Why do friends become enemies

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do friends become enemies

In my previous article Why do friends drift away i explained why friends drift away sometimes. A change in common interests, a serious life style change or a change in the physical location of a friend can make them become distant.

But the question i did not answer in that article was: why do friends become enemies?
And how can a person , who once was a close friend, turn into a enemy?

In order to know the answer to that question you first need to know few things about human psychology.

A friend is a person who cares about you and who enjoys being with you. But in spite of those facts this friend is still considered a human being who is subject to the various types of emotional changes.

Human emotions change all the time, that's a normal thing. But if the intensity of the emotions became strong and if those intense emotions lasted for some time then the person might start questioning things such a their friendship with others. See The reason your emotions keep changing all the time.

How emotions affect people

If you did something that annoyed one of your friends then probably your friend will feel bad for a short period of time until the issue is resolved. Most probably the next time you meet that friend the problem is going to be resolved and so your friend won't have to keep thinking about it for a long period of time. See also How to develop intimacy with friends.

Now what if a certain conflict happened that wasn't resolved at all?
What if a problem happened that resulted in intense emotions that lasted for long period of time?

And no i am not talking about direct conflicts or fights for those usually get easily resolved later on. I am talking about perception problems where your friend starts seeing things from a certain angle, making assumptions about you then developing certain emotions without actually getting back to you about them.

The most common example here is jealousy. If a friend started getting jealous of you then they will start feeling bad around you. As those emotions persist your friend might find that the cost of being friends with you is too high.

As those emotions remain there your friend might actually start disliking you and shortly the friendship can turn into hatred. See Why hatred happens.

Examples of emotional changes

Jealousy was just one example. In real life any kind of unresolved emotional conflict that arises can turn a friend into an enemy. Here are some examples:

  • 1) Feeling inferior around you: If a friend constantly feels inferior to you then those feelings might keep increasing until they end up hating you.
  • 2) Losing to you: If a friend kept losing to you then they might dislike you. If for example your friend liked someone but that person ended up liking you instead then your friend might turn into an enemy. See Why am i losing my friends.
  • 3) Perception problems: Human perception can be very elusive. A friend can easily see something that doesn't exist then strongly believe in it. Shortly this thing can grow bigger and your friend might end up hating you. See Incorrect perception: The Fastest Way to Lose Friends.

So how can those problems be avoided?
The soloution is simple. Genuine and direct communication from both sides can prevent all of those things from happening. To maintain a healthy friendship you have to always speak up your mind whenever you feel like talking. This is more than enough to protect your friendship.

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