Dear Thelma: Feeling hurt, angry and betrayed by my friends

Do you need a listening ear? Thelma is here to help. Email

The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

Those contemplating suicide can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 / 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 / 019-261 5999 on WhatsApp); Jakim’s family, social and community care centre (011-1959 8214 on WhatsApp); or Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929 / email / befrienders centres in malaysia).

Dear Thelma,

The five of us were good friends from secondary school days. We were a close-knit group.

We kept in touch after leaving school. We have gone on outings and celebrated festive occasions and our birthdays together.

We are all young working adults now.

Recently, I had a fallout with one of them, whom I considered my best friend, over my planning for her birthday.

What happened was, no one wanted to plan the gathering, so I took it upon myself to do it.

It was hard to get everyone to agree on the venue, but in the end, I chose the place and everyone agreed on it.

But when one of them got to the venue first, it was closed! She was fuming mad with me, although I told her that when I googled the place, it was said to be open. Was it my fault that the place was closed?

So I suggested another place, and everyone agreed. It was a normal eatery but the food was good. We all had a great time chatting and laughing. Or so I thought.

But the next day, the birthday girl said that she felt the venue was not up to her standard. She was quite upset that we hadn't celebrated her birthday in a nicer place.

Some of the others also weren't happy with my planning, etc. One by one, they found fault with me.

A few weeks later, I found out that they had gone on a holiday together without inviting me! I felt hurt, angry and betrayed by them.

It's been months and I still cannot get over what they've done to me, excluding me from the group like that. Maybe this is the end of the road for our friendships.

Sad and angry

I'm sorry you're having a bad time. Transitioning from school friends to adult friends can be tough. I'm seeing several threads here, and can see several possibilities.

First, nobody wanted to plan the gathering and it was hard to get them to agree. It may be normal for your group, but I'm wondering if they were simply too busy.

With lockdown over and people back to working crazy hours, it can be difficult to find a two-hour window for a meal with friends.

Then there's the travel to and from the place in the monsoon season where you might get stuck in jams or floods, too. Perhaps they didn't want to meet up?

Second, your planning was to google a place and appoint it as the venue.

My dear, you should know better. Planning a group outing includes making a reservation, especially for a birthday. If you don't, you end up at a bad table or waiting in a line or, as you discovered, finding the place closed.

When planning a get-together, you have to make sure it works. People's time is valuable, so it's a matter of respect. You should have called and booked a table.

If I'd been busy, talked into a meeting and found the place shut, I would not have been happy. I would expect an apology – but I'd also forgive because these things happen, especially when you're young.

If your letter had stopped there, I'd suggest you have an open talk where you apologised for not booking the place and to figure out if maybe you pushed them into meeting when they really didn't want to.

However, the complaint by the birthday girl that the venue was not up to her standard blew me away. What an entitled chit of a woman! Ungrateful, spoilt and bad-mannered too.

Not everyone likes birthdays, but if you do and your friends go out of their way to spend time with you, you're grateful. It's not about where you go or what you do. It's about love and being together.

Then there's the matter of going on holiday together and you feeling they have deliberately cut you out.

If it's something simple, like they went diving and you don't swim, that would be reasonable. However, when friends usually do things together, then that kind of issue is discussed in advance.

Part of adulting is to understand that friends do not have to do everything together. As you have found, organising a group outing is a challenge.

So, when a group has an event and it's not for everyone, we reach out and talk. Nicely. Openly.

With the entitlement of the birthday girl and the way they left you out, I suspect bullying. It is possible that they did this deliberately in order to hurt you.

I think you should take some time and evaluate. You've known these women a long time but do you actually like them? And do they generally treat you well?

If the answer is no, then move on and find some friends.

If you do like them, and you generally have a good relationship, have an open, honest conversation.

It's difficult to address a group, especially when there's been a quarrel, so pick one of them and talk to her. Then talk to the others by turn. Aim to reset the relationship so you communicate gently and with kindness.

I hope this helps you find a positive way forward. Good luck and know I'll be thinking of you.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Living

Malaysians wear saree and finish 5km charity run in Penang
Dear Thelma: My future is uncertain due to my sibling
Pets Tales: A joyful giving Christmas
2022 Architecture Drawing Prize celebrates built design through artistic expressions
Villages retaken by Ukrainian troops: Rescued but feeling abandoned
Heart and Soul: Flying Doctor in the Land of Hornbills
Celebrating one of Scotch whisky’s most influential women – Janet Harbinson of The Macallan
A toast to Arthur: Guinness launches first official flagship outlet in KL
Sea levels expected to rise as Greenland ice sheet thins
How the rise of knitting is fighting stress, as well as fast fashion

Others Also Read