Divorce is hard on everyone, including family and friends of those involved. It’s doubly hard when you, and maybe your spouse, are so very close to the divorcing couple as a couple.
Perhaps you’ve traveled together, shared meals, holidays, and family time together. Maybe you were a part of each others' weddings.
And now you’ve learned that it’s over. Rough waters are ahead and it looks like you are at the edge of the shore.
When divorce happens, the gossip mill is churning and emotions may be running hot.
Etiquette skills can help you navigate these rough waters and not tip over, as individuals and as partners.
Choosing sides places individual relationships involved in jeopardy. While you may be closer to one half of the couple, you’d like to remain friends with both.
But siding against one of them will definitely cause a divide!
Even though you may be feeling hurt and confusion about this evolution in your relationship, strive for impartiality. They may both need your friendship and may want to discuss the goings-on regarding their split.
If you can handle this aspect of your friendship, it’s fine to listen. But remaining impartial means that you don’t use information against one of them when offering advice to the other.
Sometimes being a friend means finding help rather than getting in over your head. Explain to the parties involved that you want to remain friends with both of them and, therefore, do not want to be pulled into the midst of any conflict. They may be better served to talk to a professional.
Repeating hearsay and speculations only fuels the fire of emotions involved in divorce. A good friend will not contribute to this!
There will be times when a conversation may stray – especially when one partner is crying and emotional while discussing deep feelings. Your natural tendency will be to agree or advise.
But tread carefully here. Under the circumstances, it’s best to keep this event, and everything discussed during it, to yourself.
Stifle the desire to share any details with other friends. Choose to remain aloof. Gossip is always tempting, but this is a golden opportunity to prove your trustworthiness while you protect the dignity of your friends’ situation.
Before they became a divorced couple, you knew your friends as a single unit. And perhaps you and your spouse or partner is known to them as a single unit.
However, your relationship is evolving. Each of you may need to consciously work on getting to know the others as individuals.
If you’ve decided to spend time with both friends, separately of course, you can try balancing this time with each one, not getting hung up if it doesn’t end up gravitating that way.
Depending on the evolution of the relationships involved, you may find yourself inviting both people to future events – graduations, weddings, baptisms, and other events important in your family. All the more reason to work hard for the right mindset now, realizing that good relationships are formed in courtesy, kindness, and good manners.