How To Handle Two Of Your Friends Feuding When You're Stuck In The Middle

Fights are never a pleasant thing to deal with, but such is the way of life. You will inevitably either be involving yourself in fights or trying to sort them out for other people. But sorting out fights between two friends can get extremely tricky. It's a situation that needs to be handled with caution, sensitivity, and empathy. If you have found yourself in such a delicate position, we have some tips that might help you decide the best course of action.


After all, nobody wants to be a mediator or a counsel for one friend against the other. However, if you are clueless as to how you can help two friends who are hopelessly feuding, we are here to cover all the right bases. For starters, avoid taking sides and try to distance yourself from the issue if possible. In a perfect world, you'd want them to sort it out and keep you out of it. However, if that's not possible, there are other ways to handle the situation. 

Avoid taking sides

First things first, taking sides when two of your friends start fighting is something you should avoid at all costs, especially when there is no one at fault or no clear reason for the fight. Siding with one friend will make your other friend feel left out, particularly if it is a three-person friend group.


Let's assume that one of your friends really is at fault while the other friend is the clear victim. What should you do when this is the case? Remain neutral. Otherwise, the victimized friend might feel like you're favoring the friend who is at fault, which could lead to bad blood between the two of you. To avoid this, publicly state to both of your friends that you do not agree with or support what the friend who is at fault did and that you do not want to take anyone's side. "To be clear with them, say something like, 'I care about your feelings, but I'm not going to take sides,'" psychologist Marie Land told HuffPost.

Don't validate their arguments

We are sure you are used to hating the same people your friends hate. But what happens when the person your friend hates is also your friend? When one party starts complaining to you, you will most likely fall into the rhythm of your past conversations and start agreeing with them. Then, when the other party starts complaining, you'll end up agreeing with them as well. This will cause more misunderstandings, and your friends will lose confidence in you and your judgments. So, avoid validating their arguments against the other person because by doing so, you may be unknowingly taking their side.


To keep yourself from being sucked into having these kinds of conversations, try your best to change the subject whenever they bring it up. While this technique won't paint you as the greatest conversationalist, it will prevent you from ending up in a sticky situation. However, if the subtle change in conversation doesn't work, be upfront about it. In other words, say something like, "It kind of makes me uncomfortable to talk about X with you. Can we talk about something else? What'd you think of that new Jordan Peele movie," according to Marie Land via HuffPost.

Act as a mediator

If you are desperate to end the battle between your friends and want to go back to the good old days, try to mediate their feud. When acting as a mediator, there are a couple of things to consider. The first step is to get both of your friends in one room so they communicate face-to-face instead of through you. Let one person speak first and be sure the other person is not interrupting them. Have them voice everything out in the open so there are no misunderstandings. "What you want to do is help both of them do their own best thinking about the situation rather than trying to fix it for them," Caroline Packard, former corporate litigator, told the Chicago Tribune. "You can listen and ask open-ended questions and help them think through what's important to them."


Most importantly, when meditating, remember to avoid voicing your feelings. It's easy to get emotional when you're mediating for your friends but doing so can create animosity between the two fighting friends or between them and you. Therefore, you should remain impartial at all times. After all, all that is required of you is enabling them to have a healthy argument that might or might not bring about a solution.

Tell them how you feel

Conflicts are never fun to be a part of, whether it's from a distance or right at its center. And being a part of one, even if you're just on the sidelines, can take a toll on your mental well-being. If listening to your friends bicker at each other or complain to you about one another is draining you of energy, feel free to communicate this to your friends in a gentle manner.


You can say something along the lines of: "Please avoid coming to me with complaints, I don't want to take sides, and your fight is unpleasant for me to deal with right now." Any considerate friend who values your friendship will consider your feelings and avoid getting you mingled in the feud. Keep in mind, you have no reason to feel guilty about prioritizing your mental health and well-being. "It's OK to say no and to not always be available, and this is especially true in an unhealthy relationship," clinical psychologist and relationship coach at Loving Roots Project Shelley Sommerfeldt tells Prevention.

Know when to walk away

If you find yourself frequently stuck between two friends who always seem to be fighting, try to reassess your friendship. We should indeed be there for our friends through the good and the bad, but if your friendship mostly consists of two of your friends fighting and you having to sort the situation out, you might have to consider leaving the friendship altogether. In that case, tell your friends why you feel you can't continue to be friends with them and try to make new friends. 


However, when making new, lasting friendships, be sure you genuinely enjoy their company and are not just making friends to compensate for your lost friendship. After all, they might feel used and taken advantage of if you're only befriending them to fill an empty space. If all goes well though, you won't have to lose any friends, as maybe this time apart will lead them to seek professional help.