Halloween Party Black Listed

by admin on September 17, 2013

We have a circle of friends, nothing formal, but say 12 people that make up the core group and various others that float in and out. Of this core group, 2 people, J & W, have had a falling out. They are both great people, but have strong, dominant personalities that have clashed many times over matters large and small. I think even both of them would admit there’s fault on both sides. Neither excels at agreeing to disagree or letting things go. After their last blow up a while ago, J decided to stop being friends with W. It’s not been a declaration of out and out war, more just a letting go. As he himself said, it’s not like he hates W, he just feels like the friendship is more drama than it’s worth. He’s perfectly cordial to W when he sees him at other group members houses, just does not invite him when he hosts, or attend when W does. And I fully understand and support his right to decide the drama just isn’t worth it, and be friends with who he wants to be, although a few times I’ve had to make awkward cover ups to W when he mentions that he doesn’t see much of J anymore. I refuse to act as any intermediary or try to make peace between them, because experience has taught me that never ends well for the 3rd party.

I feel like J’s new policy is fine for the informal game/movie nights or dinners out that he organizes through the year. However, the whole group has a long standing tradition (think 10 years or more) of having a big Halloween party. Hosting duty rotates, and the guest list expands and contracts, but its the same core group of people at the center. We all look forward to it all year. This is the first year since J & W’s “break up” that J has hosted the party-and he is not inviting W.

On the one hand-his house, his rules. In theory, he has the right to include or exclude who he chooses. On the other hand, this party is a long standing tradition in our group, and has always included everyone. He may be the host this time, but the event is kind of “owned” by the group. Can he unilaterally cut someone out regardless of how the rest of us feel?

So, what is the etiquette correct way to handle this? I’m certain W is going to ask me for details of the party. Do I just pretend to know nothing? Or inform him that he’s not invited and tell him to talk to J?

And do I have the right to ask J to reconsider? I feel like he’s putting the rest of us in an awkward position where we have to choose sides. Should I decline to attend unless he invites W? Please advise. 0915-13

You have a good grasp of the issues as to why this is an awkward situation.   It is J’s opportunity to host a party at his house.  However, J is really exposing his ungracious side if this has been a group party for many years and he’s now purposely excluding one of the core members who has always attended previous such parties.    Further, if J wishes to socially segregate himself from parties that W hosts, that is J’s choice to make but in this instance, he is calling upon his peer group to tacitly facilitate his shunning of W.   It’s no different than a divorce amongst a close group of friends and unfortunately someone ends up losing in order that others not feel so awkward.    I wonder if J has pondered the ultimate consequences of not inviting W to an annual party because that consequence may be that J is not invited when it is W’s turn to host or others in the group decide that both W *and* J bring too much drama to this circle of friends and both are stricken from future guest lists.

Basically J has created drama specifically pertaining to this annual party and you, the unfortunate friends and guests, are caught up in the drama as secondary actors on the stage J is setting.   Act One of the drama has already commenced with you realizing that this is an awkward situation being placed upon mutual friends of W and J and as the scenes and acts progress, the drama gets heavier.  Friends will need to ponder and decide if attending the party will be viewed as a declaration of support for J and rejection of W.   As the party gets closer, the drama escalates as friends try to navigate the awkward discussion about a party one of their own won’t be attending.

The one suggestion I have is that several of the “core friends” meet to speak with J about the awkward situation he has placed you all in and to suggest that someone else host the party this year instead of J.   If the hosting were to change to a neutral person’s house, then both J and W will attend, friends have not been inconvenienced with relationship drama they are not willing to be a party to, everyone is happy and the drama defused.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Another Sarah September 17, 2013 at 4:16 am

I agree with admin and I think probably the best thing that you can do is speak to other members of the group as it probably affects everyone in the same way. Then together you can talk to J about the party.
But I think there’s another issue here. Why has J not spoken to W about wanting to take a step back from their friendship? By the sounds of it W is completely unaware J even has a problem with him and you are scrabbling around to make excuses for him. J is putting you in the middle of his “break up” with W. I understand that you don’t want to act as an intermediary but it sounds like you are doing so inadvertently anyway, so I’d put that on the list of things to talk to J about.

