By Jamie Hergenrader
When two friends split, it’s pretty much the worst.
When a best friend is going through a breakup, you’re there pronto to support her. Whether that means hosting an all-night vent sesh, sweating it out at a fitness class, or blowing off steam on girls’ night out. You’re on her team, 100 percent.
But when the person she’s breaking up with is also one of your best friends…the rules change a bit. In other words, you can’t indulge in any ex-bashing you might otherwise do (“he was so boring anyway!”), and you can’t devote all your time to just one person because you’re neutral in this territory.
Of course, if you’ve been friends with one since diapers and then developed a friendship with their S.O. when they started dating a few years back, choosing a side is more acceptable and probably expected. However, if all three of you have been buds from the beginning, that’s when it gets tricky. Follow these rules from Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, to get all three of you through this split.
1/ Set Boundaries Upfront
Assuming that you have been friends with both of these people since the beginning and you want it to remain that way, you can’t and shouldn’t choose sides. It’s fine to listen to them as they vent about how angry or hurt they feel, but resist adding your own input (“yeah, that was really unfair of her.”) “Those kinds of boundaries are necessary so that they can trust you when you spend time with the other person,” says Greer. And on that note, don’t divulge what one person has said or has done to the other one—it’s none of their business and you could end up hurting them more if you start gossiping about, say, the other person’s rebound hookup.
2/ Prioritise Your Time
If you’re pretty close to both of them, you could end up being the sole shoulder for two people to cry on, so you’ve gotta balance your time carefully. Choose the activity that will best support each person, says Greer. For example, grab lunch with one of them and hit the gym with the other. And make sure these are convenient to your schedule, too—supporting both people can drain your energy and your time, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
READ MORE: 8 Signs It’s Time To Break Up
3. Don’t Post On Social Media
Even if they know that you’re caught in the middle, that doesn’t mean they want to see you hanging out with their ex, says Greer. In fact, they may have cut off social media ties with their ex after the split, so when a pic pops up on their feed from your account, that could be hurtful. For at least a few months after the breakup, try to avoid posting about your hangouts with either person.
This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthmag.com