I have been thrust in the middle of choosing between friends. The incident that caused this involved a family dispute between the parties and ended their relationship. One life has been ruined by the incident. If I support the individual with all the influence, then life is grand, at least on the surface, but if I choose to continue my friendship with other one, then the first one will make my life hell. Numerous times I have told both parties that I am willing to help or support where and when needed in any way I can, but the one with all the power and influence wants me as well as all others who know both parties to choose sides. Most people immediately chose her side and automatically cut-off ties with the other individual after the incident. Trying to stay neutral is not usually too much of a problem for me, but individual 1 knows everybody in town and is trying to stir up trouble and cause issues for anyone not 100% on her side. What can I do? If I cut ties with both parties, which would be the easy way out, it would be like they were dead, but to choose one over the other is against everything that I stand for.
Signed, Staying Neutral
Dear Staying Neutral,
What a tale! And what can I say. You’ve done what I believe many people do, they talk themselves through a problem. You clearly say in the last half of your last sentence that, “to choose one over the other is against everything that I stand for.” This leaves you with two options, continue to be friends with both and ignore the petty arguing and gossip. Definitely not the easy way out and I don’t recommend this for anyone with thin skin. Your other choice is to, as you put it, “cut ties with both parties” and take the easy way out. You may need to talk with a neutral third party who knows the situation before making a decision. It looks like you know the consequences either way, now you need to spend a little time in self reflection and I’m sure the right choice will come to you.
Dear Rose is Boyne City’s local advice column. Rose is a resident of Boyne City, and can be seen living and working in our town. Due to the nature of this column, the identity of its writer is kept anonymous, however, any questions to be answered may be sent firstname.lastname@example.org