My Best Friends Broke Up and It's Fucking Up My Social Life

Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email friendzone@jezebel.com.

I'm a college student and my two best friends broke up last week. The guy is all depressed, and so is the girl. We live in the same dorm and have a lot of classes together, and I feel caught in the middle of their breakup. I try to organize separate activities, but we inevitably run into each other as a group. It's so awkward. What should I do?

Okay, first things first: don't take sides or carry information to and from one wounded party to the next. I know this is tough, but if you want to preserve your friendships with both these individuals, you've got to do some listening and keep your mouth shut.

Second: it's sometimes tempting to take a side and think of yourself as an avenging warrior princess, but this is stupid and mean and more about your own ego than about being a good friend (trust me, I've done it and it's dumb, dumb, dumb). Stay neutral.

Third: do not hump the guy or the girl. I know it might seem weird that I would say such a thing, but we advice columnists are but mere mortal fools who bring our own bottles of crazy to the advice-giving party. Know this truth: when you are single and horny, it is a mere hop, skip, and a jump from getting drunk and listening to a cute wonderful guy/girl/gender-neutral human being's breakup woes to ALDFJALKJSDFLKJASDKLFJLASDLFJASF (this is the actual sound of a drunk, terribly ill-timed hook-up.) In the middle of your passionate, nasty lovemaking, you may find yourself engaging in vomitoitus, the act of being so grossed out by your sexual decision that you feel the urge to vom (my friend Ashley introduced this word to my personal lexicon after she barfed in a Waffle House bathroom way back when we went to Warren Wilson College, the most fun, hippie, free-range, organic, heady, dank college ever. Then me and Ashley and our friends Phil and Sam used it all the time. Try it in a sentence today!).

Fourth: since when did you become their babysitter? That ain't your job! I know they are your dear friends, but surely there are other people on campus with whom you enjoy sharing a laugh or a beer or whatever the kids are doing these days. Limit the amount of time you spend listening to these two cry about each other and make sure you put energy into your other friendships, too. Don't abandon this guy and this girl, but don't make yourself a sponge whose sole purpose is to absorb their tears. They'll get through it. You have to take care of yourself, and it's far too easy to drown in someone else's pool of sorrow.

My closest friend here in my new city is turning out to be a real Debbie Downer. Nothing is ever good enough for her, and she's a devout pessimist. Last month I made a new friend, who has a more positive outlook on life. My new friend met my other friend at a social event, and they have started hanging out. Part of me is a bit upset (jealous?) at this. I think they get along very well and they have more in common (same age and both single). Now they want to hang out as a triad all the time, and it's so annoying. How do I keep my friendship with the cool new girl and back away from the one with the lame grumpy friend?

Ooh, this can get very awkward, especially when one's social group is confined to a reasonably small area – like, say, the beautiful 1,100-acre campus of Warren Wilson College just outside Asheville, North Carolina. Just be glad you live in an actual city and not in an enchanting hemp granola compound of 800 liberal arts students! Anyhoo, it's perfectly fine for you to say to Cool New Girl, "Hay gurl! I'd love to go out, just the two of us, and attend the new gallery opening/work at a soup kitchen/sing in church/get our nails did/whatever." Don't talk shit about Lame Grumpy Friend, but if CNG goes, "Oh hey, can we bring LGF?" feel free to say, "I'd really love to just have a one-on-one hangout with you this time." Chances are, you're not going to be able to avoid LGF entirely, but you can make time for special friend dates with CNG.

Ultimately, you're not going to change anyone in this situation. It's best to maximize your exposure to people who make you feel good, and minimize your exposure to those who don't. If these two insist on being attached at the hip, you'd do well to invest your time and energy in other friendships.

I have a friend who always chooses to date verbally abusive assholes. But when she asks my opinion on a guy or situation, and I honestly tell her what I think, she ends up making a nasty comment about me. I've tried my best to be gentle about this, because she doesn't have a lot of experience in relationships, but I'm feeling really hurt by the things she has been saying to me. She keeps asking for my feedback, but I don't know how to respond anymore.

Once, when I was a youth at sustainable farm school Warren Wilson College, we used to have community gatherings where everyone could speak his or her piece. The idea was that the speaker would feel better by getting something off his or her chest, and the assembled listeners would learn something important, and thus would we resolve conflict and/or vote on bringing Soldiers of Jah Army to play at the organic vegan café. Homebaked bread and Earth Balance were usually involved.

All this is just to say, it's time to have a heart-to-heart with your friend. I hate confrontation as much as the next woman who has been taught her whole life that "making nice" is more important than making sense, BUT. But but but. In this case, I think you need to be upfront with your girlfriend and tell her what is going on. It'll hopefully open up a dialogue where you can air your grievances with one another and come to a better place. Try to make sure homebaked bread is involved. It helps.

Image by Sam Woolley.