When bad things happen to good friends.

Image: Flickr/DrJohnBullas

One of the things you might have picked up about me if you’ve read my blog for a while is that I’m absolutely, shockingly rubbish at NOT taking sides.  Some people are marvellous at sitting on the fence and seeing both sides of every situation. Friends, I am not that person.

This is rather inconvenient at the moment because two of my good friends with are getting divorced. I want to be a good friend to both of them, and be supportive and not get involved. But I can’t help thinking that one half of the couple is being a complete IDIOT.

I want to slap him repeatedly around the head because I don’t think he realises that he has responsibilities to his three young children, and he doesn’t yet know how rare it is to find an amazing, beautiful, smart and kind partner who loves you. And he’s throwing it away. Not only that but the manner of his leaving is causing so much more pain than necessary.

But when I saw him this week, what I actually said was, “I’m so sorry to hear about everything that’s happened. I hope you’re okay and that things get better soon.”

I can’t help feeling I’ve been disloyal to his wife (who is one of my very best friends) and not entirely honest, somehow. But I also feel it’s important in that situation not to take sides because how can you possibly know the full story of someone else’s relationship?

I remember the day after I broke up with my ex, I got two phone calls from female friends. I’d known both of these women for the best part of 10 years, both had been at my wedding, and were good friends.

Friend A said, “Unless you can convince me you have a good reason for doing this, I just can’t see us being friends anymore.”

Friend B said, “It sounds like you’ve made a really hard decision. I hope you’re okay but if you need cake and a chat, just let me know.”

No prizes for guessing which woman I never saw again, and which one is still a good friend.

I guess as I get further into my 30s (sob), I’m going to see more and more relationships break up around me, and second marriages, and step-families. It’s modern life, isn’t it?

But it does make friendships complicated. I don’t like to lose friends, but I want to be a good friend at the same time – what do you think? Any tips on balancing those two things? 

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