“I can't lie to you and tell you it's easy to do because it's absolutely not.”
That’s what my friend told me when I sought her advice after my breakup.
She’d gone through the same exact thing.
Freshman year of college, you make friends in your dorm, you do everything together, you date someone in the group, break up and are left to deal with mess, all while trying to keep some semblance of normalcy.
My friend handled her situation in a completely badass way.
She decided she didn’t want to deal with the back-and-forth anymore, so she ghosted the whole group and made new friends.
It seems harsh and sounds way easier than it was when pared down like that, but she’s in a way better place today than she would have been if she kept up with her ex two years later.
Unfortunately, I’m not as self-confident as her.
So, here’s the reality for those of us still trying to figure out how to deal when you have the same friends as your ex:
1. Making plans is dreadful.
It’s like a custody battle among friends.
You get to go out with your friends Friday night, and your ex gets them Saturday night.
It seems like an easy solution to not have to run into each other at a party, but it will happen eventually.
And when it does, your best bet is to keep things civil.
Don’t talk sh*t to your friends or roll your eyes when your ex walks in.
You have to keep in mind that by talking sh*t to your friends, you're talking sh*t to your ex's friends as well.
Be brief, exchange all normal pleasantries and get back to the party.
2. You have to avoid smaller social gatherings.
It’s easier to be with your ex at a huge party where he or she is easily avoidable.
Movie night with your close friends is a different story.
You’ll spend the entire night glancing across the room at your ex, and your mind will start racing with a slew of thoughts and feelings.
Not to mention, you now have no idea what’s going on in the movie, thanks to your mile-a-minute thoughts.
3. You have to tread lightly around your friends.
After all, this isn’t the ideal situation for them, either.
The tension will begin to take its toll after a while.
Try not to use them as a liaison between you and your ex.
It’s exhausting for them, and it can get hella awkward.
If you nag about the breakup constantly, it’ll get to the point where they stop being sympathetic and just want you to shut up already.
Be respectful to the fact you and ex have joint custody over all of your closest friends.
4. Venting to your friends isn't an option.
Don’t drag mutual friends into your battles.
Complaining to your friends is fine, but only to a point.
The mistake is usually committed when you just want to unload everything you’re feeling.
Chances are, they don’t know what to say to you when you’re essentially going off on their friend.
They care about both of you, but your beef with your ex isn’t something they want (or should have) to be in the middle of.
5. Lying to yourself becomes all too easy.
If all of your friends are going somewhere and you’re totally not okay, don’t pretend you are.
Whatever social function you’re all going to will turn into a nightmare, especially if there’s alcohol involved.
Your friends will understand if you bail.
They'll probably even be relieved if you’ve had nights that have imploded due to a battle of the exes in the past.
6. There will eventually be someone else.
Seeing your ex with someone new is the absolute worst.
It’s important you keep your dignity.
Don’t inquire about him or her to your friends because they’ve definitely met him or her already, and they haven’t mentioned it for good reason.
At the end of the day, it will just make you feel even worse about your circumstances and put your friends in a palpably awkward situation.
7. Your friends can't help you with scheming after you break up.
Fresh after a breakup, it feels like you’re in a race to prove who’s okay first.
We all do it.
Are you posting that picture to your Snapchat story because you think people will be genuinely interested in it, or do you just want your ex to see how much fun you and all of your friends are having without him or her?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
After a while, your lame attempts to grab your ex's attention makes you look and feel ridiculous.
I’m really lucky to have made such great friends my freshman year (plus one great boyfriend), but the reality is, two years later, it’s still difficult at times to juggle.
The best thing you can do is take it one day at a time.
Keep putting yourself first, and go thank your friends this instant.