It had been a long time since my best friend and I shared an actual hangout. Ever since I’d confronted him about how much time he spent with his new girlfriend, neglecting me in the process, I hadn’t really seen him much.

Our hangout times slowly faded, usually consisting of his calling me, or my calling him, with maybe a few text messages here and there.

But an actual hangout time together? Hardly ever.

He already knew about this girl in my life, way before the feelings for her came, when it was only a thought. I’d told him about her a few months back, when we shared regular hangouts, after he’d first confided that he liked the girl he was dating now.

He encouraged me that I wasn’t crazy, that I could possibly pursue those feelings with her — yet only ever encouraging me through texts.

I kept reminding him that we needed to hang out soon, and one day he finally responded to my pleas. We decided to longboard at our nearest university and just chill over there. I knew he meant it when he said he would make it.

The day came, and we used his car to get to the university. He texted me, and I got the longboards to put in his trunk. I jumped in his ride, and we drove to our destination. We didn’t really say anything beyond some small talk, but since the university was nearby we didn’t really have to talk.

We boarded for a good while, and I was pretty happy we were finally hanging out again. Afterward, we parked in the back area of my apartment complex, and since the weather was warm, we decided to have a long overdue chat.

We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so we caught up on each other’s lives. I went first and told him that I’d finally landed an entry level job for a huge company. It was at least something for me, and I could finally breathe financially. He was happy to hear some good news from me.

He told me about his own job, and he also mentioned his relationship with his girlfriend, how they were doing, and how they were serving together at their church.

Then came the confrontation. The tone changed, and he wanted to get some stuff off his chest.

He told me he didn’t appreciate my butting in on their relationship and trying to save our friendship. That if he had to choose between our friendship or his girlfriend, he’d choose her.

It wouldn’t matter if our friendship died in the end, he said, because things change and we needed to grow up. Things don’t last forever, no matter how hard we try to hold onto them.

To take things further, he also mentioned that none of our friends liked the way I handled situations where I confronted people on their stuff. That I’d hurt a lot of people in the process, and many of them hated me for that.

He said I was doing more damage in the long run whenever I called out something negative in their lives, because they weren’t ready for change. If they wanted to change, it would have to be up to them, and God would reveal it to them whenever they were ready.

I tried to argue why I’d done what I thought was right, but he wasn’t having it. In the end, I just stood there in disbelief. I felt an ugliness in the pit of my stomach, spreading throughout my body, and I hung my head low.

I apologized to my best friend and promised never to say another bad thing about him and his girlfriend — to him or to her.

I gave him a long hug and thanked him for his confrontation. He went back to his car and drove home. I went back into my own house and stood in the living room, processing everything he’d said to me.

Unfortunately, Satan was also there, whispering in my heart that nobody loved me. That I was ultimately a screwup, and I didn’t have a purpose anymore. That everything I’d already done was all for nothing, and everything I’d try in the future would just hurt people, even if I wanted to do good.

Depression hit hard, and I didn’t know if I would make it.

Have you ever been called out by a good friend? Was the callout justified? Have you had to navigate new expectations with a best friend who finds a new girlfriend?

About the Author

  • Thanks for sharing. That’s sounds like it was rough and congratulations on sticking it out, seriously. No disrespect meant to your friend, but him stating an ultimatum of you or his girlfriend if he had to choose, was him missing the point. Also, saying that “other people” feel the same was a b**** move, sorry, that’s what I’m calling it. If those people are believers then they should come to you directly. That comment shows a lack of spiritual maturity on his part. Not a judgment, just going by what scripture teaches us coming to one another when we have disagreement. It says go to the person, not talk s*** behind his back in passivity and gossip. At least that’s not what my bible says. I invite you to consider that you are not at as much “fault” as you think. I invite you to consider that your shame might have been triggered and that you might be tempted to own more than you should. Just some offers of consideration here. My experience of deep male friendships has had everything to do with hearing hard feedback and not playing the victim on either sides of the conversation. It takes PRACTICE, but trust me, so important in my experience. If you feel like the only way he’s going to stay friends is if you keep things “nice”, to me, it feels more like you being hostage to his dislike of hearing things that won’t flatter his ego. Please do an inventory and consider if it’s worth it for you in the long run. Don’t lower the bar because others don’t like it, otherwise you risk being in some perpetual people pleasing slavery that will only in increase your anger and loneliness, not decrease it. I know this one well my brother, I know this one well.
    Lastly you are a powerful man, congratulations on doing the hard thing. Please exercise as much grace and kindness to yourself as possible. I don’t think you were as wrong as your friend was presenting it. I think his views on man to man, cut the bulls*** went outside his cookie cutter version of conflict. I was there once and I grew out of BECAUSE someone said the hard thing and not was a co-conspirator with my own bulls*** and trust me, I got a lot of it! 😉 THAT’S how men “grow up”. Just my opinion here, take what fits and throw out what doesn’t. Much love – J.
    Lastly I’m an 8, I’ve come a long way, thank God.

  • Yessss!! Finally a SSA guy that calls out and osa for neglecting the friendship!! I had the experience myself when my missionary coworker and best friend fell in love with a woman and decided to get married. They took the verse, “forsaking all others and cling to her and to her only” a little too literally. I ended up having to leave the mission field because there suddenly was no place for a single SSA guy on their team. My presence was inconvenient with the married couples. But praise be to God that you stood up to your mate… A same sex God honouring friendship is blessed and sanctified!!!

  • Getting called out sucks — but I end up being thankful for it. Just takes me awhile. Thank you for sharing your story, Matt, though I am sorry for the experience you had to endure in your best friend confronting you so strongly. Even if it is correct, it is still a difficult experience.

  • This comment may bother you, Matt, or maybe it won’t, but I really appreciate your vulnerability. Hearing how a friendship has impacted you in hurtful ways gives me a more rounded picture of you, despite your sarcastic “nothing fazes me” exterior. I’m grateful for you and appreciate your telling this hard story. Eager to hear of the future growth God has for you.

  • Honestly I can’t think of a time I’ve been called out like this, but I kind of wish I had. The closest I’ve had is someone effectively breaking off the relationship but I don’t really consider that “calling out” as it didn’t really start a conversation or give me a chance to fix anything.
    I feel like I would feel a little more secure in my friendships if I could point to a few call-outs in my life. I refuse to believe I’m a perfect friend, so not getting challenging feedback makes me feel like people are just too nice or think I’m just too sensitive to tell me what they really think.

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