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Celia September 17, 2013 at 5:21 am

Agree with Admin on this one.
A few core members chat to J about it being a group event and that all group members should be invited and perhaps if J cannot accommodate this request (which is his right) then the party should be hosted by someone else.

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Just call me J September 17, 2013 at 6:01 am

I’m surprised nobody predicted this would happen when it was J’s turn to host.

Admin’s suggestion of swapping hosting responsibilities to a neutral party is the easiest solution to the immediate problem.

However, it would seem from W’s behavior that he is unaware that J no longer wishes to associate with him. It makes me wonder how long has the group been making excuses on J’s behalf instead of telling W the truth?

Yes, it’s J’s responsibility to tell W he no longer wants to associate with him, but if the group’s been making excuses for J for a long time, it seems clear (to me at least) that they’ve already chosen to side with J.

If that’s not the case, the group needs to stop making excuses for J, allow the truth to come out, deal with the fallout from the fight this seems likely to cause, and let whichever person (W or J… or both) leave the group and find new friends if they can’t learn to put their differences aside for the sake of the group.

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Huh September 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

Having been in situations like this as part of the J & W equation (divorce) and as the friends, I agree with admin that J shouldn’t be hosting the Halloween party.

I have not been invited to some things because I lost those friends/family members in the divorce as they say, and vice versa. And there are certain friends/family members that have a problem with him because of the divorce and won’t attend if he does. When they say divorce has a wider impact than people realize, they aren’t kidding!

However, and this is something J needs to hear, if we are at the same event, we are perfectly capable of being polite acquaintances and I don’t know why J can’t manage that for large annual social gatherings. Trust me, if I can be polite to my ex after everything, J can suck it up and be polite to W if they run into each other at the party and avoid him the rest of the time! I have two friends that don’t like each other, they don’t invite each other to gatherings, but when I invite both of them to one of mine, they suck it up and deal with it. J might be complaining about the drama, but just based on what I read here, he’s certainly bringing the drama!

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AMC September 17, 2013 at 8:13 am

I think Admin makes a good point. By trying to eradicate the drama that J and W’s relationship brings, J has actually created more drama. The best possible solution here is for someone else to host the party.

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AS September 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

OP: based on your story, I am inclined to disagree that both are not willing let go. It seems W is willing to patch up, at least for the sake of the group. All of you might have inadvertently taken J’s side by making excuses for him.

I like admin’s suggestion. There is still a month and a half until Haloween. You can still move the location to a neutral party’s house.

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Wild Irish Rose September 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’m with Admin on this one. Some of you need to speak with J about moving the party to someone else’s home so that everyone, including W, is invited. If J pitches a fit or declares that he will not attend if W does, then calmly tell him that’s his choice, but that you choose not to exclude W just because he and J have had a falling out. That’s between them, and I would suggest telling J he should work this out with W.

If J refuses to relinquish his hosting duties, then that’s the point at which I would tell him that W is asking about the party. I would tell him that unless he talks with W about the party and whatever issues are going on between them, I will not attend the party–too awkward and uncomfortable, and I’m not okay with being put in the position of choosing sides or explaining to W that he is not invited. Not my responsibility.

What a mess. Good luck!

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Mae September 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

I think Admin’s advice is good, but it seems like a “quick fix” for this years’ party. If the group rotates hosting duty, then is this something that will happen each time it is J or W’s year to host? Or will they be taken completely off hosting duty to avoid this situation in the future?

I certainly would not ask anyone to invite someone they do not get along with to a party they are hosting, *but* if this is a traditional group party, can J and W not let their issue go for one night so that both may enjoy a party with their friends? They don’t have to spend the night acting chummy; they could simply avoid spending a lot of time together.

