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Cutting Ties: When Friendships End Badly

Cutting Ties: How to Deal When a Friendship Ends Badly

You don’t need us to tell you that having friends is a good thing. Everyone needs pals to lean on and share the little joys of life with. But sometimes, even with the best of friends, things can go awry, leaving you with an awkward and uncomfortable situation on your hands.

Similarly to a romantic break-up, when you and your partner split, there is always the question of who will get the friends. It can get… complicated. This is especially true if the two of you share the same circle of friends.

In some cases, you may be able to avoid the other person all together; other times you may end up needing to tolerate their presence more often than you would like.

Each exchange between the two of you needn’t be as hostile as a war zone. There are, however, some things you can do to help keep the peace.

Be civil. Forcing the relationship is only going to make it awkward for everyone around you. However, this doesn’t mean you should be overtly exclusive. Smile and be nice — chances are you both know you aren’t curious about how she is doing. If the opposing party seems to be taking the low road, don’t stoop to their level. Just take the seat furthest away; everyone else will be aware that you are preemptively avoiding conflict.

Be present… and absent. Make it clear you aren’t going to be kicked out of your group over a spat. As adults, both of you can recognize that your disagreement may prove to be awkward for others. To avoid bringing the innocent into the middle of it, simply recognize that both of you are going to need individual time with your shared friends. Don’t continuously turn down invites to avoid confrontation, but do realize your friend-turned-enemy needs her time with your friends as well.

Talk about your feelings. It’s only natural to want to talk about your side of the story. If you are afraid of making an uncomfortable situation even worse, find a kind ear outside of your core group. Your feelings are important and shouldn’t be sidelined because of the situation. Finding a friend who isn’t friends with your other friend will give you a much-needed outlet and prevent the I-thought-we-left-that-in-high-school drama from seeping into your social circle.

A friendship falling apart is tough enough to deal with, but when you still have to see the person often, it’s even worse. Figure out how to navigate the changed group dynamic like a pro by finding what makes you most comfortable. Feeling comfortable with the situation is going to take time, but don’t let it discourage you from keeping your other relationships strong.

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.