Getting caught in the middle of a rivalry or an argument among friends is uncomfortable and can often lead to long-term conflicts, or even the loss of a friendship. If we want to nurture relationships, we should learn how to navigate the treacherous paths of conflict.
Here are some strategies to elude triangular conflict
- Know your role. You are a friend to both of them, and whatever business is theirs is exactly that, theirs.
- If asked your opinion privately by one party or the other, maintain neutrality relentlessly. Your integrity is on the line.
- Don’t try to fix the problem. It is not yours. Don’t offer “silver lining” arguments or diversionary tactics. Be aware that this leaves you fewer options, and make a firm decision just to sit this one out. Be disciplined about it, and keep quiet.
- Do not be a carrier pigeon! You are not a note-passer, a personal secretary, or a proxy. Conflicts between two of your friends should be settled in an adult way with the two offended parties finding their own way back.
- Keep quiet about it. It is no one else’s business either. Don’t be a conduit of information to third party observers. Not only is it a betrayal of your friends, you have no control over the information that gets passed along.
Conflicts among good friends will usually end up being solved. The path to healing is one that is really fairly simple, though it may take a lot of courage to get there. When triangulation occurs, you being the odd one out, the path to healing gets very mirky. It is no longer a straight path; rather, it becomes one that must meet your approval before it can be traveled.
A healthy life relies upon healthy relationships, and we have the best health when we extend our commitment to well-being into all areas of our lives.