February 15, 2013 - submitted by Mindy, Australia

My friendship group is tearing apart. A complete split. Right through the middle. I don't know how to handle this at all. What did you do when you lost really good friends? Did you try and split your time, did you let some of them go? I don't want to lose them.

The Oracle replies:

I feel for you because I know how hard that is. I don't know how old you are and even though this happened a lot more in my school years, it doesn't get any easier no matter how old you are so I shall fast forward to now, to my older wiser advice...
I've seen it happen, I've had it happen to me and I have also instigated it on several occasions - one quite recently.
Sometimes you outgrow people, or they you and that's just how life goes.
You may feel stuck in the middle but it's not your fault so try and fit in whenever and wherever. If your friends can't be mature about being in the same room as each other, making plans will be difficult but that's not your problem. Of course it's going to impact on you as the mutual friend. I suggest you could alternate who you see and when - or simply do what YOU want to do.

I have had to adapt to changes in friendships and sadly that has sometimes meant that I have been left out but it makes you truly appreciate real friendships and differentiate between acquaintances. It also makes you value people. To me the most important thing about friends is a mutual love, trust and respect. You don't need to stay friends just because of a long shared history etc. Just like a relationship it's about compromise and without that it can feel very one sided so do look at what you put in and what you get back. If that's not balanced perhaps you are better off without that particular friend/group.

Now for you, things like birthdays may seem like an impossibility but just remember it's their decision not to be friends so let them decide what they want to do.
What I will say is this: it's sometimes for the best that friends part so do bear in mind that no matter how much you may want them all to get along, that may not be what either party or both parties want so don't try to fix it. If it's meant to be, let them sort it out.
Try to remain diplomatic by not taking sides or getting dragged into slanging matches but there's no reason at all you should lose any of your friends.
Over to you.

There's no straight forward answer to dealing with a rift in your friendship group. A few years ago I went through the exact same thing, it was a horrible time because this group were like my safe haven so when it split I didn't really know who to go with. I had spent a lot of time floating about between friendship groups and it made me kind of anxious that I would end up with no friends. I didn't really understand what the grievance was, I was pretty much neutral in that sense.
I'm a creature of habit so I stuck to one of my closest friends throughout all the conflict. I think that may be because I never really trusted the other members of the subgroup I was in. I gradually gravitated towards the people who had left the group and found out that I felt so much more comfortable around them.
If you are on neutral territory then don't let anyone tell you who to be friends with because if you have no grievance with them and if you are still very good friends with them then it would be a shame to let that go. Make sure you find out all the facts because it doesn't help to be clueless like I was, you don't want to be hurt by someone you thought was your friend. Don't feel like you owe certain people your friendship, it should't be something you have to think about, you just do it. If you end up having to justify to yourself why you are friends with certain people then maybe its a sign you should break free of them. Finally in the words of our good old band, Don't Panic. Don't feel abandoned because your real friends will stick by you, just be yourself and be as good a friend as possible to everyone, bearing in mind that you can't please everyone. Does that make sense? I really hope this helps.
All the best, Naomi.

I think it is sometimes best to just let people go. My personal philosophy is "You don't need anyone that doesn't need you." It's the hardest thing in the world to let someone go. I've had to let my ex-boyfriend and best friend go, one of the hardest times of my life. But he didn't need me, so why would I waste my time? The sooner I realized that, I was prepared to move on and be a stronger person. Alexa.

A friendship group, whatever the time you have been friends for, is really hard to keep assembled, especially with the work, school or university, conditions each one has, his chance and his destiny and it really make us sad.
But dear Mindy, the material absence cannot split your friendship. There is a spiritual presence in every single instant YOU live and thanks to God there are many ways to keep contact with THEM. I agree with you it can't replace your first assemblance but it really works.
Be sure dear Mindy that we all are sad about being so far from our friends and families, but get and keep hope and prospect that there are surely days you will spend with them and tell them that you have never forgotten them. The important is that YOU will never delete THEM from YOUR close friends list, don't ever let them go. Take care of yourself Mindy. Hasnaa.

When my friends fight, I feel horrible, like you probably feel. What I've tried to do is spend time when them each separately, and if you are really good friends with them (like I was), you can talk to them about why they are so upset or mad. When you begin to piece this together, you might be able to find out how to repair their friendships, equaling happiness for you!
Much love, Claire.

I went through something similar last year. For a while I thought I'd lost some of my closest friends, and naturally didn't take it well. Over time though, I reflected on everything that happened and realized that some of the people I considered friends weren't very good ones. It helped me value quality over quantity. It's really just about who's actually acting like a friend. They'll want to remain friends just as much you do. You cant worry about it too much in the end as you cant really force anyone to want to be your friend. Just make sure they know you care about your friendship with them. You didn't say what the reason for splitting is, but hopefully this helps. Wish you the best. Love, Darem.

Being caught in the middle is horrible! In my own life there was an instance where splitting my time between two groups of friends worked because both groups understood I wanted to keep in touch with all of them. But having said that, even though they were understanding some were still hurt that I didn’t take ‘sides’, and it took some time before friendships with a couple of them were back to the level/place they’d once been. In another instance, after trying really hard to fix everything between everybody I had to choose a ‘side’ (although, there were times when things became so nasty I felt like walking away and finding a whole new set of friends!) Try not to be drawn into gossiping or bitching (which can be hard - my friends expected me to ‘support’ them via gossiping etc & became upset with me when I didn’t) Being in the school environment and in close contact with both groups might make things difficult for a while, and, it is incredibly hard, messy, & heartbreaking to lose friends, but Mindy, you can’t control what others think or do, so as cliché as this sounds, my advice is to remain true to you (your values/heart/ etc) and hopefully your friends will realise and appreciate you and your friendship no matter what else is happening between them all! All the best Mindy! Cali.

I know your situation, that sometimes can happen to people who are more tolerant than the others in their surroundings. When they unfortunately have friends who need to position in cliques, there is a risk that they are considered for being strange if they don’t want to join to only one side. I don’t know details, but for me it seems you have a better survey of the situation than your friends do have.
Don’t let your attitude ruin by those split sections and be yourself. It’s hard to feel left out somehow, you can try to be friend with both sides, but you can’t split yourself, a day has 24 hours, not more. If you can stand for a while the contact to both - sooner or later one will follow meeting “the others” too, and maybe it will be put right again step by step. If there’s no reconciliation then go your own ways, where you will find new friends. You won’t find any during mourning a conflicted crowd. Let them see you are strong enough to go on without them, then perhaps they want to follow again one day, and if they don't want to then let them go wherever they want.Best wishes. L.Q.

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