Also, I think it’s time J just tells W that he is no longer interested in maintaining the friendship or something of that sort. As long as OP & other members of the group make “awkward cover -ups” (OP’s words) for either person, they are acting as an intermediary, of sorts, whether want to or not.

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Jazzgirl205 September 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

It is not really J’s party. It is everyone’s party and ya’ll are just using J’s house (I bet it is even potluck). Take the party away from him and have it somewhere else. It’s funny how the very people who say they can’t stand drama ARE the drama.

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I suggest September 17, 2013 at 10:08 am

And, sometimes “groups” outlive their usefulness. I’ve been the member of similar groups of friends over the years. We have something in common, we bond, and have a jolly time for a while.

Then, people move away, pair up with non-group members, have babies, health issues, other interests, new jobs and the group slowly falls apart.

The fight between two group members might be the first fracture in this particular group. Ask yourself if this group is beginning to grow stale. Might you, personally, enjoy some new and different Halloween activity and let J host a smaller, less inclusive, party?

“Hi, J, it turns out Boyfriend and I cannot attend the party this year. We have been invited to XYZ, and have decided to accept. Besides, it seems weird to me to attend the annual group Halloween party where one particular group member is excluded.”

Just make sure your alternate plans do not include W. You don’t want to take sides. You just want to go somewhere without the J-W drama.

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Lisa September 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

Agree with admin here but good grief…. Unless the situation between them is horribly, horribly grievous, couldn’t J just man up and put his part of the drama (it takes two to tango) aside and host everyone?

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Cat September 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

This is what happens when we do not talk to the person with whom we are having the problem. J and W need to talk this over privately. Unless W crossed a boundary like having an affair with J’s wife or insulting him/other guests , they need to respect one another’s views and be polite for the good of the group.

They don’t have to be best friends, but learning to be cordial is one of life’s lessons. It’s rather like having a relative you don’t care for, but who you have to invite anyway. Say hello and nice to see you, and wander off to greet someone else.

I would say to W when he mentioned not seeing J, “You should call J and talk with him if you’d like to see more of him..” Stay out of it or you’ll end up having to choose a “side” and evryone will go at it like the Hatfields and the McCoys.

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manybellsdown September 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

I think you need to stop covering for J. Whenever W brings up that he hasn’t seen J, or hasn’t gotten a party invite, just say “Huh. You should call him.” and then beandip. Don’t make excuses for J and don’t let W use you as a conduit.

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acr September 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

I just can’t drum up much sympathy for J. It sounds like this is more of a personality clash rather than anybody doing grevious wrong to another party. But J is starting to do actually harm to W. Sadly, J may “win” this b/c everybody will be so busy appeasing him that the more easy-going W will lose out by default. In a way, a big group like this is a bit like an extended family, in that sometimes you have to put up with people you wouldn’t choose to associate with. I don’t think it’s okay for J to make the decision to cut W from a group activity and cause a lot of tension and hurt feelings if W hasn’t actually don’t anything other than getting on J’s nerves sometimes.

J needs to invite W or decline hosting.

And, OP, I really think you need to re-examine the situation – you say there is blame on both sides, but I have to wonder if J is probably more of an instigator than W is?

If J refuses to relinquish the party and also refuses to invite W, OP I really think you need to decline to attend. Because if you do, you are telling J that his behavior is okay, and you’re telling W that it’s okay for J to treat him that way.

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Kara September 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

I really don’t understand all of the PPs who are saying that J needs to tell W why he no longer wants to be friends with him. Why should J do that?

First, going up to someone and telling them why you won’t be friends with them seems to be very juvenile to me (is this middle school?).
Second, if you are stepping back from a friendship because of drama, then going to the other person and telling them that is just going to up the drama, not reduce it.

By all accounts, it seems that J has handled everything very well. He quietly stepped back, it doesn’t sound like he is making a big deal out of avoiding W (the OP even says that J is cordial to W in public) he just doesn’t host W or let W host him (perfectly reasonable!), he certainly isn’t asking anyone else to make excuses to W for him…. (it sounds like the OP has taken that on herself)

OP, you and the rest of your group should just stay out of it. Stop feeling the need to “excuse” J to W. If W really wanted to know what was up with J he would actually try to talk with J, and wouldn’t be making idle conversation about it with uninvolved third parties.

