What do I do if there’s conflict in my friend group but I don’t want to get involved?

October 7, 2016

What do I do if there’s conflict in my friend group but I don’t want to get involved?


Hi there! Conflicts among friends can be tough, especially if you value all of your friendships and don’t want to lose any of them in trying to save other people’s. First, think about what the conflict is over. If it’s something small, there might not be that much risk associated with getting involved a little bit. Having a mutual friend bring some common ground back into the issue can help a lot. If the issue is very large or you are uncomfortable getting involved, find someone who can. Maybe enlist the help of a counselor at Tang if you think someone’s (emotional or physical) health is at stake. Or perhaps find another person who has more knowledge regarding the conflict to speak to the friends separately. Unfortunately, major conflicts can sometimes lead to a lot of negative feelings. Don’t let the conflict affect you or others in your friend group if possible. Stay positive and supportive and remember that even if the conflict is not able to be resolved, you can still maintain great friendships with the individuals, even if they are no longer friends. I wish you the best of luck!

Love, Simran 

A problem within small or large friend groups can be a sticky situation. It is by all means fine to not want to get involved. The last thing you want is to be sucked into the problem yourself. Ask yourself if this problem could be alleviated in any type of way amongst the people that are involved. Simply just continue your day to day activities with your friend group. Just keep doing you! If you were never involved with the conflict in the first place, the best thing to do is to stay away from it. Try your best not to take any sides, and if they ask for your opinion, try to stay neutral. This is a period in which emotions are running high and mighty. Be sensitive to both sides of the issue and act as a listener as opposed to a speaker. You would not want to anger someone, causing you to be part of the problem! Your friends should acknowledge that you do not want to be involved and respect that you would like to be fair and unbiased. One positive thing that you could do would be to arrange fun group activities that could possibly mediate this conflict. I find that whenever predicaments arise in my friend group, having something to rekindle that bond is a good way to jumpstart that process of fixing the friendship! :) 

-Angela


This is definitely a hard situation, and you may be feeling trapped by it. What’s really important is that you continue to be a source of support for all your friends. Be honest about your desire to not take sides and get involved, but that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to your friends discuss the conflict or be sympathetic.

Be careful to stay respectful and don’t say inflammatory or judgemental things (to anyone, and especially not through text) that may make other people think you’re taking sides. You probably won’t be able to directly solve the problem, but by listening to your friends, you may be helping mentally process the struggle in their own minds and let them find their own solution. If you choose to go this route, make sure you do a little preliminary research on active listening and conflict mediation skills to really be the most effective peacemaker possible. Make sure your friends respect your boundaries by not making you feel guilty about your position, not using you as a messenger, not saying ugly things about the others in your presence, or even not talking about the issue if you can’t stand it anymore. Overall, conflict usually blows over quickly, so stay conscious of how you want your relationship with your friends to be after this fight ends. But even if the worst-case scenario of your friend group breaking apart occurs, you can still maintain your friendships, although it may take more work. I hope this helps! Good luck!

-Vini