Cinderrella asks: I have a problem with some friends, a guy and girl. They both like each other very much, but the girl says she isn’t ready yet to date, so this guy is always coming to find out if she really likes him or not. Since I’m pretty close with both of them, the girl asks me not to tell him anything. I try doing that, but he just doesn’t back off. I don’t want to be mean to him, so what do I do?
Hi Cinderrella –
I have lots of posts on here about dating issues, but I don’t think that’s the real problem here. What’s really going on is that your two friends are putting you in the middle of a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with you!
It’s hard, because you’re a nice person who cares about both your friends. But the truth is that both of them are putting pressure on you that’s really pretty unfair. I think your job is to stand up for yourself and set some boundaries, without pushing either of them away.
One great way to do it is to be extremely clear. To say something like “Because I love both of you, I’m going to step out from all of this. You have to tell each other what you want to the other to know. But I value you both and so won’t be a mediator between you anymore.” And if that is enough to get them to stop trying to pull you in, then that’s great.
But what if they don’t? What if you say that and they just keep making you part of their stuff? In that case, I’d suggest you get a bit harsher. Like to say to them “Look, I’m sorry but I just refuse to be part of this. You’re just going to have to work it out yourselves!” And if that doesn’t work? Probably you need to be simpler at it: “No! I am not part of this!”
The funny thing is that, while it feels like you’re being harsh and unfriendly to them, you’re actually being a better friend. And you’re definitely doing a better job of holding on to your friendship (since couples often blame the third-party for anything that goes wrong!).
So be strong Cinderrella, and keep those friends. In the long run, they’ll appreciate it!