In this case, I would ask J if (for the sake of the group and long-standing tradition) if he could make an exception to his avoiding-W policy in this one instance and invite him to the Halloween party, and, if he couldn’t do that, if he could pass hosting the party on to the next person in line.

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kingsrings September 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

I know what this situation is like, having been involved with several different groups over the years. I’ve observed it with others and have also been the one not getting along with another. The most important thing in a situation like this is for the fighting people to not drag others into their drama. Don’t make others choose sides, don’t give ultimatums, don’t advertise the drama at social events, and most importantly, don’t do what J is planning on doing. Doing any of this really brings the group down, and can lead to the group disbanding. The fighting people owe it to themselves and everyone else to do everything they can to resolve the situation, but sometimes, people simply don’t get along no matter what, in which case, they must then peacefully co-exist for the reasons stated above.

In this case, because of the bad consequences that will result, as other have already stated, it must be addressed with J. What was just their business will then become the business of everyone else if this party is allowed to happen the way he wants it to. The party needs to be held somewhere else, period. The group needs to discuss this ahead of time and appoint a new host. Then they need to approach J and give him the news. Because even if he did relent and allow W to attend the party at his house, there is still too much drama that could occur given that it’s at his house, and it would be a very uncomfortable situation for W.

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Kathryn September 17, 2013 at 11:29 am

J just sounds passive-agressive. I am assuming, but I bet he is wringing his hands gleefully that he finally gets to stick it to W in a public way. In short, I don’t think I like J and his handling of this. If both personalities are strong and gregarious, I find it hard to believe that J can’t find it in him to voice his approach to W in an effort to keep the group dynamic neutral and peaceful. Typically assertive people – I know I am one – have to more or less keep themselves in check rather than bowing out, because the need to verbalize *everything* is so great, LOL. So instead, he is using this high-profile moment to show W just who is boss.

I like the idea of hosting elsewhere, and I also like the idea of approaching J about his actions. It is disrespectful to the remaining 10 of you that he can’t try to get along a little better. There are often times where we are put into situations where we don’t enjoy the company of others (work, for instance, but even other situations). The chance that you are going to click with 11 other people at once is highly improbably and probably means there’s not a lot of depth to the group dynamic in the first place. So that he can’t get along for the sake of the rest of you is pretty shameful on his part.

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Kathryn September 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

*correction after re-reading: ” The chance that you are going to click with 11 other people at once is highly improbabl[e] and probably means there’s not a lot of depth to the group dynamic in the first place [, adding, if this were the case.] I am not suggesting this is a shallow group, just suggesting that if 12 personalities could come together and get along swimmingly for a long, long time, it’s probably not a very engaged group. But if the group is close enough to have been together this long, then there is some deep seated relationships and not all of them are going to be on the same level, which is fine and expected!]

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Stacey Frith-Smith September 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

You could attend J’s version of the group party, boycott it because the whole situation is too silly, or host an alternate function that includes everyone at another venue. What you cannot reasonably do is tell another adult how they must host a party in their own home and I’d say it’s “pushing it” to try and remove hosting privileges. It borders on being overly controlling. As both J and W are adults, why not let them sort it out?

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Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

1. I think that this issue should ideally be resolved (either deliberately or organically) before the holiday season. If one Halloween party is causing this much stress, imagine December, when everyone’s planning Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s Eve parties. I agree with the others who’ve said that J and W shouldn’t host “whole group” parties while they’re not speaking to one another.

2. The good thing about rifts like this is, when they happen between two members of a long-standing social group, the two people usually either reconcile, agree to be civil in a group context, or the rest of the group shifts away from them, until they figure it out–or not. If J is an adult, I hope that he realizes that it’s not worth potentially alienating his ten other friends just to avoid W, when he doesn’t even actively dislike W–he just says that W gets on his nerves sometimes.

