What’s Beef? Can You Be Friends With Your Best Friend’s Homie-Turned-Enemy?

August 9, 2012  |  

The older we get, the more some we seem to get stuck in the sandbox dynamics of yesteryear. The most basic rule of the playground jungle is that if I don’t like someone, you can’t like that person either. Children can abide by that rule until the next day at school when everyone is cool again, but it’s much different for adults. The 18 and older crew can hold grudges and mutual friends get stuck in the middle. Hard as you may try, it’s difficult to be friends with two people who are having beef amongst one another, especially if you befriend a party after the falling out. If you do try to be cool with your friend’s former homie-turned-enemy, be prepared for a whole lot of drama.

Everyone’s been there.  I’ve got two friends who aren’t speaking to each other anymore. They’re not even friends on Facebook either. It’s that deep that they took the time out to delete one another online. The specifics of why depends on who you ask. The one fact I know for sure is that I’m trying to be as neutral as Switzerland, trying not to offend either one because I haven’t banished anyone from my friend’s list. I even had a moment of guilt because I wished Friend A ‘Happy Birthday’. Before my fingers hit the keyboard, I wondered what the reaction of Friend B would be. Ultimately, the message was put out there for all of Facebook to see. I got a thanks from Friend A and thankfully, Friend B didn’t cuss me out in Cosmic Sans or put the Miss Celie curse on me in all caps.

I try to mind my own business and stay out of drama that’s not for tabloid consumption. I’ve resisted taking sides or being pulled as the prize in a tug of war. I like both of my friends and at one time envied their strong bond. That time has come and gone. I haven’t tried to play peacemaker and they’ve respected my decision to stay on the sidelines of their fight. They don’t use me for information on the other, but that’s not always an option for others who get drawn into the drama. Let your friend catch you having a conversation with her enemy, or see you two together in a Facebook album, and all hell can break loose in some instances. But why? Are we not all adults who can make our own decisions? Does loyalty mean that because you fell out with someone, your friends should interact with them at all?

In this world, we’re not always going to get along. Families aren’t even functional most of the time and friendships aren’t any different. People are going to bump heads and not all friendships are meant to sustain through the years, but good ones shouldn’t be sacrificed as casualties of your issues with someone else.

Maybe we can’t all just get along as Rodney King suggested we do. But there can at least be a ceasefire when it comes to sharing friends. You don’t have to direct your rage at someone else who isn’t cool with your friend, because if the tables were turned they probably wouldn’t be mad as hell on your behalf. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation where you treat the ex-friend like crap you scraped off the bottom of your shoe just to prove your loyalty. I only reserve that type of ride-or-die mentality for the woman that birthed me. My mom is the only person I’d side with in every situation even if she is in the wrong. That’s just how it is, but everyone else has to endure my rational side.

Losing a good friend is hard enough, but adding more names to the list and being mean to someone who did nothing to me just doesn’t seem worth it at the end of the day. There are some people that I just don’t like, but our mutual friends are still uploading pics of them smiling on Facebook.  I’ve just learned to accept it. I don’t pay anyone else’s bills but my own and it’s not my place to tell anyone who they can be friends with or who to cut off. They can enjoy their free will as long as it doesn’t interrupt our friendship.

Some of us left the sandbox years ago and are capable of being adults. It’s a novel concept that’s worth spreading the word about.

Stephanie Guerilus is a multimedia journalist and author. Follow her @qsteph

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