Picture this: you’re going about your day and you get a text from two of your friends at the same time. No, not in a group but individually. In each of the messages, they’re detailing a fight between the two of them that they each have differing views on. Now what? Chances are, you don’t feel good being thrust into the middle of their feud but seeing as how they’re both important to you, you don’t want to leave anyone hanging nor do you want to do more damage to their relationship. Friendships are some of our most cherished and most important relationship dynamics; therefore, when there is discord present, things can get murky. Before you decide to throw up your hands and let the girls tussle, here are some ways to mitigate the fallout.
Try to remain neutral.
If ever there was a time to be on the fence, it’s when two of your friends are at odds. This is isn’t the time to try to solve anything as this isn’t your fight, but it can be a time where you allow both parties a chance to be seen, heard and understood. Often when we are in conflict with another person, we are struggling to reach an understanding of what we need from them or what we would have wanted them to do in any given situation. Be there to lend an ear but not to stoke the flames.
Help to keep the focus only on the issue at hand.
When an argument ensues between two people with history it can become a breeding ground for turning over every stone that was ever left unturned. This only further exacerbates issues and may often cause a bigger rift than was originally the case. Try gently guiding your friends to only focus on the issue at hand so that one problem can be solved without creating another.
Decide how much and for how long you plan to be involved.
Often times when we are upset with someone having a sounding board to continue to get our feelings out that is not the person we should be talking to, it can make matters worse. We feel that we are expressing ourselves and, in doing so, fixing the issue. But this isn’t the case. The longer we are allowed to fester with our anger or hurt, the harder it will be to come to a harmonious conclusion with the person we are in conflict with. As the friend of both parties, you need to make a clear line of exit for when you will no longer be on the receiving end of conversations that should be being had between the people affected.
Remind them of the reasons they mean so much to one another.
It’s easy for the negative to take a front seat when two people are upset. When the dust begins to settle, try taking a trip down memory lane of shared good times and let nostalgia work its magic. Chances are, things have been mostly good between all of you and pulling the veil of anger back to reveal that can be a valuable tool in remedying the conflict.
Encourage a sit down.
After a while, the best thing for any conflict is open communication. If you’re a friend who is trusted by both parties, you can definitely help them find solution by sitting down with one another and hashing out the problem. Often times, it is nice to have an additional voice in the room, so don’t hesitate to offer to be a meditator who makes sure nothing gets lost in translation.