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NostalgicGal September 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

The short term fix, I agree, have someone else host this year’s party. More than one needs to approach J and explain it tactfully…. J may be bent and bound on being the host this year too, nobody’s mentioned if that’s the case… in which case moving the party might be problematic too.

Rest of it, stay out of the dynamics between J & W. They’re grownups, they can sort it.

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Abby September 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

Sometimes people just don’t want to be friends anymore, and that’s fine. If J would just rather step back then sit W down and say, I don’t want to be your friend anymore, that’s fine. And if J hosted any other gathering other than this particular one, I wouldn’t have a problem with J leaving W off the guest list.

However, this seems to be a very passive aggressive swipe at W and I don’t like it. If J absolutely cannot stand the thought of having W enter his domain for the sake of group harmony, then I agree with all other posters that J needs to step down as the host. However, it appears to me that J is relishing the thought of excluding W in a painfully obvious way, and one where it will definitely appear (to W) that all mutual friends have indeed sided with J. This seems a lot more calculated than what OP lets on.

I mean, who here has ever had to suck it up and invite the SO of your buddy that you don’t care for? Or the buddy of your SO? Or a family member? Probably all of us. Unless W has done something really awful to J, I think J is using this opportunity to hurt W and I wouldn’t go along with it, OP.

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Sarah Jane September 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I can take the “divorce” example a bit further. I’m in a blended family, and we don’t allow my stepchildren’s mother into our home (trust me, we have our reasons.) The kids are involved in several extracurricular activities, and we help out whenever we can, but we can never offer to host the “team party” and such at our house. It wouldn’t be fair to the children to block their mother from attending, and it wouldn’t be fair to us to be forced to welcome her into our home. Therefore, we let other families host the parties and in-home meetings, and we volunteer in other ways.

W shouldn’t be excluded from the annual party just because one person is mad at him. Someone else in the group needs to step up and insist on hosting the party elsewhere, where both gentlemen are welcome. And if J disagrees with that decision, let him stay home. He can’t very well have a party by himself, can he?

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Ergala September 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I agree with admin on this. When my ex and I broke up I remained friends with everyone. He tried to get back together but at that point I was already seeing someone new so I kindly rejected him. They all decided to have a party on New Year’s Eve and I was not invited. Ex was hosting. He made a point of telling everyone NOT to tell me about the party. I honestly did not care. A friend of mine who was dating ex’s best friend told me about the party when I asked if she wanted to get together that night. She was really sheepish and felt bad. I was kind of shocked that all our friends decided to just shun me like that since I did nothing to deserve that other than break up with someone in the group. The friendships never mended. It was too much drama, I could see what was going to happen in the future and to me it was not worth it. Don’t be surprised if W decides you guys aren’t worth his time and distances himself away from everyone instead of the one person with a problem. By remaining silent you are in fact supporting J’s behavior.

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kingsrings September 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I’ll never understand why some people make others choose sides when they break up or get a divorce. I’ve seen it happen countless times with friends and acquaintances. The person will make some declaration saying that whomever doesn’t drop their friendship with their ex isn’t a friend of theirs anymore, because if they were indeed a true friend, they would side with the person and drop their ex for what he did to said person. Or that they need to drop any friends who maintain a friendship with ex because they might be “spies”. Facebook is notorious for this especially – any friends who remain friends with the ex get deleted. My feeling is that I don’t know what really happened in the private matter of their marriage/relationship, so why would I take sides?

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Karen L September 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Wow, your friends ROTATE hosting duties? In my group of friends there are only two of us that will do ANY event planning whatsoever.

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Marozia September 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Admin, again, is correct. Find another place to host this party.
Questions; Why would ‘W’ ask you for the details of ‘J’s’ party when you have a group of other friends he can ask? Are you the “Mother Hen” of this group? If you are, DON’T BE….it just doesn’t work.
‘W’ should not be excluded from the ‘J’ party. And don’t you, OP, go getting yourself and others in to bat for him either. These two are both adults, let them sort it out.

