Keep getitng backstabbed by "friends", help?
I've been having a lot issues with people whom i thought were friends lately and its been making me feel really depressed and given a cynical outlook on life. I now feel very reluctant to help people because i always think they are out to take advantage of me. Any advice would be appreciated.
Case #1 : I used to hang out with a particular group of friends. One of them (let's call him Jack) was really helpful and always helped our friends when we needed it, and did a lot of favors for them as well. One day however, he threw a huge tantrum because there was a certain event that he wanted to go to, which required a minimum number of people. I declined not to go and requested that he find someone else (there was plenty of time to do so), but he was not happy because it would have meant he would have to go ask others.
A few days later, he gave another friend a lot of stuff that he had been looking for (no special occasion). When i didn't do the same (this came totally out of the blue, we hadn't been talking about this at all nor had our friend asked us for help), he accused me of being a terrible friend for not giving people free stuff like what he did, and tried to get all our friends to stop associating with me.
To my total surprise, most of our friends did that, because they had all gotten free stuff from him and felt the need to pay him back. I literally had all these people coming to me in private saying "Hey, sorry man, i don't like this, but i need to stop hanging out with you to pay Jack back....". There were also a few who just openly admitted to me that they were going to hang out with Jack instead in hopes of getting more stuff from him. The friends who did stick by me all happened to be the same ones who hadn't gotten free stuff from him, funningly enough...
But this wasn't enough for Jack apparently, because from then on he kept trying to get everyone to stop associating with me. If i were hanging out wtih friends of a friend for example, he would try to get them to ditch me for him, and offer them incentives to do so (hey, i have tickets for this event, come with me instead!). When i met new people, he would somehow find out about it and approach them to tell them all kinds of stories about what a horrible person i was, to try and scare them off. He also kept trying to convince an old friend (one of the ones who hadn't ditched me for him) for months to ditch me...coincidentally, said friend had a very nice car, and Jack didn't have one....
Almost all of our mutual acquaintances do not care about anything he has done though. As far as they are concerned, Jack has never done anything to them specifically so they really could care less what he did to me. And Jack always made it a point to be very nice to most people, flattering them, doing favors for them, buying little gifts for them, etc. It really dissapoints me that people are so shallow to judge a person only by how he treats them, but not others...
Jack hasn't been seen in a while, but i have no idea what to do if he pops up again. Confronting him seems unlikely to work, because he will just deny everything in public, and asking him nicely to go away is obviously not going to work. I'm also devastated that the lure of free stuff was enough to make so many of my "friends" cut off contact with me.
Case #2 : I run a club with a group of friends, and we do a lot of activities together. One day, a friend of a friend joined the club and seemed like a nice guy. Then he got the idea to use twitter (social media site) for our club, in order to enhance communication. I was worried that this would split the club into two groups, a twitter group and a non twitter group, but he brushed my concerns aside. He pushed for the use of twitter very aggressively and a lot of people from our club started using it.
Fast forward a few months later, and my worry turned out to be true. The club was now split into two, and the twitter group would do all kinds of activities without informing the non twitter group. They had other ways of contacting us...texts, phone calls, emails, etc...but they wouldnt use any of it to contact us, and instead simply demanded we join them on twitter or be left out. Any attempt to discuss it politely with them failed because they would just insist that it was our fault for not using twitter to communicate with them, and no, they would not communicate with us in any way other than twitter.
Any attempt by us to involve the twitter group in our activities, were either met with complete indifference or they simply used us as when it was convenient for them. For example, once we waited an hour for two people from the twitter group to show up, after which they texted us to say that they were ditching us to do something with the twitter group instead. We did not get a single apology from them and the twitter group said it wasn't their problem, all they did was present them the opportunity. And still, even though we invited them to activities, they would never once invite any of us to any of their activities. And they kept pushing the twitter thing to our members...and most of the people who did, became part of their clique and wouldnt do anything with us anymore.
