Feel like you're playing tug-of-war with your ex over your mutual friends?
How can you possibly break things off with your ex when you still have the same circle of friends, the same parties to attend and you risk running into each other almost every weekend? It was tough enough to split up the pots and pans, but how can you possibly split up your friends? It is hard to truly end things if you risk running into your ex at almost every social event. Although you may narrowly miss running into your ex at a football party, there is no chance that you will miss running into each other at a friend's nuptials.
This challenge is a difficult one, but it is not impossible to manage. Here are a few tips for keeping the peace with your mutual friends, while minimizing contact with your ex.
1. Express your thoughts and feeling to your mutual friends: Talk to your friends about your feelings surrounding the break up, and how you would feel if you ran into your ex. Let your friends know that you will need some time apart, and that emotionally it would be difficult to run into one another. If you do not find that your friends respect your feelings, you may want to sit down and have a talk with them so they can gain a better understanding of the situation and your boundaries.
2. Avoid gossiping about your ex. We can all recall a time when gossip came back to bite us. Avoid talking in a disrespectful manner about your ex to your mutual friends. Chances are that if you talk about his inadequacies in bed or how many zeros were really on his paycheck, the gossip will come round circle. Also, remember that if your mutual friends engage in gossiping about your ex, chances are they are also gossiping about you to your ex. Follow the wise words of Benjamin Franklin who once said, "I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody."
3. Ask your friends if your ex will be present. It is appropriate to ask your friends if your ex will be attending a party. Your friends should understand if you elect not to attend an event in order to keep your distance from your ex. Not only would it be awkward to run into your ex, but it would be even more uncomfortable to run into your ex's new love interest.
4. Don't expect your friends to take sides. In all likelihood, your mutual friends want to keep both of you around. It is up to your friends whether or not they will continue to stay friendly with your ex. Respect the choices that your mutual friends make. Do not try to sway them one way or another because it is ultimately their choice to make.
5. Be careful about how much information you reveal to your friends. If there is information that you do not want being passed along to your ex, then be careful about what you say. Avoid sharing information that would cause increased conflict with your ex should it get back to him. Also realize that even though you may have unfriended your ex on Facebook, he may still be privy to information that you post on your friend's page.
And if all else fails...it may be time to split ways with your mutual friends. If you do not feel that your feelings are being respected after communicating your needs, it may be time to move on and spend time with a different group of friends. Remember that building and maintaining friendships takes effort. A perfect solution cannot be found overnight, but through this process you will learn who your true friends really are. As the wise Aristotle once said, "misfortune shows those who are not really friends."
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