Have you ever been in that awkward situation where you’re friends with a couple, but then they split? Or you break up with your own partner but have friends in common? In both cases, it can be difficult to know what to do, and to stay friends with both parties. Here are some tips that may help.
1. Your Issues Are Not Theirs
Whatever the grievance you have against your ex, it has nothing to do with your friends. Remember that they may still like your ex and wish to remain in contact with them. So if you want to complain about your ex, it’s best to do so to someone who doesn’t know them, as it won’t be very pleasant for a friend to hear.
2. Don’t Force Them to Choose
Many people try to take ‘custody’ of a mutual friend after a breakup, especially if they knew the friend first. This really isn’t fair! They’re not a piece of property to be divided up, so don’t put any pressure on them to choose you or your ex.
3. Avoid Taking Sides
If you’re the friend of a separating couple, and you want to stay friends with both of them, try to avoid getting judgemental. Whatever you think about the situation, and even if you believe that one party is at fault, keep your opinion to yourself. If you are critical, they may hear about it – goodbye friendship.
4. Time for Both
Remaining friends with both parties can be difficult, given the emotions that surround the end of a relationship. Like any friendship, it will take work, and more so than normal. Make sure that you find time for both friends, and keep in touch even if you don’t see them. Make it clear that you still want to be friends.
It might seem more complicated than international negotiations, but be tactful in your dealings with both parties. Avoid criticism, or reporting back on a new relationship. The same goes if you are part of the ex-couple. Don’t badmouth your ex, it just makes you look bitter.
6. Don’t Freeze Them out
The situation can be so complicated that it’s sometimes easier to abandon friendship with one party, or simply let it slide. This is especially common where the ex-couple were part of a circle of friends. Try to include both parties in outings; if they can’t bear to be in the same room, especially in the early days, then invite each to different gatherings.
7. Be Nice
If one party decides to date again, as is inevitable, treat the new partner with civility. Even if it seems too soon after the breakup, that is not for you to judge. If the ex-partner doesn’t like the fact that the other has moved on, it’s not your problem, and it’s certainly nothing to do with the new partner.
Have you managed the difficult feat of keeping in contact with mutual friends when they split? Did your friends take sides in your own breakup? What other advice would you offer in this situation?
Top Photo Credit: samlevin