Got a question? Got a problem? Bored and want someone to listen? Just wanna talk about cats? Send any and everything to me at Sadie@thetriangle.org! I promise, your letters keep me sane. My name’s Sadie Samson, by the way, and I’m an undergraduate student here at Drexel University. I love to write, listen and give my opinion, so ask away!
I have a dilemma: My friends are fighting, and I’m caught in the middle of it! So the story goes like this: My two best friends and I are inseparable — we do everything together! We’ve all known one another since high school, our moms are all friends, and nothing’s ever challenged our being friends until now. My one friend (we’ll call her A) broke up with her long-term boyfriend about two months ago. Fast forward to now, and A has found out that our other friend (we’ll call her B) has been sort-of dating him. B feels as though they broke up, and that’s the end of it, and that A has no claim on him. A feels as though dating someone she was so recently involved with is a slap in the face. As you can see, this is clearly a problem. A doesn’t want to hang out with B anymore and doesn’t like that I’m still friends with her. B doesn’t like when I hang out with A because she feels as though it automatically means I’m taking A’s side. I am trying my hardest not to take anyone’s side. The way I see it, I am in no way involved in this and shouldn’t have to pick sides if this isn’t my fight in the first place. How do I stay neutral in this whole thing and still keep both my friends?
There’s no clear, clean-cut solution to this problem, I’m afraid. The pretty, PC answer says, “Tell both of your friends that this isn’t your problem and to leave you out of it — respectfully, of course — and continue on as normal.” In the real world, that isn’t really a solution. To your friend A, you are continuing to be buddy-buddy with someone she feels hurt and disrespected her. This is magnified due to the fact that all three of you were pretty close. Right now, A feels betrayed by one of her closest friends — to her, you wanting to continue to be friends with someone who did this to her makes you just another person who is betraying her.
To be honest, B may really like this guy and feel like she really is doing nothing wrong. She and A’s ex-boyfriend may really have a lot in common. Whatever the deal, there’s a reason she’s dating the ex-boyfriend of someone she’s so close to — don’t just write off her choice as her being mean or hurtful. Instead, I would suggest that when things cool off in the coming weeks that you have both of them (A and B) sit down and talk about things. Have A tell B how B’s dating her recent ex made her feel, and have B explain herself. Do this only if you think the friendship between the two of them is salvageable. Having everything out in the open, in a nonconfrontational and honest way, could be a start to repairing the friendship between them and you.
If you feel that there is no hope of their rekindling and that your trio is forever split, do not attempt to hang out with them together; hang out with each separately. My one warning with this is to be sure that all parties involved know this is happening. Otherwise it may seem like you’re “fraternizing with the enemy.” If one girl seems upset at this, calmly explain to her that you are not involved in this situation. Then don’t talk about it again. More than likely, one is not going to stop being friends with you because you still talk to the other, and if she would, you might want to evaluate why you were friends in the first place.
To end, my advice is to have your friends sit down and talk it out — only if they don’t seem to hate each other. Have A tell B how much B’s dating her ex-boyfriend hurts her and why — maybe he broke her heart, or maybe she just isn’t ready to have to see him dating someone else already, especially someone so close to her. Have B explain her motives. See if a compromise might be reached: — the boy in question is never mentioned among you all, or something similar. If you feel that the friendship between them is not salvageable, hang out with your friends separately. Make sure that everyone is aware of the arrangement, and don’t make anything of it. Do note, however, that doing this may cause either of them to confide in you less — if they dislike one another, or if there’s bad blood between them, they might not be very willing to be open about their true feelings with you. If this is OK with you, then proceed to be friends.
All the best,