Friendship Issues in College: How to Deal With a Backstabbing Friend & Move on With Your Life

Getting stabbed in the back by a friend is the virtual equivalent of eating five McRibs over the span of five minutes: it’s messy, it’s unappealing, and you feel sick to your stomach afterward.

The methods of combating the two, however, are different (unless you think eating Pepto-Bismol will work for hearts as well as it works for stomachs. Hint: it doesn’t.)

So how do you get over a friendship that has been broken (sometimes beyond repair)? What do you do when the people you trust the most can’t be trusted? How do you deal with a backstabbing friend?

Caesar Stabbing painting

1. Breathe.

Literally, inhale and then exhale. Repeat this step twenty times or until you’re calm.

Once you’re relaxed (or at least able to breathe regularly without a paper bag), proceed to the next step.

2. Call another friend.

Or your mother. Or a sibling. Or yourself. Just talk. It can be about how you feel, what you’re thinking, what you think you’re friend is thinking… just keep speaking. It’s very cathartic. You’ll feel better. Remember to keep breathing.

3. Breathe some more.

Also important: take nice, deep breaths. No short gasps for air. You need quality breathing at a time like this.

4. Do something you like.

Reread your favorite book. Make a black bean pizza. Take a walk outside. If the weather’s crappy, by all means stay inside and watch some trashy reality TV program. In short, take your mind off the situation.

5. Move on with your life.

Here’s the deal: your friend was absolutely wrong to stab you in the back.

It was a cowardly, nasty action that I only hope will be eradicated sometime in the future (we’ve got scientists working on that, right?) However, life goes on.

You’ll begin to feel something in the coming days: it could be rage, it could be sadness, it could be acceptance. Whatever it is, don’t let it dictate your life.

There’s a fine line between thinking logically and emotionally and you, right now, are towing it. Don’t let your feelings get the best of you and just try to keep on living. That might be easier said than done, but I know just how you feel. And you’re a strong person to have made it this far. You’re doing better already.

Note: I’m not going to deter you from making a revenge plan if you think that’s the right route to go, but remember: revenge almost never runs its course in an unbroken, cinematic fashion unless you’re a member of the Corleone family or Uma Thurman in a yellow jumpsuit—and even then, things tend to get messy. Way messy.

In the end, accept that your friendship may be over and your life will be better without that negative person in your life anymore. Who needs a backstabbing friend anyway? Not me, not you.

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