Caught in the Middle: Dear Pluto's Advice for Navigating Friendship Conflicts
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Dear Pluto, What do you do when you're stuck in the middle of a fight? Two of my friends are fighting and I am caught in the middle. Both of them are telling me what is going on from their perspectives and both want me to take their side but I can't do that to them! What should I do?
Sincerely, Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck in the Middle,
I'm so sorry that you are going through this you probably feel very overwhelmed and if you're like me have a lot of anxiety about it. I have gone through this multiple times before so don't worry. I'm kind of an expert now on this so you’re in good hands. Unfortunately there is no way of not getting in this situation in that sense. Because it’s other people that are having the problem you are kinda just stuck in the middle but lucky for you I can help you to get out of the middle.
One suggestion that has always worked for me is knowing both sides but if that makes you even more uncomfortable you don't have to do that. The hard part about this is that you never pick a side because doing that could end up hurting one of their feelings and you losing one of your friends. After that I feel like it's best if you tell them how you feel in this situation because sometimes you have to worry about what is best for your mental health. This is going to be helpful because it's going to make your mind a little bit clearer and going to make them aware of how you feel. If there is a lot of fighting between them, talk to them separately. If you talk to them together it might cause even more problems.
Another Suggestion is to get them together when things are calmer. Try to get them to discuss themselves not with you there because that's just going to put you right back into the middle. As they discuss it, remove yourself from the situation and give yourself some time. If they end up not fixing it and keep putting you in the middle then you should not be friends with them. Because you told them how it makes you feel and they continue to put you in that situation
One final suggestion that I have for you is to explain to an adult and ask an adult for help. I asked Leona for a suggestion on this question because she has been teaching for a long time so she has a lot of experience. So this is what she said “Yeah that is definitely a tough position to be in! I would say the letter writer should walk their friends to a trusted adult, like a counselor or coach or advisor. They can explain to the adult that their friends are having an argument and they are putting the letter writer in the middle of it all. Hopefully, the adult can sit with the two feuding friends and help them talk out their problems in a productive way.” I completely agree because this will make you more comfortable knowing you don't have to be in the middle and your friends are getting help with their problems.
I think that the most important suggestions were the stepping back and the part of bringing an adult in because it is like keeping you out of the way and not hurting you mentally. Lastly, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I don't deserve this, I wish you the best of luck and I hope these suggestions were helpful.