'One of my closest friends of 20 years accidentally told me I looked hideous'.

Should you end a friendship over one insult?

That’s the question raised by a woman’s story of finding out a good friend of hers had called her “hideous” in an online group conversation.

Sharing her experience on UK parenting forum Mumsnet, the woman said that within a group WhatsApp conversation with six of her closest friends, she found one had written that she “looks a state in her Facebook photos from last night. Why does she feel the need to wear such hideous clothes all the time?”


The poster said this was obviously meant to be a private message, but since it was there for the whole group to see, she decided to confront her friend.

Listen: Friendship breakups are often harder to get over, but why don’t we talk about them as much? (Post continues after audio.)

It’s this friend’s response that has Mumsnet users, urging the woman to break up with her friend immediately.

“I sent her a message saying ‘Thanks for that,’ and she’s just replied saying, ‘My mistake, but don’t start making a song and dance out of it as I was only joking’.”

As fellow Mumsnet users pointed out, saying it was a “mistake” but that she was “only joking” don’t exactly compute.

Quite justifiably, the poster says she and the woman had been friends for “20 years and I thought we would have grown out of being bitchy by now”.

“I feel really crap knowing one of my best friends has been making fun of me.”

The woman’s post prompted forum users to conclude she was not talking about a true friend and that “dropping” her would be her best move.


“If a real friend had said something tactless and accidentally shared it with you this is not what their reaction would be,” one woman said. “Their prime concern would be having hurt your feelings.”

“She is not a friend. You don’t need her in your life.”

But is ending a friendship over one insult really the best option?

Rebecca Sparrow, Mamamia columnist and co-host of wellness podcast The Well said there are simple ways to tell if a friendship has turned “toxic.”

She says it’s important to pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win – a clear indication they don’t want to share your triumphs and are only there to feed off your misery. In other words, the makings of a wholly unhealthy friendship.

Other signs include, Rebecca said, that you don’t like who you are when you’re around them, you feel drained or depressed after spending time with them, that you have to pretend to be someone or something you’re not and that your gut instinct tells you that you can’t trust them.

“If you have a friendship ticking some of these boxes, it might be time to get the hell out,” she said.

Bec suggested that if you are about to end the friendship, you have two options: “Confront the person a la The Bold And The Beautiful” or let the friendship die a slow death due to neglect.

Did you have a similar experience with a so-called friend? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments below.