Okay, so you have friends. Congratulations. Good start. You are a socially active, well-adjusted human being. Your parents or family or whatever are probably proud.
What’s that you say? They’re good friends? Nice. They even like each other? Okay. They all hang out together and everyone is great as a crew? Oh, now you’re heading for some big trouble.
See, here’s the thing. People change, but more than that, as you get to know people, little quirks come out of the woodwork, or, you know… BIG quirks. It’s like discovering that one horrible old uncle at Thanksgiving, except it’s actually a different side to a friend that you never knew about, or rarely see. And when you’re in a group, especially one that’s really active, that’s going to come out.
Bet you didn’t know that one friend’s a huge racist! Whoops. Not only are some of the people in the group black, Hispanic and Asian, and believe me that nastiness won’t fly with them, but the rest of the white kids are totally disgusted by that attitude. You now have one friend down, 10 to go. Okay!
You didn’t know that one friend was going to be suddenly, seriously, depressed or bipolar, and another friend would wind up having a gigantic, dramatic breakup, and THEN, hook up with someone else from your group! Oh, now it’s getting intense. Whoo, the fur is flying!
What you wind up with: nobody’s changed, but suddenly everybody hates each other. AND… they’re all going to pick sides. You can’t even be the peacemaker, because you will be either, A, stuck as a mediator in a he-said she-said ping-pong, or you’ll, B, be forced to pick sides. Let’s not even think about C, the choice where you refuse to pick a side and then everybody winds up hating you. Or blaming you for the whole blow-up. Never mind that you had nothing to do with it! It’ll happen.
So. What do you do?
1. First, try to wait and see if you can. A lot of the time, you will have heard half a story, a completely wrong version of the story, or, you know, lies. People don’t even mean to lie. They just want to make themselves look good, and they can’t always admit they were wrong. So wait.
2. Listen to everyone, if you can. Everyone has something to say for themselves. Some of the people who refuse to even defend themselves may actually be the ones who are totally innocent. Don’t jump to conclusions!
3. Think about each person involved in what’s now turning into the Drama War of the Century. Who’s the usual culprit? Is there one person who is ALWAYS in the middle of EVERY fight? Hmm.
4. Wait a little more, if you can. By now, everyone’s getting super mad at you for not deciding to hate the other guy in the argument, aren’t they? Well, they’ll live. You haven’t seen it all yet. There might be some surprises.
5. Be prepared to learn new things about people. You had NO idea some of the s*** that went down. Shocked? Deal with it. Now, readjust your views and see if you can still try to make peace within the group.
6. Try to remember, everyone is only human. Even if someone is just DEAD wrong, they haven’t morphed into a demon overnight. Most of the time, they’re not actually a bad person. They’ve just made mistakes…. Which doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, or take their side.
Good luck, it can get pretty rough! But in the end, you’ll be just fine. Yeah. You really will.
image via Wikipedia