How to stay friends with both people in a break-up
September 22, 2010 8:09 PM Subscribe
How do I avoid alienating either of two friends who just broke up? I have to pull out of attending an event with one of them, so do I mention that it's because I'll be attending with the other, or say nothing about why, and risk running into them there?
posted by lollusc to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have two friends, let's call them Alice and Barbara. They just broke up: Alice is broken-hearted, and because she moved here to be with Barbara, she doesn't know many people here. Barbara did the breaking-up, but I don't know her side of the story. Could be that she's miserable about it too.
I like both of them, and don't want to lose either as friends. I don't want Barbara to think I'm siding with Alice, but on the other hand, Alice is the one who needs more practical support right now (is really miserable, has few local friends, had to move out and is looking for somewhere to live, etc).
I stupidly accidentally ended up in a situation where I had promised each individually to attend a certain event with them. I now have to get back to one of them and ask them not to buy a ticket for me after all. I've decided to attend with Alice, since Barbara is going in a group of friends, while Alice would be on her own if I don't go with her.
So I have two options. One is to email Barbara and say, "Hey, don't buy a ticket for me after all." No explanation. She won't mind, but if she then later sees me at the event with Alice, she might think I'm "siding" with Alice, or otherwise be annoyed. The other is to email Barbara and explain that I am choosing to attend with Alice so Alice doesn't go alone. This is more likely to piss off Barbara in the short term, but I really don't know... The event is large enough that I'd say there's maybe a 50-50 chance of them seeing us there.
Extra complication: I have to work with both these people.
What should I do? If you were Barbara, would you be upset if I said I was attending with Alice, and view that as a decision to take Alice's side? Is it possible in this sort of situation to remain friends with both people in the long run? Is there anything I can do or say at this stage to make this a more likely outcome?