Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I have two friends who don’t like each other. They expect me to choose sides, but I don’t want to. Is there any way I can make peace between them or at least stay friends with both of them?

New Era

It’s hard when friends have disagreements. It is especially difficult to be caught in the middle, when you really would like everyone to like each other and get along.

You may feel a little sad or even angry that your friends are acting this way. But remember the verse in Proverbs that says, “A friend loveth at all times” (Prov. 17:17). You’ll have to be extra kind and thoughtful as your friends are going through this hard time.

If you want to remain friends with everyone, be strong and insist that you will not choose sides. Tell each of your friends you are going to stay friends no matter what. They may be feeling insecure and might be worried about losing you as a friend as well as the person they are fighting with.

To be a success at staying neutral, you should ask each of your friends not to say anything bad about the other one to you. When they find you will not talk about the other person, then they will know that you are being sincere and are not talking about them either. Realistically, one of your friends may not like this arrangement, but if they choose not to be your friend anymore, it will have to be their choice.

Perhaps after a little while, you can get your friends together to talk about their differences. Maybe they could be friends again once they get over their anger. Maybe you could be the one to break the ice and get things started (see Matt. 5:9 and 3 Ne. 12:9).

It’s too bad when true friendships are ruined. Consider this example: Two close friends had a lot of interests in common. Unfortunately one of their common interests was a boy. One friend got angry because the boy paid more attention to the other one. After that fight, they never had anything more to do with each other. Each one refused to make the first move to apologize, so they avoided each other all through their high school years.

Five years later, they met at a party. They started talking and discovered they still had many things in common. They became close friends again, and a few months later, one asked the other to be her maid of honor at her upcoming wedding. They were grateful to have rediscovered their friendship, but they were both unhappy that they wasted five years when they could have been enjoying each other’s company. Maybe you can help your friends discover that they really would still like to be friends (see James 3:16–18).

But if you get them together, and they still refuse to have anything to do with each other, don’t push it. You can’t force people to be friends.

In our lives, we are often interested in lots of different things. It’s perfectly logical to have best friends for different areas of your life. You could have a friend that shares your interest in music or sports, a friend that you can talk to about the Church, a friend that you like to study with. If you are a kind, considerate, loving person, many people will want to be your friend.

Always remember, in difficult situations there are people you can go to for advice—your parents, Church advisers, and the one who knows and loves us best of all, our Heavenly Father. You can always take your problems to the Lord in prayer.

Readers

I had two friends like that too, and I treated them both the same. I didn’t take sides but was nice to both of them. By doing this I have lots of best friends.

Katie Vranes, 13 Salt Lake City, Utah

I think friends are so important. I would tell both of them not to talk about each other in front of me. They need you as much as you need them. If they are true friends they will do as you ask.

Carrie Thompson, 14 St. Louis, Missouri

I had three friends who hated each other, and they all wanted me to be the only one they were friends with. The situation was really bad until I called all three together at once and said I was tired of being put in the middle of their problems. They all looked at me like I was really crazy. Later, I got down on my knees and prayed to my Heavenly Father. I asked him to help me find a way so that all three of my friends would see what I was going through. My prayer was answered, and the attitude of my friends changed. My family moved, but my friends are finding out that they were never really mad at each other. They are all good friends now.

Just remember one thing, Heavenly Father is only a prayer away, and he will help if we ask with a full heart.

Joanna Mellor, 17 South Jordan, Utah

A friend and I got into a really bad fight, and we haven’t spoken to each other in almost two years. Now, my best friend likes that person who hurt my feelings, and she likes me too. It is sometimes very hard for her to choose between us. All she does is stay neutral, and she doesn’t say anything bad about either of us. And she stops us if we are starting to say something bad about each other.

Name withheld

Two of my friends were in a fight, and I ended up in the middle. My best friend feels she cannot have more than one friend at a time. She finally opened up and told me how she felt. Maybe your friend is afraid of losing you like my best friend was. Heavenly Father will help if you ask.

Sarah Miller, 14 Columbia City, Indiana

When I was in high school, one of my best friends came up to me and said, “If you continue to be friends with Joanne, I won’t be your friend any more.” I was so surprised, but my decision was simple. I would continue my friendship with each girl. If Jackie shunned me because of my friendship with Joanne, it would be her decision. That never happened. Twenty years later, Joanne is the friend who still writes and sends Christmas cards and pictures of her family. I am so glad I didn’t accept Jackie’s challenge and lose a lifelong friend.

Vicki Nelson, 36 Independence, Missouri

Prayer is the treatment which you need to do for your friends. Prayer does change things. God is mindful of us and ready to respond when we place our trust in him. Jesus loves to turn enemies into friends, and you will be loved by Christ when you make peace between your friends.

K. Indira, 18 Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The best solution is to be extra friendly to both friends. Be calm. Remember Heavenly Father loves everybody no matter who they are.

Heather Linn Heward, 15 West Valley City, Utah

I have two very close friends, and I love them both for different reasons, because they represent two different parts of myself. I have found myself trying to get them together, but you can’t force two people to like each other. So I have made the decision and chose not to choose between them. Finally, one of them took the step and broke the ice. Now they are on better terms, and things are a lot easier because the tension is gone.

Hang in there, and don’t be two-faced about it. Be honest with both of them.

Mindy Smith, 15 Soda Springs, Idaho

Talk to your friends about how you feel. Pray for them. If they still can’t get along, let them be. Try to spend equal time with them both and keep going.

Elizabeth Barber, 12 Idaho Falls, Idaho

Two of my closest friends hated each other, and they would put the other one down. One day I finally told each of them, “Well, she’s my friend, and I’d really feel a lot better if you’d just keep your comments to yourself because if you are going to make me choose between you, then you aren’t really my friends.” Now they are talking to each other and are friends.

Heather Sorensen, 17 Roosevelt, Minnesota

You have to let your friends know that they can’t choose your other friends for you. Let them know you’re not choosing sides. They might realize that the other person can’t be all bad if they’re worthy of your friendship.

Liz Sauter, 13 Poulsbo, Washington

[photo] Photography by Craig J. Moyer