Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Ivy helps a student who’s two friends are feuding

Dear Ivy,

             I’m having a bit of a problem with my friends. You see, two of my really good friends are fighting right now. Well actually, they are not even fighting, they have just completely stopped speaking to each other. They are both still friends with me, but now I feel like I have to choose between them sometimes. Otherwise it will be awkward if we are all hanging out together. The worst part is that the reason that they are not speaking is so petty and stupid. They are saying that they are not friends anymore, but I honestly feel like if I could just get them to talk to each other again they could work things out. I do not want to get too involved in the drama though. What should I do?

– Stuck in the Middle

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

This is a tough spot to be in. You want to keep both friends, but they do not want to keep each other. Here is a way to remedy this situation, or at least try to. Proceed with caution.

A word of warning, Stuck in the Middle. You may not know the scale of the issue. Breaking off a friendship is a big choice that does not come from just a petty squabble. There may have been a whole month’s worth of issues leading up to this split. The straw breaking the proverbial camel’s back.

Likewise, you do not have to choose between your friends. Yes, you can no longer hang out as a trio without things being awkward. But your friendship with them is still intact. You are not betraying either by hanging out with the other. If one starts demanding you to stop interacting with the other, drop them as a friend. Until then, you simply have separate friend groups.

There may be a solution to the current problem, though. Communication is key. Like you said, your friends may just need to talk to each other to solve their feud. This is where you come in. Encourage them to talk it out. “Encourage” is the key word here. Do not get more involved than necessary. Do not pressure them either, or you might lose both as friends.

If they agree to meet, you can choose to be present or not. Likely you will be a mediator if you end up attending. Choose a neutral space, like a common room or a corner of SUB I, any space that is not directly owned or frequented by either party. As a mediator, you do not contribute anything to the conversation. Instead, you guide the flow of the conversation in case your friends start to argue or get off topic.

Now, let’s say you do mediate between your friends. It may work and everyone is back to being friends. It may not work and now you are stuck as a mediator. Feel free to pull back if this happens. If the drama becomes too much for you, remove yourself from the situation. This is their problem, not yours. You can help them, but do not hurt yourself trying to help. Never set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.

Best of luck, Stuck in the Middle.