Group Therapy is a relationship advice column that asks readers to contribute their wisdom.
A reader writes: I volunteered at a theatre company with a friend whom I’ve known for more than 30 years. Last year, he had a falling out with the company over his behaviour in front of paying clients. He was asked to leave. Since then, he has had nothing to do with the company, and wanted his friends to follow suit. My husband and I have decided to continue our relationship with the company. As a result our friend won’t talk to us, and has cut us completely out of his life. What should I do?
Follow your passion
Don’t give up on something you and your husband are passionate about for someone who after 30 years has given up on you. I was in a similar situation and chose my passion over the friendship. After several years, the friendship was repaired.
The choice I made led to a life-altering opportunity that has granted my family financial freedom in an area I am passionate about.
– Carolyn Monaghan, Whistler, B.C.
Tell him he’s valued
Seems there is a lot of hurt in your friend’s heart. Without knowing the circumstances from his vantage point, one can safely conclude that he feels hard done by and wants everyone to get in his corner.If you feel his dismissal was warranted, you have to decide how you want to proceed. If his friendship is important to you, you need to let him know that. He needs to understand that your continued association with the company has no bearing on your relationship with him and it does not mean that you think any less of him.
– Farhat Rehman, Ottawa
The final word
What happened? Did he want to play Juliet and the theatre told him he didn’t have the figure? I think your friend is a drama queen, and volunteer organizations aren’t in the business of kicking someone out unless the behaviour is truly odious.
Your friend is clearly embarrassed by what happened but he had two options: Take the high road, apologize and move on. An option, by the way, that might have gotten his position back. But instead he took the (albeit easier) low road, pretended it was the theatre’s fault and is now having the adult version of a temper tantrum.
I know his behaviour is making you sad, but your friend is not in kindergarten any more. We don’t cut off friends because they play with people we don’t like in the sandbox.
Your friend is being very selfish by putting you in this position. I agree with Carolyn. Don’t give up on something that you’re passionate about. His lack of maturity shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love.
I understand Farhat’s sentiment about his hurt feelings but it’s more useful to crow to lots of people than to an empty house. If this happened to me (and I’m embarrassed to say how many times it has), I’d throw a pity party and air my grievances loudly to whoever wants to hear. This way you get the best of both worlds – people still think you’re an idiot but you haven’t lost friends.
My advice is to keep the door open and let him know you miss him. I suspect with time and a dose of self-awareness, he’ll eventually realize he’s being childish and seek your company again. The next time you have dinner with him and the subject of the theatre comes up, take the high road – roll your eyes and tell him it’s not that much fun. This way you get to soothe a friend and brush up on your acting skills.
Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Next week’s question
A reader writes: My live-in girlfriend and I have been together for six years, since I was 20. I love her very much and enjoy our time together, but lately I’ve been wondering what else is out there. I’ve never been with anyone else and maybe I just feel I should have more experience before settling down. She’s always been loving and supportive and I don’t want to hurt her, but I can’t get these thoughts out of my head. Help?
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