October 7, 2011 - submitted by Cydney, United States of America

Dear Oracle, I am having friend troubles. I have two groups of friends and both hate each other. Right now they are both mad at me because I have been "spending too much time" with both of them. I don't know how to deal with this! Please help! Cydney.

The Oracle replies:

You're going to have to show strength of character and maturity here Cydney - something your "friends" appear to be lacking. It's a tricky situation but if you decide to do what YOU want then you can't go too far wrong. See who you want, when you want to and don't feel the need to explain your reasons. These people may lose you if they continue to put pressure on you. It sounds as if they are jealous of the time you choose over the other but surely that's your choice to make? If you feel you can split your time equally to keep the peace, by all means go ahead but I doubt that will appease them. I would gently tell your friends that they are putting you in an impossible and awkward position. Explain that you like both groups and don't wish to choose between the two and so you're trying your best to keep everyone happy but make sure you point out that you'd quite like to keep yourself happy whilst making that decision.
Maybe the next time you have a birthday or whatever, you could invite both groups and try to get them to interact in some way. You can't make them like each other but with time they may be able to accept the situation. As both groups like you, they can surely see that they do actually have something in common! It's quite possibly a simple case of immature behaviour and jealousy. I'm afraid it may be a case of waiting for someone within either group to grow up and make a stand. Maybe there's one person in each group you could talk to and try to persuade them to come out when you are with the other group? Be brave, it doesn't sound like you've got all that much to lose, but they have.
I had a similar situation at school but I gave up trying to do what they all wanted and accepted their differences and continued to spend time where I wanted. Over to you.

Hi Cydney, I'm sorry you're stuck in this friendship tug of war. I've been in similar situations where some friends don't really care to all hang out together, or just happen to not be mutual friends at all. Don't ever feel like you are being disloyal to some friends by spending time with other ones. It seems to me that you are trying to treat them all equally, so you aren't doing anything wrong.
My advice would be to try getting them all together to hang out with you just once. They might be surprised. You are the common denominator between them. There must be something they have in common with each-other- since they all enjoy being friends with you. If they still truly hate each other and cannot see past whatever their differences are, at least you have tried to be diplomatic.
Should they keep implying that you shouldn't spend time with the other group, just be straight forward and tell them that you like to hang out with both and that you don't treat them unequally, and friendship is a two way street. Your friends should be willing to at least respect your other friends.
I hope things work out, Allie.

I've been there. But over the years I've learned that those "friends" that make you choose, aren't really your friends at all. A friend is defined as a companion - someone who will be there for you through thick and thin and who will always be there by your side. The fact that these two groups of "friends" are making you choose between them isn't friend like at all. So, I recommend that you confront them. If they're really your friends, they'll understand. A word for the future though - you'll go through friends like you go through underwear - don't worry about the ones that don't want to stick around because even better ones will come around in the end - AND, they won't make you choose.
Good luck and I wish you all the best. K.

Find the person you trust the most in both circles and talk with them about having both groups hang together to hash out their problems together. Set up a group activity somewhere in your home town that you can all do together like: a scavenger hunt, a barbecue where everyone brings something or volunteer at a local charity or nursing home. I found that the longer you wait to deal with "drama", the worse that it will get. Once you put the problem out in the open, people generally seem willing to fix this. Trust me, I have seen what happens when you don't fix the problem and I have seen what happens when you do. A lot of this hate stems from misunderstandings, so work on having everyone understand each other by forcing them all in the same room. Oh and if they complain, tell them you love all of your friends equally and you want to make everyone's lives a bit easier. Adriana.

I'm sorry to hear about what situation you're in Cydney, and remember that it's not your fault. Some people we hang out with may not like each other and it's really unfortunate that you're in the cross-hairs. True friends would respect you for your decisions and this is honestly not the way they should be reacting. If I were you, I would attempt to make peace between the 2 groups of friends, but if things get worse or they're constantly bothering, as hard as it maybe, I say you should leave both groups. We're only human, and we deserve to at least be around people who care about our well being and respect each other. I wish you the best Cydney! Billy N.

