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Ask Ogonna: Friendships don’t have to break up too

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Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at askogonna@gmail.com and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna


Reader: So two of my friends broke up within our friend group. How do we get things back to normal?

Ogonna: There comes a time in every friend group where one person starts to develop feelings for another. It could even be the reason why the friend group got together in the first place.

Take the show, well, “Friends,” for example. With Ross pining after Rachel, the group got closer and closer and eventually the two started dating. But when the breakup happened, it seemed like the “Friends” group would never be the same. But as we see throughout the next seven seasons, nothing could change the dynamics of friends as goofy and as close as these ones. What’s stopping you from doing the same?

First things first: When a breakup in a friend group happens, get the full story before you make any judgment calls. You are bound to get bits and pieces from each person in the group, but it’s a lot easier to go directly to the source or sources. After all, you all are friends with each other. Get as much information as you can from both sides to fully understand what happened and how you should react.

That being said, don’t take sides, or at least try not to. In situations where the breakup was more or less mutual and you could see it coming, it’s usually a bit easier to bring the gang back together.

In situations where there was a clear heartbreaker who seemingly destroyed the hopes and dreams of your other friend, it can be hard to see that friend in the same light. Maybe the situation was so bad that you don’t even think you can be friends with that person again.

Regardless, it’s important to let this person know how you feel and what you think of the way he or she handled the situation or treated the friend he or she broke up with. There are bound to be fights and arguments, but friend groups should be able to be honest and open with each other without falling apart.

Make sure to support each friend through the breakup, especially if it wasn’t a mutual decision. If one person felt more strongly about breaking up than the other, the “victim” is obviously going to be the friend who got broken up with. Naturally, that person receive more attention, but it’s important to remember that both sides are still affected.

See how both sides of the situation are doing and act accordingly. As a member of a friend group, you should split your time and energy evenly with each person to assess how they are doing and eventually ease your way into bringing everyone back together as a whole.

Don’t add to the awkwardness of the situation. By the time the gang’s back together, everyone will have known about the drama that went on with your friends’ breakup. As hard as it seems, try your best not to make things awkward.

For different friend groups, that will look different. If you all are the type of friends to make light of the obvious situation, then ease your way into it over time. No matter how lighthearted the two friends might seem, they are in some way hurting, so I always think it’s best to give them a few weeks or months before you start to bring up the “Hey, remember when you two were dating?” jokes. I, personally, would avoid bringing up the situation. Let it be the two involved who bring it up jokingly, then hop on board.

Note that when involved in a friend group, breakups, makeups, crushes, hookups and the like might occur at some point throughout your years. Awkwardness is bound to happen as a result as well. And in more serious situations, it can be hard to reconcile your quarreling friends.

At the end of the day, all you can do is support them and show them love. They might not be great friends with each other anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being a great friend to either of them.

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