@NIKKO: This is not about KathNiel but quite similar. In reverse, if the leaks are true. We’ve been a squad since high school. Two of our friends eventually became a couple. The relationship carried on till college. But when Rina – I made the names up by the way — went to med school, she met another guy. They became so close that her relationship with Dan eventually soured. She outgrew him. She also dabbled with pageantry and became successful in that area. Of course, Dan was devastated and lost his balance. Because both of them are dear to us, we stayed neutral. It’s just that everything with Dan is on a downward spiral. Should we take his side and let go of Rina?
DJ: You’ve been friends since high school. It must have been cute when two of your pals hooked up. But now with their breakup, it’s like dealing with a whole kettle of cold, dead fish. Must be tough for everyone. Suddenly there are sides, and you and your friends find yourselves caught in the middle.
Keeping the integrity of the squad and the friendship intact is the goal. Venting is okay but no shuttle diplomacy. The nasty back and forth. Friends shouldn’t be used as pawns in this game. In time, the conversation should evolve towards moving forward. It prevents people from being stuck. The first few months can be challenging. Stepping back from the drama and keeping the big picture in sight is key.
Breakups are messy. Unless you’re in the relationship, you don’t really know the full story. It has at least four sides. Yours and each of theirs, plus what really happened. Per experience, the real deal often is somewhere in the middle. That’s why it’s called the middle ground. Have a separate convos with both of them. Be open and honest about wanting to stay friends with both. That way, nobody feels betrayed. While you completely empathize with the situation, you also have a completely separate and independent relationship with their ex.
Sometimes, you gotta pick sides, especially in situations like cheating or abuse. You mentioned she met another guy. Was there an overlap? If ever there was, then it’s clear there’s a wronged party. It is important to prioritize the person harmed. Don’t leave him feeling like no one is there for him at the worst of times. But don’t just ghost Rina. Be upfront. Helping Dan stand up isn’t even about taking sides. It’s the right thing to do to a friend in need.
For Dan, friend groups are a lifeline. Just being around is a big deal. Listen to him. When needed, remind him of his strengths and qualities. Help him look forward and have a plan for the future. And if there was no infraction, you can do that without ditching the other friend. During birthdays, weddings and special occasions, it is still okay to extend a courtesy invite to both and allow them to choose whether or not to attend. No need to leave anyone out.
What I do suggest is to hold off on social media posts. They may have cut off social media ties with each other after the spit. Imagine the feels if a pic pops up in their account from your feed showing how happy you all look. Ouch. At least for a year, keep the hangouts on the down-low.
Navigating all these tensions is not easy. But being proactive in your communication avoids putting egg on anyone’s face. Ultimately, it’s still up to you to choose who your friends are.