Ok so I had this problem recently too. 1 of my friends didn't like my other friend because she said she was taking me away from her and it was hard spending equal time with each of them. so what I did was I had them both meet me at lunch and when both of them came I told them ok guys let's just get along. I asked them each why they didn't like each other and they explained everything. I suggested we all hang out together just the 3 of us but still they didn't want to. After listening to what each group has to say, compromise with them. Say that you'll switch groups every other day or something. So that you guys can spend time equally. If none of that works then stop hanging out with all of them. Not forever but just for a couple of days. Hang out with that friend you hardly talk to, or the girl who is always alone. Tell them if none of you them want to get along then sorry I cant hang out with any of you. If they really want to hang out with you they would stop and change.
Hope this helps. Elizabeth.

Here are the options might consider. One, is that you can still hang out with both of them but you try your best not to let the other group know about it. The other one, you choose your side. This could be hard as you will lose one of the group, so this is going to be one of the situations you don't want to be in, but if you happen to do this, you can try to make the best out of it, make sure that you pick the group that will count you in and the group that will make you happy, do not make a sacrifice if you're not going to get something worth the trouble back. Another thing you can do is that you can try to leave both groups and find another group of friends, the outcome of this option is. And now the final option and it's actually the option that I would take if I were you, I'll try to unite the two groups. It will be tough, but I think you can do it Cydney, do not let your hopes down! And if they won't listen to you, they're not worth your time, if they really are your friends, they'll listen. If a group doesn't listen, leave them be, you're too amazing to waste your time on them. Iiko.

This one's difficult. What I recommend is that you need to talk to both of your groups of friends (separately of course) about how you want to be friends with all of them, and you have to divide your time between them. If they're your true friends, they'll understand and they'll be okay with you dividing your time, because over everything, they'll still want you in their lives.
Hope it helps! Elizabeth.

I understand your situation because I had the same problem in high school. What I would suggest for you to do is to try to find a common interest between the two groups. If you can find a common ground for these two groups to come together on, maybe you can all be friends and not fight over friendship (something which should bring joy not feelings of unrest. Andrew.

While your friends are probably lovely people when they aren't battling a civil war over you, perhaps it is time that you made some new ones. I am by no means saying that you ought to completely let go of the friends that you currently have, but if they cannot accept that you have other friends to whom you must devote a bit of your time, perhaps they are not the best companions for you. What I suggest is that you go out and join a few clubs or groups, join them by yourself and not with any of your current friends, and meet a few people who have common interests as yours. Make some friends who won't constantly shove the fact that you have other friends right in your face, some friends who will treat you like a human being and not like property. You deserve better than you have been handed, sweetheart, and you know it just as well as I do, but perhaps you just needed help figuring that out for yourself. It can be scary, change, but it can be necessary as well. The new friends that you make will help you cheer up and be happy again, and as for the friends you have currently, I'd tell you that you shouldn't completely stop socialising with them, but that maybe you ought to give yourself a little distance and let your poor heart heal. No one deserves to be bickered over like they're less than human, just try to remember that. I wish you all the best with your future, whatever you decide is best to do, love! Mela, United States.

First of all: remember that it is your friends who are in the wrong. It is them who are becoming jealous of you spending time on "the other side", and it is their insecurities being brought to the fore. If they're true friends of yours, then they won't worry about you spending time with other people. They need to accept that you've got your group of friends, and that it may not coincide exactly with their group. As long as you treat them with respect and kindness, you've got every right to expect the same from them. Remember that you've also got the right to choose who you're friends with, and more importantly, to spend as much time as you want with them!
If in the end, it turns out they still hate each other, then try explaining this to both of them in turn. If they can't accept it, then it's their loss for losing such an obviously nice friend, and the only thing left in that case is to pity them for their ignorance and narrow-mindedness. I'll emphasise again, there is no need for them to get jealous, and if they do, then that's unfortunate. One thing you could do is to abandon both of them for a while and make friends with another group. That way, they might see sense and long for you to come back. I'm genuinely sorry about your situation, and I hope that you'll find a solution to it. Remi.

