I’m piggy in the middle between two friends who have fallen out. One has told me that she no longer wants to be friends with the other and it’s just horribly awkward. I love both my friends and understand both points of view, but don’t really know what to say when one bitches about another. It feels like both of them think I’m being disloyal to them when I don’t join in with the bitching. Do I try to mend bridges, or do I just let them get on with it – what can I do? Sara
Let them get on with it. It’s extraordinarily tempting to think that we can fix things for other people, but that is rarely the case.
If this were sibling rivalry, for example, the principles would be – it takes two to fight, so there’s no point trying to work out who’s right and who’s wrong; any solutions you suggest will not stick as well as their own ideas; each person is responsible for their own words and actions, no matter how provoked they feel.
What is the problem with telling them the truth? Say: ‘I love you both and this is not my fight. It’s upsetting to hear nasty things being said about either of you.’
Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. GOT A QUESTION FOR MARY? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line