Stuck In The Middle Of You

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I noticed recently that my closest friends in Second Life are two couples. Both couples have wonderful loving and realistic relationships, but I begin to wonder if their relationship went sour, where would that leave me? Would I have to choose sides or worse? Would I be stuck in the middle? Trying to spend time with each one separately while not referring to the other one at all?

It’s not always romantic relationships ending that cause this situation. Friendships, business relationships, etc. end frequently in both worlds with hurt feelings and ill will on both sides. We all have been stuck in the middle of two feuding former friends.

Yet not everyone is aware of the consequences of being stuck in the middle of a public breakup in a small town environment that is Second Life. When relationships or friendships end in small towns, the phones start ringing and soon the entire town from the mayor down to little Johnny are speculating if Mr. and Mrs. Smith broke up because of Mr. Smith’s hot new secretary. Some of the town may talk and discuss to offer sympathy. Others may talk spitefully, especially if Mrs. Smith was key in the town’s gossip circle as being especially quick to point out other’s flaws and giggle at other’s disappointments.

In Second Life, the cycle is even more quick and vicious. Text is copy and pasted over and over in IM and Plurk windows. Blogs are commented on, and many are eager to delight in other’s failed friendships, businesses and relationships. Everyone has an opinion that needs to be shared.

So what happens to the key few that are stuck in the middle of this mess? Many would say that the best step is to stay quiet, hope it blows over and respect the privacy of all involved. On some level, I would agree. Though, I have always been a big believer in doing my best to be honest, even if the truth is not always favorable to all parties involved.

I can say that in past experience trying to stay close friends with both parties is almost impossible to maintain. Unfortunately sides have to be chosen, or else close ties may have to be severed. You can not lend a sympathetic ear to both parties equally. You will only end up miserable in the attempt. Yet staying completely out the situation helps no one. The best course of action is to try to quickly ascertain the facts and choose a side. By choosing a side, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to blackball or spread untruths about the other person involved. Though, if in the course of trying to determine which side to choose, you discover that one friend is completely out of line to the point of inexcusable social behavior, it may be in the best interest of all involved to reveal in an honest and factual manner the details of the break-up. This may solve a lot of other people heartbreak in the long run.

Being stuck in the middle of a disagreement can be just as stressful as being involved in the actual conflict. When the dust clears, if the squabble was over something minor, and the friendship or relationship is repaired, the friend you stood behind will remember your kindness. If the other person involved in the disagreement wants to mend fences, then he or she will mend them with both of you. Though, if during the disagreement you stood back and did nothing or tried to offer advice to both sides, you may find yourself out in the cold.

If the disagreement is never resolved and the relationship is permanently over, then you will come out of the conflict with one friend and your self respect intact.

Though, there is one last scenario to discuss. What if you stood by the injured friend’s side, released factual information of how they were wronged, and your friend chooses to drag themselves back to the relationship against your best judgment? Then at that point all you can do is state your concerns and step back. Allowing yourself to return as a friend of both when you know the true nature of one of them would only be enabling.

I know that many people will not agree with this post, as they may be the stand back and let the chips fall where they may sort, but this advice has served me well in many similar situations.

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4 Responses to “Stuck In The Middle Of You”

  1. Hi!

  2. I did the opposite I removed myself from mutual friends because for one, the situation was so bad in regards to lies about his RL and two, I needed to distance myself from him and all reminders of him. So basically I did the choosing for them I guess.

  3. ♥JellyBean♥ Says:

    Great post as always Daila. 🙂

  4. Theodore Nacht Says:

    Social circles in SL are small and people repeatedly date inside them. Partnerships are formed, partners dally with friends inside the circle, and then partnerships bust up to be replaced by new partnerships, and everyone in that circle is expected to pick a side. It happens over and over again, a single cell splitting infinitely. Things grow more and more strained, and there’s no real way to know what’s going on. Often unless you’re BFFs with someone on the inside, you don’t know the details of what happened and don’t really know which side to choose. As much as I hate to intrude on someone’s privacy, unless they’re going to tell me upfront what really went down, I think it’s wrong for them to expect me to choose a side at all.

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