As a last resort i attempted to start using twitter. However, they then demanded that i install a smart phone app for it which they would use to announce last minute events, which they said was the entire point of using twitter. If i didnt have the smart phone app to get realtime updates, i would miss it, and well, tough luck. There was also no opportunity to try and arrange something so the non-twitter members could get involved, because they were only interested in people on a first come first served basis. Again, their solution was to use twitter, or get left out. They got so angry that i was not using the smartphone app that eventually they started yelling at me and demanding to know why i wouldnt use it, saying it was an insult to them, and making sarcastic remarks like i couldnt figure out how to install it. Attempting to talk it out just resulted in more yelling and demands that i follow "the rules".
The friend of a friend who had seemed so nice and helpful previously now never contacts any of us simply because we are not on twitter, and has openly admitted he doesn't care if we have any problems because we are not on twitter. At the same time pushing twitter and the smart phone app as the magical cure for all issues. We have been given an ultimatum, use twitter with the smart phone app, or get ignored and keep having problems with the club.
The club that we worked so hard on, full of friends that enjoyed spending time doing things with each other, is now ruined because of this one person....who seems to want his own personal club to rule over, and was using our club to get his initial members. Like the previous case, nobody seems to care what the twitter group has done....they only care what the twitter group is capable of doing for them, and with most of our ex-members, they have the ability to offer something we can't. I am really torn over what to do here, suck it up and do everything their way, simply wash my hands of the club, or keep struggling along...
I have a number of other stories to tell, but they all share similar themes to these two so i won't go into detail. Mostly of people who at first, appeared to be really nice...but was using it to hide their true intentions and take advantage of people. I don't know how i can start trusting people again or find out that they won't stab me in the back?
Re: Keep getitng backstabbed by "friends", help?
Woah, it sucks to be having one friendship conflict, let alone two like you have described! And I'm so sorry that this has given you a more cynical view of life, like you said. But it is great that you are posting on here searching for a solution to the problems.
For Case #1, I think the first thing I would do would be to think about how important you friendships with Jack and those who have taken his side are for you. I think these friends of Jack would be taking his side, so to speak, for one of two reasons. Firstly, they haven't consciously noticed that the gifts he has been buying them are making them feel more affectionate towards him, so they probably haven't even noticed that they are becoming closer friends with him and becoming less close with you. Alternatively, they have noticed him buying gifts for them as a way to show he wants to be their friend, and they have accepted and approved of this. For those friends in the first category, with time it will become obvious to them the way Jack has been acting and then they will either start to pull away from him, because they don't want to be friends with someone who just buys them things, or they will move into that second category. As for the second category of friends, if I was you I would try to again evaluate how much their friendship means to me, because if you decide you wouldn't like to be friends with people whose affections are easily "bought" so to speak, realising this may make accepting the fact they are now friends with Jack instead of you easier to do and get through.
Another thing that may be useful to think about is that perhaps Jack finds it more difficult to make friends the conventional way, via communication and trust, so feels as if the only way he make friends is to buy them gifts. Thinking about this probably won't make you want to be his friend again or to forgive him for what he has done for you, but it may make it easier to see his perspective, and easier for you to evaluate how important people like him (as in his friends who accept his gift-giving as their reason to be friends with him) are to you. With this in mind, here is some information on what makes a good friend and what makes a bad friend that you might like to look at to help you decide which of these friends are worth fighting for.
As for Case #2, again I would try to evaluate what is more important for me personally, that is, either sticking to my guns and stepping away from the club, or keep trying to bring harmony back to the club that you have obviously worked so hard to set up and run. It is really a personal choice for you, about what you believe is more important for yourself. Have you tried communicating with the non-twitter group about what you guys can do as a team to try and either sort stuff out with the other half of the group, or work out whether you want to form another group away from the twitter group? I guess it really just about communicating and finding that balance between maintaining your relationships, and standing up for what you believe is the right thing to do.
Other than that, I guess I can't really give you much more advice than to be assertive in your communication with all of your friends, so that you can get your point across whilst maintaining repsect for yourself and showing respect for the other person. With that in mind, here is a factsheet on effective communication you might like to look at. And again, if you do communicate assertively but find that this fails with people who do not cooperate and listen to your opinion, I would have a serious think about whether I would want someone who is not willing to listen to me or consider my point of view in my life at all.
