How do I cope with losing friends over a misunderstanding?

I’m taking some heat for something a friend has been accused of doing, which somehow blew up and became something I’ve been accused of too. I have no idea how this happened, honestly. Some people I considered good, supportive friends have disappeared without warning and I can only assume it’s over this B.S. I am feeling really abandoned and like it’s totally unfair. How do I cope with this?

Never be afraid to call someone out on their bullshit.
03-09-13-35-39 / 24

Hello Diner. The first thing (of the very few things) you can do is remember how you humans work. They have their own prejudices and insecurities–however pleasant they seem. A bright smiling face is very adept at hiding darker thoughts. Someone’s desire to be accepted–to keep themselves from feeling the exact thing you are–is strong enough to compel them to do things counter to how they genuinely want to act. They want to dissociate themselves from the appearance of supporting or even sympathizing with something unpopular to fit in.

Unlike these fairweather friends, you see the situation from the victim’s point of view–you know exactly what it’s like to be abandoned. We Fortune Cookies not only have the benefit of being a third party, we’re also collectively more than a hundred years old. Every time we see one group protest to exclude another, we see countless people luckily born on the “right side” who don’t say anything. They may not feel as strongly as the zealous protesters–they might even disagree with them–but those beliefs aren’t nearly as strong as their desire not to be on the receiving end of that protest and alienation.

For these casual dissenters, it’s almost a matter of survival. If a goat sees the Xiamen tiger chase a deer, it runs. It doesn’t offer itself up as a slower, easier to catch alternative just to save the deer. Therefore these friends–who were lucky enough to not be involved in this situation–didn’t take the time to consider your side. They just ran.

Follow up with these friends and ask why. Maybe they were afraid to (or didn’t know how to) find out whether you were innocent. It was much easier to distract themselves with less controversial things like bills, work, and family than to broach this uncomfortable topic with you. They don’t necessarily think you’re guilty. In fact a great majority of them might think you’re innocent.

Humans if anything are great at procrastinating, most of you Diners are doing it right now.

On social media, there are times where we all “like” a single, extremely generalized meme that supports something we already believe. Very rarely in these situations do we take the time to think of perfectly reasonable ways we’d believe differently. If there had been a few, different experiences in our lives, we’d “like” a post that said something completely opposite.

So think complexly of these friends who you think abandoned you because of this situation. If you have the courage to do it, invite them here for tea and straight up ask them if you assumed correctly.

But…if you don’t have the courage to talk to them yet, you can easily see why they haven’t rallied to help you. They may simply be anxious of confrontation just like you are right now.

Whenever you do finally talk to them, we Cookies hope that they remember to think complexly of you and listen to your side. If they don’t, you’ve just experienced a rather disappointing characteristic of humanity that no one can change–that some people are simply that easy to sway or just that selfish with their time, but who can look caring if it’s popular and easy to. Losing these friends would make the rest of your circle that much more supportive without them.

You should take the time to acknowledge the friends who did take your side. Thank them for giving you a fair chance. Keep these remaining friends. If you ever have a future disagreement, remember to think complexly of them and try to understand why they would disagree with you in the first place. You owe them at least that much for sticking by you this time. Good luck, Diner.