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Cat September 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Kara brings up an interesting point-why should J tell W that he is discontinuing the friendship as this is not middle school? It seems to me that that is exactly the point-it’s not middle school. It’s two adult men, both belonging to the same set of friends, who are about to split a group of good friends. A teen-aged girl might say to her friend, “If you don’t know why I’m mad at you, I am not going to tell you.” and go flouncing off, never to speak to her/him again, but most of us out-grow that behavior.
W honestly doesn’t seem to understand the situation. It would behoove J to explain that their last disagreement bothered him, and he is wondering if they are just not cut out to be friends.
If you have never made someone furious with you and didn’t know exactly what you did, I’m envious. Most of us have put our foot in our mouths a time or two. I have a cousin who once proclaimed that all religious people are just lying hypocrites. She said it to two deeply Christian family members who were paying her way on a vacation.
W may see their discussions as a healthy discussion over varying points of view while J finds it offensive and disturbing. If W knows that, he may feel J’s friendship is worth agreeing not to discuss religious, political, or other controversial subjects.

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Elsie September 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I like the idea of someone else hosting for this year, since there isn’t much time otherwise. Either the whole group needs to discuss I. With J, or a spokes person in their place needs to if everyone is not able to get together for it.
If J refuses to relinquish hosting, then politely excuse yourself from the party. But don’t hang out with w that night either. Go somewhere else or have a nice night at home. If more neutral friends don’t go, then hang out with them. Rinse and repeat!
But like someone else said, once w catches wind of this, he may not want to associate with the group anymore. It’s sad, but his right. The excuses made by others for both parties is a bad mistake.

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Kylynara September 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Honestly, I have a bit different take than everyone, although maybe I’m just reading it a bit different. I am perhaps viewing J as more reasonable, but self-centered than others. I think the hosting the party elsewhere is an excellent plan B, but I far as I can tell no one has even talked to J yet and pointed the problem out to him. It seems possible to me that he just doesn’t know. I think the OP’s letter spells it out beautifully. The OP says J has no problem being around W at parties hosted by other group members. I think the OP needs to have a frank discussion with J about the situation. Two things need to be covered. For the Halloween party the OP should just share his/her mixed feelings with J and see what he says. Maybe he’ll just say, “You are right this party does belong to the group as a whole. I’ll invite W.” Maybe he’ll suggest someone else hosting. Who knows. Also the OP should probably say something along the lines of, “W commented the other day that you aren’t around much anymore, you did tell HIM you were stepping back didn’t you, because I didn’t feel I should be the one to tell him.” Of course if W comments on it again the OP should direct W to call J. And she should have done that the first time W commented, but hey I can totally see not thinking of it on the spot.

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hakayama September 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm

@ergala, kingsrings: The “mechanics” of friends dropping friends in cases of divorce can be convoluted. However, from my own experience, I dare to venture that friendships seem to work out in a similar way to material assets. The parties wind up keeping what was theirs prior to marriage, the “relationships” forged during the marriage seem to go mostly to HIM.
There seems to be this interesting notion “out there”, that the new divorcee is a predator on the loose, bent on latching onto any nearby male. The fear of the predating huntress applies also to widows… After the demise of her husband, a friend of mine was completely walled out by previously congenial friends and neighbors. And we’re not talking about a glamor-puss on the loose either…

The J[oe] and W[ill] situation is complex in that we’re dealing with concepts of “friendship” vs. mere “acquaintance”… One does not have to be on intimate terms with everyone that attends sociable gatherings. Just look at the people in political circles.
However, if Joe is CORDIAL towards Will, rather than coolly polite, one could gather that he should not have a problem inviting Will to the Boo festivities for a dozen people. He does not seem to be capable of making up his mind as to where he stands. Running hot and cold is not a very endearing behavior.
I could understand an aversion to a dinner for four, but a Halloween party? It’s so infantile!
Is Joe perhaps trying to test the loyalty of the friends in that circle, but he’s really going about it in an asinine way. In my crystal ball ;_), I see Joe falling away from the group in a short time…

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hakayama September 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Correction:
“However, SINCE Joe is cordial towards Will, rather than coolly polite…”

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Cassandra September 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

So weird, our group is having pretty much the same problem lately. Only everyone is injured to the Halloween party, just hoping they don’t all show up!

