Back Stabbers by
(303 Stories)

Prompted By Betrayal

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They smilin’ in your face
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers. . . .

What follows is not the only story of betrayal that has occurred in my life, but let’s just say that it’s the only one that I’m willing to make public. Putting out on the internet any of the other stories that come to mind would be an act of betrayal in itself. So this is the one you are getting, and even here I have declined to name names.

I started 7th grade at a new school in a new town where I didn’t know anybody. In elementary school I had always had lots of friends, and I was sorry to leave them behind in pursuit of a better education. The transition was a little rocky, but I soon became best friends with a girl I’ll call Kay, because that was her initial. We were inseparable through 7th and most of 8th, but gradually she was moving into the popular crowd and I was not. She started hanging around with another girl I’ll call Em. I knew Kay and Em had become friends, but I never thought to worry about whether it threatened my relationship with Kay.

One night, Kay called me on the phone as she often did, to talk about homework, and gossip, and all the usual stuff. She told me that she and Em had had a big fight, and then started ranting about how terrible Em was, and saying she didn’t like her any more. She kept asking me to say what I thought of Em, and surely I must have had some bad experiences with her too. I was never one to be discreet, and if I had known anything bad about Em, I certainly would have blurted it out. But luckily for me, Em had never done anything bad to me, and all I could say was that she had always been nice to me and I was sorry if she was being mean to Kay. It turned out that they hadn’t had a fight at all, and that Em was on the extension listening to everything I said. I was being tested, and if I had said the wrong thing, I would have ended up in social hell.

I was pretty shocked when I found out what they were doing. To them this seemed like an acceptable way to behave. Lawyers would call it entrapment, but of course I didn’t know that then. I just knew that I felt betrayed by the girl I thought was my best friend.

Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: been there, moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Wow, Suzy, that is a pretty shocking story. I’ve lived through some not nice stuff with mean girls, but never anything quite as blatant as this. Girls be bitches, I guess. As I say in my story, I can’t imagine living through this era, where everything winds up on social media, spreading quickly and you can’t redeem yourself, once you are targeted. Girls really can make other girls’ lives a living hell.

    Good for you for having self-restraint and not falling into their petty trap!

    • Suzy says:

      It wasn’t self-restraint as much as luck – I was lucky that I couldn’t think of anything bad to say about Em. Since it was apparent the Kay wanted me to dish some dirt, I was racking my brain to come up with something, but I couldn’t.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    As always, Suzy, a perfect (song) title. And yes, we lawyers recognize this as a classic example of entrapment. But this is a great example of betrayal as well, and just the sort that mean girls of that age would pull. Grrrrr……..

    That said, kudos also for wisely recognizing that, in this day and age, putting the story out on the internet may itself be an act of betrayal. Though I would argue that this is simply one’s sins catching up with you. Perhaps no good deed goes unpunished, but it is nice to see a bad deed getting punished.

    • Suzy says:

      I thought about using their names, but I am actually friendly with these women now. Also, I hope to get HS classmates to come write for Retrospect, so I decided to be discreet. Although I suspect anyone from my HS class would immediately know who they were.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    Suzy, I so agree with your assessment of how difficult it was to write about personal betrayals. TMI to go out on the Internet. I have a couple of doozies that I just couldn’t share. Having granddaughters in sixth and seventh grades, your story was all too familiar. These mean girl episodes have been amplified by social media. It’s tough out there these days.

    • Suzy says:

      When we chose this topic, tying it in with the Ides of March, it seemed like a great idea. But then came the realization that one might not want to air one’s dirty linen in public. Of course, there’s always the option of posting a story anonymously.

  4. Marian says:

    This is a sobering story but inspiring in its own way, Suzy. You are brave to put it out there. I hesitate to write on this topic because the most memorable betrayals I’ve experienced were in my adult life.

  5. I think it’s a GREAT topic, meaty and full of potential across a broad spectrum of circumstances. The particulars of these scenarios can always be altered to protect … who? The innocent? What good is memoir without a good mix of fact and fiction?
    Suzy, great story where sincerity ruled. I wonder if we’ll see a story of betrayal told from the POV of the betrayer? Hmmmm?

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks for your great comment! I would love to see a story from the POV of the betrayer, but I, for one, am not willing to write it about myself. Maybe I will put it in the novel I keep talking about writing, which will be a thinly disguised autobiography. . . .

  6. Glad to hear of your thinly disguised plans to write a thinly disguised memoir. Memoir sounds better than autobiography, which sounds official and exacting. Memoir gives the author a little more wiggle room to lie, thus enhancing your ‘memories.’ I’m shooting for a betrayer story, or at least a story that might be open to interpretation for some.

  7. Dave Ventre says:

    Well told, and very meaningful for me.

    The same thing was done to me, at maybe age 15 or 16, and it played out the same way. The guys were my two best friends at the time.

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