How to deal when your friends break up

It can be awesome when your friends decide to date. It’s like having two of your worlds come together, and everyone gets to hang out together like a big happy family. Unfortunately there’s always a possibility that they’ll break up. If that happens, you’ll inadvertently be put right in the middle of it, and it can get awkward.. I’ve been on both sides of this, and it can be hard to deal with. A few years back I had a really ugly break up where we had a lot of mutual friends. Unfortunately for me, most of those friends were his first, and therefore sided with him. I was left alone and friendless, while a lot of negativity was hurled at me. He painted me as a villain, and his friends treated me as such.

After that experience, I vowed to never, ever do that to anyone. A break up is a depressing and scary time, and the last thing you need is for your friends to abandon you, when you’re already feeling pretty abandoned. I was reminded of this again, as friends I’m very close to me are in the middle of a split. I tried to figure out how to be supportive of both, while not being disloyal to either. These are some of the things I’ve decided to do.

Listen to both sides, but don’t choose one

There may be a feeling that you need to choose between your friends, especially if you’ve known one longer, but you absolutely don’t have to. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. The ending of their relationship doesn’t have to be the ending of the friendship you have with either one. They don’t need to lose their significant other and a good friend all at once.

Be honest with both parties

If you decide to remain friends with both of them, you really need to let each one know. Nothing positive can come from you lying to them or hanging out with each one behind the other’s back. You’ll get caught eventually, and it likely won’t end well.

Set some ground rules

Let them know you respect them both, but you don’t want to hear or participate in trash talk about the other one. Immediately after a break up, depending on how the relationship ended, it’s totally normal for your friend to want to say negative and hurtful things about their ex. But as a friend of both, it’s important that you make it known that it’s not okay to say those things to you. It’s also important to take those negative things with a grain of salt. When emotions are high, they are likely to say things that may not be the whole truth, because they are hurt and angry. Don’t make any rash judgements about either friend during these heated conversations.

Remain loyal to each person

If your friend shares private information with you about a new relationship, you absolutely cannot share that under any circumstances. Your friend trusts you, and while it may feel wrong to hide something from your other friend, it would be such a violation of that trust. It may make things awkward, or feel like there’s an elephant in the room that no one can talk about. But honestly, put yourself in their position, would you want your secret told in that way?

Keep being a good friend

Let them vent and have a “woe is me” moment if they need one. Text them every once in awhile just to say hi. Take them out somewhere fun to get them out of their funk. Even though the situation may be awkward for you (and for them), don’t forget that your job is really just to be there for each person.

Eventually the wounds will heal, and when they do, it’s going to be great to still have those two friends on your side. Just think about how you feel after your own break ups and be sensitive to them, just like you would want them to be if the tables were turned.

(Image via NBC)

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