Three's a Crowd in Seventh Grade

Dear Jitters,

        The worst is having two best friends who become friends with each other. I used to vent my frustrations about “Abby” to “Britney” and vice versa. Now we have a tangled web of “She said this about you” and vice versa because we all can’t help ourselves from talking about what I said about them (conveniently omitting what they said) etc. Do I ditch them both, demand they stop talking to each other, or come up with some kind of ground rules about what we can and can’t say about each other? But then… what would we talk about?


Caught in the Middle

Caught in the Middle,

Greetings! Having some friend trouble? You’ve come to the right place! I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that you are very fortunate to have two best friends you feel comfortable talking to. Likewise, I know you’ve heard only negative things about the result of talking behind someone’s back, especially if that back is your best friend’s. The first step in improving your “tangled web of “she said this about you”” is to accept the fact that expressing your frustrations about your friend to your other friend (or anyone else at school for that matter) may not be the best idea. It seems that with your best friends, much turmoil has already been initiated by this kind of gossip. If you have a problem with “Britney”, why not take it up with “Britney” (and vice versa)? This way, you may even resolve your issue without consulting “Abbey”, who will only tell “Britney”, causing only conflict and embarrassment for everyone involved. This will help you to cause less friction, gain more perspective on how important those problems really are, and set a good example for your friends. The truth is, if someone is willing to gossip to you, they are almost definitely willing to gossip about you to someone else. You must be the first to stop all the drama by stopping your own side talk or even addressing this situation with your friends. Whether or not you three decide to stop talking about each other, it’s important that you do, especially if most of the negativity is coming from what you may have said to one of them about the other. Once you’ve done this, you might just find out a lot more concerning what’s really important to know about your friends- their interests, what you have in common, family life, and more. You’ll likely find yourself with two much stronger friendships, but perhaps more importantly, you’ll have put to rest a habit that prevents you from building them.

I wish you well!