Friends Divorcing: How To Stay Neutral

November 2nd, 2023

Friends Divorcing: How To Stay Neutral

 Divorce in general is tough. When your friends are divorcing you may be wondering how to remain neutral, but in support of your friends. It can be helpful to set boundaries upfront. Setting boundaries can leave little room for you or your friends to be put in an uncomfortable position. Communicate to your friends that you respect, and want to preserve your friendship with, them both. Let your friends know that you are there to listen. You are not a marriage counselor or therapist. You should not be giving advice or becoming the messenger between the parties. There is no reason for you to be more involved if your goal is to remain neutral.

Be upfront and Set Expectations:

 If you have never witnessed or experienced divorce, this may be a lot for you. Be patient with yourself and your friends. Set boundaries with both parties, and let them know where you stand in this situation. You are not there to influence any decisions regarding their marriage, to speak poorly about either party, or try to be a mediator between the parties.  If your goal is to remain friends with both, let them know that. Setting boundaries upfront may help eliminate any situations where you or your friends feel as if you are picking sides.

 Picking Sides:

The last thing you want to do when trying to remain neutral between both parties is pick sides. Your friends are going through a difficult time, so they may say things they do not mean about the other party. Understanding your perspective and their perspective of the situation are different, conversations, message exchanges, body language, can all be misinterpreted or taken out of context. You shouldn’t pick sides based off one person’s story; there are always two sides. In this case, it is okay to simply remind your friend that you would like to remain neutral.

Friendship After Divorce:

After the divorce things may be awkward, as you are now seeing the parties separate. Take time to digest it for yourself. This situation for you and your friend(s) will be new to navigate.  If you feel like you need to take time apart from both parties, do that. Let them know that you are trying to balance both friendships, while respecting the other party.