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Home / Girl Talk

Confessions: My friends broke up and now they are compelling me to pick a side

 I’m now hearing stories of bad behaviour and long-held grudges that I never suspected (Shuttock)

Hi Chris,

I’m good friends with both halves of a couple who’ve recently broken up. And friends with their friends.

And so all of a sudden, I’m hearing stories of bad behaviour and long-held grudges that I never suspected.

I’m being asked what she was doing last night or how he was looking. And somehow, I’m feeling pressured to take sides. Choosing one friend at the expense of the other.

So what’s your advice in this situation? How do you deal with friends who’ve split up?

Broken Up Friends

——

Hi Broken Up Friends!

Couples often try to take over a mutual friend after a breakup, especially the one who knew you first.

But it’s your choice whether to take sides. You might want to, for example if one of them cheated. But even then, at least give them both a chance to explain themselves to you.

Sometimes couples feel really uncomfortable with you staying friends with them both. In which case, you might have to let one of them go. But otherwise, just be honest and open with both of them, and don’t sneak around in secret.

Make it clear from the beginning that you’re not taking sides, that you want to remain friends with them both, and allow each of them to decide for themselves whether that’s something they can handle.

They may be a little hurt at first: ‘I can’t believe you’re still hanging out with my ex!’ but those feelings usually fade away pretty quickly.

Be tactful, avoid being judgemental, don’t criticise or talk negatively about either of them, or you might lose both. Try to find equal time for each of them, keeping in touch even if you can’t physically meet.

And if they both want to confide in you? Stay neutral and just listen. Chances are they’ll be just as happy with that anyway. Stay impartial, listen to both their stories, and put up with them complaining about each other.

But don’t join in the trash talking. Because if they ever do get back together, you can be sure they’ll tell each other everything you said!

Don’t get persuaded to be a go-between, like agreeing to carry a message when you next see the other. And avoid leaking information.

Feeding each side titbits will only keep the drama going, and make everything as bad as it possibly could be.

And don’t play Cupid. Trying to get them back together, or introducing either of them to one of your cute cousins will pretty much always turn out badly.

Above all, don’t let yourself get too involved. Be supportive, and a good listener, but otherwise stay out of it. And do whatever you feel is best for you.

All the best,

Chris

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