"I lost my best friend"

November 2001
By the former friend of a Forum graduate

My best friend attended the Landmark Forum on the recommendation of her mother. I had never heard of it and she didn't really explain what it was all about. Perhaps this was some kind of sign. I wished her luck and hoped that it would be helpful.

A few days later, my friend approached me at school, with tears in her eyes, apologizing for not being a good friend, because she thought I didn't like her. She said, "But now I know you like me." Before she had not liked herself enough to realize this. All this was a little strange, since we had spent so much time having fun together. She was always a really wonderful friend, but I accepted her "apology."

The next day, she invited me to an Introductory session of the Forum. This should have been called "Bring a Potential Guinea Pig Night." She said the Forum would do wonders for me. The Landmark people there were openly begging newcomers for a deposit, which I considered a problem. They should have been less concerned about money. I am a university student on a budget and was not willing to pay. The leaders gave me the impression that if I didn't sign up that night my whole life would be ruined. When I explained that the scheduled weekend for the Forum conflicted with my classes, they suggested I change my school schedule. Even though I was just a friend coming to "Bring a Friend Night," they wanted me to sign a form with my phone number, e-mail, etc.

A few days later I explained to my friend why I wasn't interested. She was not pleased, but acknowledged that this was my decision. I assumed that would be the end of it. But as she continued to take further Landmark Education courses, the topic kept coming up in our conversations. She talked about "rackets" and "breakthroughs," like all the other Landmark people. She would say, "I can see so much potential in you." Time and time again my friend would ask me to reconsider going, even offering to pay for my Forum herself. Finally, after months of this, I very politely asked her to stop hounding me about it. I said that it would be fine if she talked about how the Forum had helped her, but to please stop telling me about how I should sign up and take it.

This was the beginning of the end of our friendship.

I don't think that going to the Landmark Forum really helped my friend. We still talked after that, but I was the one who did all the calling. Then, one day, I called and her answering machine didn't pick up. I thought it might be broken. Turns out, she moved to a new apartment and didn't tell me and many of her other friends for weeks. Is this what they taught her? Every time I see her now, it's like she doesn't even know me.

I blame the Landmark Forum for ruining this friendship. Things between us were fine until the night I accompanied her to that introductory session. I fell into that trap, but I got out. She claims that going to the Landmark Forum made her able to solve her problems and have better relationships. If that was true, then why couldn't she accept my decision not to go? And why would she move and not let everyone know? Sadly, instead, I lost my best friend.

Copyright © 2001 Rick Ross.

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