I'm sorry my reply is so long and repetitive, I just hope I could help in any small way!
Re: Keep getitng backstabbed by "friends", help?
Thanks, those links do help.
However i still have the following problems :
1. What do i do if Jack continues to make life difficult for me, by trying to get people to stop associating with me?
2. How do i tell if someone who seems nice at first really is nice, or is putting on a facade to try and take advantage of me later on?
In general i've noticed most people refuse to communicate. They blow me off, or simply insist that what they are doing is right, end of discussion. This pretty much happens everytime i try to work something out with people...
Today, the guy from case #2 texted me today. He wanted me to help him do something. At first i said yes...then i asked him whether he had changed his mind about refusing to communicate outside twitter. He then got pissed and said he hadn't changed his mind at all, and refused to reply any further. So he's willing to text me to ask for a favor but not for anything else....wow....
Re: Keep getting backstabbed by "friends", help?
Mmmmmmm those are tricky ones.. I guess for your question about Jack, there is not much you can do apart from again trying to communicate with him and perhaps asking him if he has an issue with you and what it is. But if that doesn't work, I guess you will have to trust that those who are your true friends will stick by you. It's like what you said about them in the first place, they remain friends with Jack because they feel as if he hasn't done anything wrong by them, only by you, so they don't want to get involved. I think that maybe if Jack continues to do what he is doing it will become more noticeable to your other friends how he is behaving and how it is effecting you. If this happens your true friends will not "turn against you" just because Jack tries to get them too, instead they will decide that they will remain friends with you because you have done nothing against them. So I guess what I am trying to say is that with time, as Jack's behaviour becomes more obvious, they will probably shift their behaviour to stay friends with you, much in the way they are acting to stay friends with Jack at the moment. I hope that makes sense.
As for your second question, it often so difficult to tell whether you can really trust a person from the get go. But I think the most sensible thing to do is to reciprocate that person's actions while still taking the relationship slow enough to gain each other's trust. What I mean is, if you meet someone who seems really nice, then take that at face value and act in a kind way towards them. While you do this, of course you should open up to them and trust them enough to get to know them, but allow a lot of time for that friendship to grow before trusting them with your most personal information. So again, I guess your main ally here is time, so you can let your relationship grow until you can learn to fully trust the person.
I guess the most important thing to remember is that every relationship is different, so what worked in one of your friendships may not work in the next.
I'm sorry I can't offer more concrete advice, as I haven't experienced what you are going through. I really wish there was some sort of universal friendship manual that could tell us the exact way to behave in every single relationship! But because there isn't, I guess my advice is just a guide based on my own relationship conflicts, so I hope it can help in any small way!
Re: Keep getitng backstabbed by "friends", help?
> Case #1
It can be very disappointing to know that those you thought you could trust turn around and backstab you this way. I'm sorry to hear that all of these people decided to leave you behind. As for this Jack kid, I'd say that this is a form of bullying as it seems that he is bribing others to get his own way. I would say that you could try talk to him to find out why he is doing this to you and to other people. If not, talking to someone you trust like a counsellor could also provide you with more guidance.
> Case #2
I also had a very similar situation quite recently too, where one person tried to overtake an entire club with minimal contact across all members. Taking control and setting a meeting amongst all or the majority of members can help in addressing recent events and how they can fix it. The point of a club is to co-operate and to socialise with like-minded people. If this friend of a friend was very aggressive in their approach, I'm sure that with rationality and logic, they are most likely going to end up as a 'party of one'. But if the meeting doesn't work, I don't think you should suck it up and just continue into Struggletown with this one if it makes you very unhappy.
It can be difficult to 'leave it all behind', particularly if it's something that you've put a lot of time and effort into. But if you are struggling because others won't listen or respect your opinions, it's not worth going on like that. Taking some time out - some alone time - just to gather your thoughts can greatly help with situations like these. This way, you can evaluate what friendship means to you and how you trust people. It is very possible to trust people again - don't lose hope!
Hope this helps~
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