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Expert's viewpoint

Expert's viewpoint

Psychiatrist Dr Clerget unravels the psychology behind our readers' experiences to give us a better understanding of betrayal.

These experiences speak about many betrayals in relationships between friends. Is this the most common example of betrayal?
Yes and no. Yes, because friendship is something very unique: it's not governed by any rules. There's no definition of a "good friend", it's simply someone we can trust. But as there's no set of rules, it's easy for friends to betray us or for us to feel betrayed. At the same time, it's a subject that's still taboo, a serious subject that we don't joke about. Breaking up with a friend is something that's not yet become an accepted part of everyday life.

So is friendship conducive to acts of betrayal?
That depends on what you understand by betrayal. Sometimes you can feel betrayed even when the other person meant no harm. For example, in teenage friendships, one accuses the other of changing. Of course we change! We evolve constantly and friendships need to evolve accordingly. That's not a real act of betrayal.
Sometimes we take the first excuse to end a friendship by making the other person take the blame. It's complicated to admit to yourself that a friendship is over but it's like love - it doesn't last forever. But just as the principle of friendship is to put your trust in someone, it's just as possible to encounter the negative side of friendship, like the negative, painful side of love.


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