Getting Even, For a Friend’s Sake

Have you read this Modern Love essay? About a woman whose best friend’s ex decides to take her spin class?  And she plots revenge for his mistreatment of her BFF by subjecting him to a miserable ass-kicking workout?

I love it.

The piece is at once funny and horrifying. It makes you love the writer, and also think she might be a tad nutty. She’s the kind of person I’d want on my side.

The gist of the story is that the writer, a spin teacher, is taken aback when the man who left her best friend shows up to take one of her classes–with his new girlfriend in tow. She decides to silently taunt him during class, making sure he gets the hardest bike and creating a special cheaters playlist on his behalf. It’s funny because the friend and her ex-husband get along ok. But the writer/spinning teacher? She’ll never be ok with him. She’s angry and must get revenge for his betrayal of her BFF.

I’ve always been fascinated with how affected friends get at their pal’s mistreatment. I’ve heard so many women say that they’ve broken up with a guy, and when they got back together–no matter how dramatic or trivial the reason for the initial break–they were able to trust him again, but their best friends couldn’t.

All guys who’ve screwed up, hear this: Winning back an ex is easier than winning back her friends.

An obvious reason for this is that female friends hear the truth about a guy’s bad side during a breakup. Good friends survive a BFF’s split by her side. They listen to a lot of bitching about the ex, or learn all the horrible things he’s done or said. Suddenly he’s not sounding so sweet after all.

There’s likely a second–admittedly more selfish–reason why friends aren’t happy when a BFF gets back with her ex. They don’t want to live through it again. If Sally coached and counseled Jane through a bad breakup, she won’t want to do it more than once. At least, not for the same guy.

Of course, and most importantly, there’s also the fact that a good friend wants to protect her pal. Wrong my BFF and  you’ve wronged me. It seems silly,  sure, but those bonds are what make bestfriendships, after all.

The other day I saw my friend’s very recent ex walking across the street in front of my car. He looked a little out of it, not entirely paying attention to where he was going. It was all I could do not to pound on my horn and scare the living bejeezus out of him. Not for any specific reason. Just to say, ‘you hurt my friend? Well I’ll hurt you.’

I like these protective tendencies. There’s not much better than hearing that your friend will torture a man in spin class for you.

Have you seen this play out in your life? Where the friend is more angry at her BFF’s ex than the BFF herself is? Do you agree that for a guy, winning over an ex is easier than winning over an ex’s friends? Share below!

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Getting Even, For a Friend’s Sake

  1. Melinda

    When my BFF was going through a particularly nasty divorce, I found a quote that described how I felt and I sent it to her. We joke all the time that we live by the quote
    “I may forgive you for hurting me but my best friend has a .45 round with your name on it”
    I would never actually shoot the jerk but it felt good to imagine it!

  2. Ana

    Thankfully, I haven’t had a friend go through quite such a breakup (high school/college romances sure, but not real longterm commitments or marriage). I absolutely loved that column, though! Sure it was a bit mean, but honestly, it was harmless (the ex & his gf didn’t even seem to notice!) and as the writer mentions, more for herself than anything else.
    If you can’t take a stand for a friend’s mistreatment, what CAN you stand for?!

  3. Darby

    This is so true. My Bestfriend’s BF did some untrustworthy worthy things (other girls) right at the beginning of their relationship and she took him back. I was pissed at him, they’ve been together for quite a while now and I still have a hard time forgetting about it and am scared he’s liable to do it again.

  4. I absolutely hate my sister’s ex-fiance. They were on good terms the year following the break-up (not so much now that they both are in relationships) and very few people could understand why I was more angry with him than my sister. But I was the one she called right he walked out and I’m the one who let her rearrange my apt and move in with me when she had nowhere else to go. I witnessed the fall out from the break-up on a daily basis, unlike everyone else in her life. It’s so much easier to forgive someone for breaking your heart, but not when they break the heart of your BFF. I’m glad you posted that article. I was starting to wonder if most ppl didn’t see it that way🙂

  5. Laurie Lee

    This scenario (friend more angry at Ex than BFF) strikes me as way over the top! It doesn’t seem healthy to be more invested in being angry at your friend’s ex than they are.

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