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Caught in a Cat Fight

by  Merissa Nathan Gerson

March 7, 2010 | 6:27 pm

Bite marks from a fight between two vicious women.

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Dear Yenta,

I introduced my friend Jane to my larger group of friends, helped her get a job and a place to live and still keep in fairly close contact with. We share a
mutual friend, Sally, who is upset that Jane does not spend enough time with her and make enough “effort” in the friendship. Jane talks crap about Sally when I see her and Sally talks crap about Jane – down to intimate opinions each one has about their significant others. I find both of these friends have a troublemaking, frenemy side and try to keep my relationship on the surface, but find these point-blank attacks by one friend on the other difficult to deal with. I don’t want to take sides…even if I agree with Jane that Sally’s bf is not a good match for her or agree with Sally that Jane needs intensive counseling.

How should I deal without taking sides or looking
like I’m in cahoots with one over the other?

-Tug-Of-War


Dear Tug-of-War,

Lady, just don’t take sides, period. There is no rule in life that you need to be sucked into other people’s drama. This from an expert at drama suckage.

You need to set some limits for Sally and Jane. Try being HONEST and saying you would rather have some sort of pact that you don’t talk about each other. Just be frank, explain that you love both of your friends and would like to not hear about them. It is an awkward and uncomfortable limit at first, but I guarantee that phase will pass. Soon you will find you can talk to Jane and Sally about OTHER things.

When I was a waitress a customer once told my coworker that whenever you talk about other people it is for a reason. The reason could be boredom, lack of interest between you and the conversant, any number of things. Rarely when we talk about others does it come from a sincere space of need. As Buddhist Dharma Punx master Noah Levine once said at Rebel Saint Buddhist in LA: “Whatever people are saying behind your back is none of your business.”

Build yourself a new spine and evade this perpetual cat fight. The world is your oyster.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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With more than 10 years of talk therapy under her belt, Merissa has waded through life’s dilemmas with a constant reflective therapeutic bird on her shoulder. Add a few...

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