for your own inner self and you shouldn’t feel badly for that

    Liked by 1 person

  7. manyofus1980 says:

    I’m sorry you felt you had to lie. But…sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get through, to survive. Its hard, but necessary. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. La Quemada says:

    I have to agree with those who say sometimes you have to give yourself the space to lie. Obviously you can’t live your whole life that way–the inauthenticity of that will rise up and smack you straight in the face, anyway.

    But you’ve tried to share your difficult recovery journey with your friend and been met by a bottle of Scotch. That wasn’t helpful, and you have no reason to think you’d get something better this time around. Given how hard things have been, it sounds like you made a decision that prioritizes your own needs (for example, not to receive a bottle of Scotch, not to feel boring, not to have the loss of a once close relationship stare you straight in the face). That is entirely legitimate.

    “Honesty is the best policy” is best taken, in my view, as a general orientation for your life but not a strict code for every person, every day, in every situation. I don’t think that makes me immoral. It means I have discretion and pay attention to context. I hope you can give yourself a break and take this experience that way, at least this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks for that Q, you always have a great way of putting thing in perspective.


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