Q: I have a tight group of awesome besties. We usually get along super well, but lately two of my friends have been fighting with each other. They’re constantly complaining to me about each other and I hate being stuck in the middle. I love them both so much and I just wish they would stop fighting. What can I do? Should I do anything? I just want things to go back to normal! Any advice would be much appreciated!
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A: Ugh. Being stuck in the middle of squad squabble is the worst. You want to remain neutral, but you also just want them to resolve everything super fast so you can get back to happier times, like shopping and eating ice cream together. What’s even worse is that you KNOW if they just took the time to talk to each other — and not you — then they could easily fix their problems. Though I can’t promise your friends will work things out (although fingers crossed!), here are some steps you can take to help deal with their constant battle.
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1. Remain Neutral
This is imperative if you want to remain friends with both. It might be difficult at times, but you don’t want to make matters worse by picking a side. Sometimes there are situations when one friend might have clearly disrespected another, which you might not agree with. In this instance, you should state how you feel. However, most times friends clash over personality differences and petty jealousies. If that’s the case, keep your opinions to yourself and extend your friendship to both parties.
2. Let Them Vent to You
I know. You don’t really want to get involved with their fight, but refusing to hear your friends out will only hurt them and make them wonder if you’re taking sides. So give your full attention to each friend as they share their feelings. You don’t have to say much, but you can make neutral statements like, “I see,” and “I’m sorry you feel this way.” Also, make it clear to both friends that, as much as you’re there to support them, you will NOT tolerate bashing. Explain that you are friends with both of them and you aren’t comfortable with either one of them trash talking the other.
3. Keep Quiet
After your friend has vented, keep whatever was said to yourself. You don’t want to fuel the fire and make things worse by texting the other friend what you just heard (besides, that’s not really playing neutral). Each friend is confiding in you, so you don’t want to break that trust — and risk ruining a friendship yourself. So it’s best not to share anything unless your friend has given you permission. Another exception? If you’ve heard something that you know isn’t true. For example, if one friend is mad at the other because she thinks the other person said something mean about her behind her back, and you know that this is not true, then tell her so.
4. Offer (Some) Advice
Ask your friends what is at the root of their rift. A boy? A misunderstanding? Rejection? Once there is some clarity from both sides, try asking them if they are willing to speak to each other in person. If it makes it easier, offer to sit with both of them as a mediator. If they choose not to, don’t insist. It’s better for both friends if they want to resolve the friendship on their own. If, however, they do want to talk it out, make a point that both friends understand they are working towards a solution. Whether it’s to end the fight or end the friendship, it’s important for everyone involved to find some peace and move forward.