The Group Friendship

It’s lunch, on Sunday, and I’m eating with a friend. I’m explaining why I’ve recently toyed with the idea of phasing out a friendship.

“Well, she screwed me over once. And she always reminds me of why she’s a better person than I am. And once she told me I was stupid,” I say.

“So, remind me of one reason you want to keep the friendship in tact?” my friend asked.

“Well, she’s really close friends with another girl that I really like.”

“Friendships don’t come in groups,” my friend said.

I begged to differ. I wish it was true. In the ideal version of friendship, every relationship would be independent and your friendship with one person wouldn’t affect your friendship with another.

But what if two girls are best friends? And you’d really like to be friends with one but not so much the other? I don’t think so.

It’s possible, sometimes. Sure. But it largely  involves big conversations where you explain to one lady that you are ending your relationship with the other, and you have to all agree to be “mature adults” about it, which means you’ll play it cool, but secretly be looking for hints to each others’ friendship with whichever lady you no longer speak to.

As much as I’d like to think that a friendship with one woman wouldn’t dictate that with the other, the reality is that it can be hard to isolate relationships. If you started out as a threesome, it will likely always stay that way. If you have five lifelong BFFs from high school, it’s going to be hard to pick just one maid of honor.

It’s not great news. No. But it’s real life.

So, at lunch, I told my date that while friendships don’t come in groups, they sometimes do. And that I don’t know how to maintain a relationship with one pal while ending it with another. And since we’re friends as a trio anyway, there’s always the buffer of the girl I do like. Even if this other “friend” thinks I’m stupid. Or something.

Do you have any friendships that come in groups? Ever been forced to hang with someone you didn’t like because your mutual friend is just that great? Share your stories below!

If you’ve read MWF Seeking BFF and are willing to share your opinion, maybe you’d like to write a review on Amazon. Hearing about someone’s personal experience with a book can be really helpful for potential readers. Thanks everyone!

12 Comments

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12 responses to “The Group Friendship

  1. This has been on my mind a lot lately, as I’m in a similar situation. I have a group of seven to nine women who I used to see weekly, and we were all pretty close. There have been “side friendships” developed out of the group, and a couple of the ladies were good friends before the group formed. Anyway, lately there has been a lot of tension and drama mainly surrounding one of the group members; unfortunately she and I were very close at one point, but not anymore (for a number of reasons). I am in the midst of phasing out my involvement with the group because of this one person, and it’s difficult — I’d like to stay friends with around half of the other members, but it’s just not working out well; I may end up on my own.

  2. san

    I think the most awkward thing in a situation like that is that you feel you can never be completely open with the girl you want to be friends with… because if she’s really close with the girl that you don’t like too much, there is always the fear that she’s going to get “caught” in the middle and leak (even mundane) information that you might not want the other person to know.

    I definitely see how this can makes things awkward.

  3. I think that this can have plus and minuses. Sometimes, it could lead to a better friendship. Sometimes, it could lead to losing a friend you want. It’s a tricky situation (or it can be). And I never quite know how to deal with it. I think it’s almost as tricky as trying to extract friendships from group events where other people might not be looking for friendships.
    Speaking of which, if you’re interested in hopping over to my blog (http://danceinrain.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/my-first-step-to-bffing/), I wrote about a step that I made (it’s kind of long and rambling, but you were definitely an inspiration!!)

    Elise

  4. Megan

    Yep. In that predicament right now! Also – I have *two* maids of honor, which I thought was a great way to deal with the “this is the only time women actually publicly declare their best friends” issues of having more than one really close best friend.

  5. Mari

    I recently stopped being friends with a girl because she became best friends with someone I really disliked and then began ignoring me. I didn’t start any drama or anything but I felt like I had to back off because she choose to be friends with someone she knew would make me uncomfortable and because like San said, you can’t ever fully trust the person for fear that the one you dislike would somehow find out. I couldnt share any problems with her because I wouldnt want the other girl to be happy that I’m unhappy. Then again, I am still friends with all of our mutual friends. I think it depends on the attitude of the person you do want to be friends with.

  6. I absolutely understand this. I had a falling out with a friend during my sophomore year of high school–10 years ago!–that ended up pretty ugly, but we are both part of a group of about 12 people who has remained friends since high school. If I want to organize an event for “the group” or even just the girls in the group, I have to invite her. Even though she doesn’t like me, and I know it. There’s no way around it without losing ALL of those other friends. Granted, we are civil to each other now and I have tried to reach out to her to reconnect, with poor results, but as long as I am friends with this large friend group, she will always be part of my life.

  7. Lauren

    Ugh, this has totally been a recurring problem in my life. I was very close with a tight group of girls in high school, and while I’m still quite close with some of them, there are a couple girls who have grown-up into women I just don’t like. Though, not all of the group feels the same. I, too, find myself feeling obligated to invite them to parties and outings because breaking up “the group” would just offend the women I’m still close with. It’s a pickle–I don’t hate these women, per se, but I’d just love to spend (largely hard-to-find) time nurturing my true friendships, not pretending to enjoy the company of women I could gladly say goodbye too (and they probably feel the same!).

  8. While I agree that groups DO affect friendships more than we’d like them to, I strongly believe that you should be able to be friends with people out of the “group” as well or they mustn’t be that great of friends in the first place. That’s why I kinda feel more comfortable being friends with people one on one, then you don’t have to worry about all of that drama and picking whose the “very best” out of all of them.

  9. I hear you.

    I posted a comment a while back about a falling out I had with my Maid of Honour. We tried to repair the friendship but 18 months later, it’s dead. I’m still friends with one or two of the girls from the group but I can feel the entire group friendship eroding simply because the two of us aren’t friends anymore. She ‘won’ them, as harsh as that sounds, because I was living overseas for a while and they got closer. I still see a couple of the girls and when the two of us are at the same events, we’re civil and friendly, but I know that I’ve lost that group.

    Sometimes it just comes down to ‘how does the group as a whole make you feel?’. If hanging out with 2 or 3 girls because you like 1 of them ends up making you feel like shit, then it’s not worth it. Plain and simple. Yes, it’s hard to make new friends as we get older, but it’s no reason to keep the toxic in your life.

    (Note: I make this sound easier than it is.)

  10. Nico

    I’m in a similar situation to some of the other commenters – still see a group of high school friends regularly, although there is one in the group whom I really rather dislike and would be happiest never seeing again ever. I am *very* close friends with one other in the group and we get together separately – that has never been a problem, as the two of us have been BFFs for almost 20 years. But I can’t invite the group over without the one I don’t like (and mainly I don’t like her because she is incredibly self-centered and thoughtless, in addition to being shallow). And although others in the group actually feel the same way, they don’t have the heart to stop inviting her (I would in a second).

    As far as maids of honor go, it’s a nice perk of having a sister I like- no clash there!

  11. Anonymous

    Wow, I’m in a situation covered by a *bunch* of your posts; I have one friend who likes to poach my other friends, and has a group that includes someone I don’t like (and who clearly dislikes me). We are all moms, and our kids play together well, but the only time I get to see some of these friends now is as a group. Which includes the mom I don’t like.

  12. I had the opposite problem. I was the middle of trio and always trying to get us to spend time together. Eventually I got tired of trying and between that and a few other issues we stopped talking for a few years. Apparently in that time they got very close and did hang out. We made up a year and a half ago, but now they don’t hang out anymore, due to various issues they have within their families. So it feels exactly the same to me as before which is a bummer.

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