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Positively Speaking: Friend to foe


By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of man named Toby Moore
Toby Moore

Life has a way of testing us, throwing curveballs when we least expect them.

You may find yourself doing everything right, working diligently toward a shared goal with someone you trust, only to discover that your paths suddenly diverge.

Sadly, friends can become foes, partners become adversaries, and the existing harmony shatters into discord.

The emotional toll of a close friendship descending into animosity can be profound, mainly if you’ve depended on this person. The anxiety triggered by such a rift can be overwhelming, leading to sleepless nights and constant worry.

I’ve seen this unfold in my life. I once teamed up with an old friend to launch a new venture. We were inseparable initially, sharing dreams and building something from scratch. But as the years rolled on, our visions diverged. He had a very different idea of what the business should be. He wanted to keep it small, and I wanted to grow the company because the money wasn’t there yet. I thought expansion was the only way forward, but he felt by keeping it small and exclusive; eventually, we’d have success.

Our once-healthy debates turned into bitter arguments, and eventually, the friendship that had flourished for so long soured.

These situations are complex and emotionally charged. It’s not just about clashing business strategies or differing views on a project; it can also be about trust, loyalty and the erosion of once-strong bonds.

It’s excruciating to watch someone you considered an ally turn against you, to feel their words and actions chipping away at your sense of self-worth and inner peace.

We tried talking it out, but with neither of us able to budge from our position, we were at a stalemate and had to go our separate ways.

If you find yourself in this situation, resist engaging in petty verbal warfare; instead, focus on maintaining dignity and ignoring provocations.

When we went our separate ways, it was like a divorce. Many things needed to be untangled. Such a deep fear and emptiness accompanied me during those days.

They say you need to give yourself time to grieve. I didn’t do that, but I wish I had; all I was doing was spinning my wheels and going nowhere in those final moments. I would have had greater clarity had I allowed myself to grieve.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a family member can become antagonistic. Encounters with them might be marked by snapping, sarcastic responses to your sincerity, deliberate actions meant to hurt you, and an aftermath that leaves you distressed.

Reflection and understanding of what went wrong are essential. Did you cause the problem? Are you enabling them?

Sometimes separation is the only way. Recognize when it’s time to move on. You only know what you have once it’s gone, and a slight separation can often work wonders.

Often, that’s all that is needed to bring reconciliation.

It doesn’t feel like it, but even in our darkest moments, there’s always a lesson, a silver lining; you won’t know what it is until you’re in that situation, but it’s there if you look for it.

Amid these trials, I’ve also learned the importance of surrounding yourself with true friends and supporters. The ones who stood by me, who listened without judgment, and who encouraged me even when the future seemed uncertain are the ones who helped me navigate those stormy waters.

Hopefully, you can find forgiveness. I know it’s hard, and it could take years to forgive and let go, but forgiving doesn’t mean you have to agree with them or even reconcile. Forgiveness helps you find peace with the situation so you can move forward.

So, as painful as these experiences can be, they can also be transformative. They force us to confront our deepest fears and to grow in ways we never imagined.

Remember, a single conflict doesn’t define you. Your reaction to it, your ability to learn, adapt and move forward, is what truly shapes your character.

In confronting the pain and confusion of being turned against, finding hidden strengths and a deeper understanding of oneself is possible. The path may be arduous, but it often leads to unexpected growth.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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