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When Friends Fight: The Girl With Two Faces

The Fight
Tara and Beth met in dance class and became close friends very quickly. Soon Beth felt comfortable talking to Tara about her most private thoughts and feelings, and Tara always seemed willing to lend a sympathetic ear. One day after school, Beth heard some other girls talking, and they were saying things about her that only she and Tara knew. Later, Beth found out that Tara was talking behind her back, and even spreading gossip and rumors about her. Beth didn't understand how Tara could be so nice when she was with her, and be a totally different person when they were apart. She made up her mind to get even, and the next day at school, Beth started spreading terrible lies about Tara. The next time they saw each other, all they could do was say mean things.

What's Going On?
It's clear that Tara was not being a very good friend to Beth when she spread gossip and rumors about her. Why did Tara start doing this? Is she just a mean person? Probably not. There might be something else going on here.

Beth eventually found out that Tara's problem came from jealousy. Tara was envious of Beth's nice clothes and expensive things, and began to feel like Beth was always showing off her stuff. Tara also hated the fact that Beth often treated her like a therapist rather than a friend, always laying her problems on her and then acting like Tara's own problems weren't as big a deal.

Tara's insecurity led her to start spreading gossip about her friend, and doing this gave her a feeling of power that almost made up for the feelings of guilt she got from talking about Beth behind her back.

Ways to End this Fight
Tara Could:

  • Apologize to Beth for being a two-faced friend and for spreading gossip about her.
  • Explain that she felt jealous towards Beth and was upset that Beth treated her like a therapist.
  • Admit that she was still wrong to break Beth's trust.
  • Promise not to act like this again.

Beth Could:

  • Admit she was wrong to dump all her problems on Tara without allowing her to do the same.
  • Let Tara know that she can always come to her and talk things out rather than take out her anger by being mean.
  • Apologize for taking revenge and admit that this was the wrong way to handle her feelings.

Keys to Avoiding This Fight

  • Honesty. If Tara had been honest with Beth about her feelings of jealousy, the friends might have been able to talk things out. But Tara held her resentment in and let it build up until it came out in a very hurtful way.

  • Trust. Beth trusted Tara with her thoughts and feelings, and Tara broke that trust by gossiping with other girls. Trust is a key ingredient in strong friendships, and a friend shouldn't break another friend's trust unless she feels that her friend is in danger and needs the help of an adult.

  • Sensitivity. Perhaps Beth should have been more sensitive to Tara's needs for friendship. She might have seen that she was using Tara as a person to complain to, and they were not doing enough fun stuff together.

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