Welcome back to our regular feature offering advice to students on aspects of family/friend/personal relationships. In the hot-seat is Rosie, a current 6th former at Kesgrave High School and a founder member of the Student Life steering group.
Broken relationships can be a chain reaction. A whole string of intertwined relationships, whether they be friendships, romantic or family, can easily suffer at the expense of one of those links in the chain. Whilst I am grateful to say I have many strong positive relationships of all different natures, the impact of someone close to you experiencing a failed relationship can be tricky. Whether this be your best friend ending their relationship with their significant other, to a family dispute, or your friendship group crumbling, they can all be tricky situations.
Since high school, I have found myself experiencing the effect of relationships around me not working out successfully. I have undoubtedly the most genuine friends right now in my life than at any other moment before, however when they begin to experience fall outs, break ups and such, it can leave me with a heavy weighted feeling.
We’ve all been in that situation where one of our friendships is super-duper fine, but our friend has fallen out with another of our friends or broken up with them. I’m not necessarily referring to one relationship, but several from school, outside of school and family, and I’ve felt the tension of it.
When in these situations, it’s so fundamentally important not to take sides.
Now this can be tough. You may’ve known one person longer or felt closer to them. You may be totally shocked at what one person said or did, and sympathise with one individual entirely, and this is not healthy. Suddenly, you are sacrificing your relationships for other people’s by cutting off one individual at the expense of your loyalty to the other. But isn’t the whole basic point of relationships loyalty?! Loyalty to support your friends, loyalty to love your family, loyalty to commit to a romantic partner; it’s all about loyalty. Many of us here can get side tracked by our moral crusade for justice and remain loyal to the “good guy” in the severed relationship, that we realise we have completely neglected the other half of our loyalty.
The breaking relationships of other people are not your broken relationships. You should not feel as though you must sacrifice your relationships with people because their relationships have gone hay-wire. You have the right to keep your relationship strong with both parties, regardless of what happened.
Now of course, this isn’t always the case. If your friend’s partner cheated on them, or your friend badly deceives and betrays them, showing them not to be a nice person then fair dos. But if your mates had a fall out because one didn’t contribute to a group project or didn’t like the other person’s Instagram post (believe me, I’ve witnessed this stuff), then there is absolutely no reason to end a friendship. Seriously, this isn’t nursery, people. Don’t make other people’s relationships your relationships, and most importantly, don’t feel as though you have to lose a relationship on account of the other person’s choices. If they are someone who has a healthy, respectful relationship with you, they will respect your choice to maintain your relationship with the person they no longer have a link to.
Your relationships, friendships and family ties are yours. You have the right to keep them, to end them, to improve them, and no one else’s relationships should impact that. *Corny analogy time here*…think of yourself as a tree (seriously, just go with it, ‘lil bit of improv acting here for you). You are the tree trunk, and all your relationships are the branches. Now, all those branches come back to you and are linked on your account.
However, those branches are not entwined, but they do have little twigs growing out of them. If a twig falls off the branch, the whole branch doesn’t have to go crashing down with it. In a similar sense, just because your friends have a petty fall out doesn’t mean you need to too. “But Rosie, what about serious disputes where you want to end your relationship with someone based on what they did, or how they treated the other person?” I hear you ask. Well, *corny analogy intensifies*… in a storm, it’s understandable for a branch to get ripped off the tree, but a little April shower is no match for the strength of a branch’s bond to the big tree trunk.
Okay, weird tree analogy time over.