The fact that you have other friends in different social circles shouldn't bother either of your friends at all. It seems like both groups may be jealous and feel like you are betraying your friendship to them (which of course, you aren't). The next time they bring up the issue, you should ask them to explain why they don't get along with the other group. If you can, try to arrange a casual meeting with someone from each group and discuss why they find your spending time with the other group so bothersome. If they can't accept you for spending time with both groups, then suggest that you will stop hanging out with them altogether until they can. Hopefully they will realize how silly they are acting, so give them time to come around. Best of luck! Blake.

Firstly, her situation makes my think about a French expression which is "Avoir le cul entre deux chaises" (it means : being torn between two situations).
If I were one of her TRUE friends, I'll tell her something like this:
Someone who loves you (friends here) have to understand you, listen to you & listen to what you're feeling (bad or good feelings). Friends are people who cares about you & what makes you happy (even if it means that it's against them). If your friends are thinking of THEM before of YOU, it simply shows that they're egoist, cause this is unfair to force someone to choose between people they like.
Another thing is that, your situation shows how much you are appreciate by people so this fact should help you to rise your mood. They want so much to have you for their own, that they're jealous of each other of your groups. That's a good thing, don't you think?! Anyway, what I'd do, is to do what I WANT, and if they are TRUE friends, they'll be able to understand my decisions. Of course, this is not easy, but this way you'll see WHO TRULY CARES about YOU! Sincerely hope my answer could help her & give her strength, cause I know this isn't easy but just really unfair. I genuinely send her all my support from France & hope this situation will resolve ASAP. Best regards, Delphine.

Just wanted to tell you that I've TOTALLY been there before, so I know how you feel. What helped me the most was simply planning out the time I spent with each of my "friend groups", and letting both groups know when I did or didn't have time to spend with them. That cleared up any confusion or misunderstandings there may have been. Then, when I was with one friend group alone, I simply had a chat with them and told them how I was feeling. If they're your real friends, then they'll understand that you're overwhelmed by the whole "friend war" they're having, and they won't throw you in the middle. They'll appreciate the time you spend with them, and respect the time you spend with your other friends... even if they don't like your other friends. The middle is a tough place to be, but I'm sure if you plan your time, and talk to your friends about your feelings, everything will work itself out eventually! Love from, Sheila, USA.

You are brave to even bring this subject to the surface. So for that, good on you. The word 'friend' is used so loosely today. Facebook 'friends', BFFs at the end of the day, your friends are the people who love you where you are. You don't have to choose when you are loved. They just accept you warts and all, choices and all. So maybe you need to evaluate if they are really your friends or if they just enjoy drama. You don't seem to like the drama. You have a choice to give them the power to rent space in your head, or just let them be where they are, and maybe find some new friends. I wish you well. Relationships at any age and with anyone are hard. Take it easy on yourself. You are a good person. Know you are loved. Amy.

Cydney, there is a simple answer to your problem of which I will gladly give to you. Sit down your two groups of friends and have them talk about their hate for one another. Be there to monitor them so they do not break out into a fight. Offer your guidance and explain that their problem can be easily solved. If it is that of the past then it would be best to forget it. "The past is the past and you cannot change the past". If it is that of a disagreement, help sort the problem out and explain to them that it is pointless dwelling on unimportant prejudice or conflict, even if it is not a stupid reason to get upset. Life is too short for the smaller things to create trouble, life is to be spent having fun and enjoying yourself, smiling at all times with no hatred.
Don't let them get you down. I know you'll do great! There we have it. Philippa

While I must admit, it's wrong that both groups to show that much displeasure towards you, I cannot caution you enough, that, if one of these groups is a "bad crowd", or a group of people who frequently do bad things, then STAY AWAY!!!
I was caught between two groups of people, and one group was known for doing bad things like drugs, alcohol, other various things young people shouldn't do, and I made the wrong decision, and they ended up hurting me, physically and emotionally.
That being said, you can't let these groups tear you apart, you need to individually set your personality down in front of everyone. You need to tell your friends that you are like one group, but also like the other, and that isn't going to change. If your friends truly respect you, then they can learn to respect the other group for their similar values to you. Best wishes, Bradley H.

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