That was the status of my phone for a large part of the summer. One would think that as an 18-year-old teenage girl, I would constantly be texting people on my phone, but this past summer that wasn’t the case. For eight weeks, I would check my home screen for missed texts and would see this sad update: It’s 3:39, I have 23% battery life and no text messages.
One day this changed when I was finally met with a text from one of the boys, John,* in my college friend group. The text read, “Amy* broke up with me. Don’t freak out.”
I read the text—rather dumbfounded, and maybe even a tad excited for having something new to read, but mostly sad—five times over before I responded to him.
“I had a feeling that something was going on since no one’s texted in the group message recently. How are you doing?”
“I’m here if you need anything.”
John and Amy both make up my close-knit college friend group, and Amy happens to be one of my closest girlfriends at school. The two of them dated during the second semester of my first year of college and everything seemed fine. I just assumed that Amy was busy with family and her job over the summer; I never thought she would breakup with John anytime soon. She hadn’t mentioned a word to me about him, but then again, she had basically pulled a Houdini and vanished all summer.
Texts from John soon turned somber, and he didn’t understand Amy’s reasons for breaking up with him. Since Amy didn’t tell me much either, I had to constantly fit pieces of information together and go undercover to understand what was going on. Unfortunately, I don’t possess the best undercover skills and I could only tell John that everything would be okay after we all got back to school and he could speak to Amy.
The tension continued to linger into the start of the next school year. It was radio silence all over again. Finally though, I learned Amy’s side of story. She’d been feeling intimidated by John himself, and conflicted with goals and interests.
Naturally, I was able to understand Amy’s explanation for breaking it off with John since I had dealt with a bad breakup myself. I thought that giving Amy the time and space she needed would eventually lead to everything being peachy keen again, and I tried to explain this to John. He grit his teeth, but alas, this only resulted in about as much conversation between them as two mimes getting coffee.
Instead, Amy tapered off from the group. John tried to date someone else and mostly failed. Not only did I try to intervene, but our other friends were at the edge of their seats waiting for everything to cool down. It still hasn’t.
Being in the middle of this “friend group divorce” compares to an actual divorce: You’re constantly yanked back and forth between your parents. Like a child who can’t understand why mommy and daddy can’t be together, I’m losing my foundation of people at school but I still try so hard to keep everyone unwillingly together to have some semblance of sanity.
To say I’m certain of what to do would be a lie; I’m still stuck between a rock and another slightly less-accessible rock. No one should have to mediate between a very difficult “mommy and daddy” and feel stressed to the point of breakdown. John and Amy were friends before they dated, and to give up a great friendship seems rather unfortunate.
As time moves along, I hope to be able to show both Amy and John that there is hope in a friendship, or at least a mutual agreement. How about just getting them into the same room? Sounds like a decent start. College is poetry in motion and breakups are bound to happen in one of the stanzas, but trying to push these issues to the side and hurting the ones closest to us isn’t the method to solve the issue.
*Names withheld for privacy.