I’m setting out on a new adventure, filled with question askin,’ straight-talkin,’ and witty insights. I’m doling out advice in a new series we like to call “Ask Amanda.”
I’ll have a regular column here at Converge that answers a question or two sent in by you ever-faithful readers. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have about relationships, friendships, families, etiquette, business, church, finances, or stain removal. (Hint: the last one usually involves baking soda). I’m open to answering anything from “How do I know he likes me?” to “My mom’s best friend’s uncle in Kansas wants me to join his pyramid scheme but I’m not really into selling plastic flamingos on eBay. What should I do?”
Now you’re probably asking why some random young woman on the Internet is qualified to answer your burning questions. Here’s a list of some of my qualifications:
- Some people might scoff, thinking a 26-year-old hasn’t lived much life. But I understand what it means to have a big, complicated testimony. I have asked tough questions and am stronger for it. I have made stupid mistakes and learned from them. I have also made my share of wise, healthy decisions. Also, I’m actually 26 and 10 months old, thankyouverymuch.
- I don’t think decisions should be made in a bubble. I believe outside input from others is crucial to making important and wise decisions. While I realize I still have a lot to learn, I know I can offer this sort of perspective and insight to people in my generation.
- My name fits in the “in order to be an advice columnist you need to incorporate borderline cheesy alliteration in your title” category. “Ask Amanda,” you guys. It’s so legit.
I have two friends who I’ve been close to since we were kids. Unfortunately, a couple years ago, a fight over a girl between my two friends led to a falling out, with me stuck in the middle. They have refused to talk to each other ever since. I’ve dealt with it and have been able to remain “neutral” thus far, but now one of them is getting married. I was invited to the wedding, but the other friend was not, and when he found out, he was really upset that I accepted the invitation. I want to support both of my friends, don’t want to have to choose sides, and I really just want everyone to get along. What should I do?
Paul, 28, Indianapolis, IN
Weddings sure do bring out the best in people, huh?
Good on you for remaining neutral. Three-way friendships can get dicey quickly (ask me about the Beanie Baby debacle of ’96 sometime), and it takes courage and a ton of patience to stay neutral. That is something most people would give up on fairly quickly. Hang in there. Both of your friends need someone like you in their lives.
Obviously, your friends need to grow up and forgive each other. You could urge both parties to act like adults and get over it, but you might cause even more tension between them and you. Try as you might, this type of thing can’t happen unless they want it to happen. Pride and stubbornness are hard to break, and frankly, it’s not your job to fix their issue.
As for the wedding? You should go. Buy a present, shed a few tears in the name of romance and lifelong commitment, and have fun. Weddings are a big deal. If you didn’t go, it would be extremely hurtful towards the groom. It’s the biggest day of his life. You need to be there and affirm the commitment he’s about to make.
Explain to your “shafted” friend that you want to support both of them, but until he puts the falling out behind him, you can’t do that without upsetting him. It is unreasonable of him to expect you to make decisions based on his pride. Let him know your decision to attend the wedding is not a personal attack against him; you would do the same for him if the roles were reversed.
If he is still upset and it causes a rift between the two of you? Maybe that’s okay. It’s hard to be close with someone who stubbornly holds on to grudges. Be the bigger person and stand your ground. You’re there for both of them. If he decides to peace out on your friendship because of one event that ultimately doesn’t affect him, then you didn’t choose a side. He did it for you.
Speak boldly, but gently. Give no one good reason to get angry with you. You’ve done nothing wrong. Be the example of mature and rational behaviour they both need to see. Hang in there, Champ. You’ve got this.
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If you have a question, leave a comment, send me a tweet (@mandiemariebee) or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include your first name (I won’t answer any questions sent in by bubbleguppy5000. Unless that’s your real name), age, and place of residence. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
Photo by Heather Bast.