How To Deal With Being In The Same Friendship Group As Your Ex

Shoot for friendly, not friends.

Break-ups usually happen at the start of the year – a month full of beginnings will also have its fair share of endings. As a new card-carrying member of the singles club, January has been a tough one (despite the illustrious company @Sophie Monk @Stu Laundy).

So what’s harder than navigating the stormy seas of a break-up? Sharing the same friendship group as your ex. This is a problem that every uni student has dealt with because, let’s face it, we’re a pretty randy bunch.

So how do you deal with this never-ending episode of The OC that you’ve found yourself in? I’ve gathered a few tips to help you out. Disclaimer: I’m still very new to this and thus far, have been pretty terrible at tackling this problem – so I’ve asked my mature ex-couple friends how they’ve managed to handle it. 

Don’t Try To Be Friends 

Do not make this mistake. Just because you used to be friends with your ex, and you share all of the same friends with them does not mean that you two should try to be friends.

I know a lot of former couples who despise one another, and just as many who are creepily OK with platonic spooning and sharing who they’ve been getting with to each other. While both of those sitches are fine, what’s far more common (and what you should be aiming for) is just to be friendly with your ex.

Friends is a longshot – especially if it’s a recent break-up. Shoot for friendly, not friends.

Accept That You’ll Lose Some Friends  

No such thing as a clean break-up, sorry.

Even though you share a friendship group with your ex, of course you’ll be closer with some friends and they’ll be closer to others. I’m not saying that sides will form and it will become a bitter war of attrition, just be prepared to lose people in the divorce.

Don’t hold it against the friends who don’t go with you either. This is as uncomfortable a situation for them as it is for you!

DO NOT Criticise Them To Your Shared Friends

On that note, the one sure-fire way to become a hall-of-famer in the Shitty Ex Society is to badmouth your ex to your mutual friends.

Your friends don’t want to hear it, you shouldn’t be saying it, it sounds pathetic and you never come out of it looking good. It also destroys whatever slim prospects you have at a future friendship with your ex. 

Don’t Hook Up With Mutual Friends

Yes, rebounding is perfectly normal, but it needs to be done classily.

By all means have a snog with whoever’s tickling your pickle (after enough time has passed), but if it’s a shared friend, you are drama-mongering. This also goes without saying: don’t hook up with someone in front of your ex.

Accept That It Might Not Work  

This might not be the advice you want to hear, but there’s a very real chance that it might not be possible for the group dynamic to return to what it was before.

Maybe you were a total scumbag, or maybe they were, or maybe things just feel “off” now. If that happens, you’re going to have to have a good think about what’s best for everyone. Your friends aren’t enjoying this anymore than you are.

Take a break, hang out with some different people. Let everything breathe for a while. You may well find yourself becoming friends with people you never would have considered.

Break-ups are a time of huge self-reflection, and if you get this process right the first time around, it’ll make next January a hell of a lot easier.

(Lead image: How I Met Your Mother/CBS)