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Cassandra September 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

*invited, not injured! Silly auto correct!

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SleepyKitty September 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

Just to respond to those asking why J should tell W they’re not friends anymore:

The way I see it, no matter what, W is going to be told that he isn’t friends with J anymore. The group is large enough, and there are enough mutual events (like this Halloween party) that mean W is going to 1) notice J isn’t around and 2) ask why. He’s also, very likely, going to keep asking why.

That means someone is eventually going to have to answer his question. It’s not a mutual friend’s responsibility to say, “Oh, J doesn’t want to hang out with you anymore.” It’s J’s responsibility. By not stepping up and explaining to W that they’re not friends anymore, he’s passively forcing others to either lie for him by making excuses or break the news for him. Neither is appropriate to expect others to do for you.

Ideally, yes, one would just quietly step back from a friendship. But that really only works in one-on-one friendships – and even then, I usually see the question “Why don’t we hang out anymore?” come up. When you have a group, particularly one with 12 people in it, questions are going to be asked, and J needs to take the responsibility for answering them.

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acr September 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

I can see how J doesn’t want to approach W and say, “I don’t want to be friends anymore,” but he could say something like, “I think our political discussions have become too heated, so let’s not discuss the election” or whatever.

And I can’t help feeling that if J were actually distancing himself in an Ehell approved way, W wouldn’t really have noticed.

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Ergala September 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

@hakayama yeah it always blows my mind when the falling out between two people can divide a group. Whether it be from an argument, break up or divorce. I’ve had friends break up and usually the one making the biggest stink (i.e. I will NOT go to the party if Betty is there…if you were my friends you wouldn’t either!) or the one bringing up the misdeeds of the other person tend to be the one shunned. Or the complete opposite happens, everyone feels so bad for them and they start to view the ex as a demon without ever getting their side.

Since when are break ups group events that requires sides to be taken? I didn’t drag him through the dirt. I never even brought up that I caught him cheating on me and THAT was the reason I ended the engagement. I simply said that sometimes things come to light and you have to decide if it’s something you can live with. If the young woman wasn’t staying at his parents house maybe we could have worked through it….but she was a childhood friend down on her luck and with her there I knew that he would do it again. I also knew that he’d do it again even if she wasn’t there. He had no remorse. I could have made his life hell but I didn’t. I simply ended things as drama free as possible and went on with life. Just sad that my friendships took a 1 way trip into the dumpster because I took the high road.

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Bill September 19, 2013 at 12:36 am

Stop facilitating J’s inability to grow up and handle their own problems.

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Abby September 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

“Since when are break ups group events that requires sides to be taken? ”

Wandering off topic, but this question caught my eye. I think if you are good friends with both individuals, and one *really* wronged the other one, it would be hard not to take sides.

If, however, one person in the couple decided he or she just did not want to be in the relationship anymore, and let the other person down as easily as possible, and treated him or her respectfully, yet the dumped person is just taking it really hard, that’s a little trickier. No, the dumper has not done anything wrong and doesn’t deserve to be outcast. However, one person in the relationship is suffering a lot more than the other is, I think temporarily, the instinct is to show more support towards your suffering friend, with the reasoning that even if the dumper doesn’t have as active of a social life as he or she used to, at least he or she is not nursing a broken heart like the former partner is. It’s not fair, but that seems to be the way it goes, at least at first.

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Angel September 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

J sounds pretty passive-aggressive. I’m with I suggest (post 10). Sometimes you have to be the one to step back from the group and do your own thing. Make your own neutral plans with other people. Revisit the group at another time.

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