My ex and I have the same friend group and I’ve been skipping gatherings to prevent any drama. How can I make things less awkward so I don’t have to miss out on all of the fun?

‘You don’t need to hate your ex,’ therapist Matt Lundquist said. Rawpixel / Getty
  • If you play your cards right, you won’t have to sacrifice spending time with your friends anymore.
  • To extend the metaphorical olive branch to your ex, send her a text before the next gathering or come up to her during the event and explain how you want to be civil.
  • Things may be awkward at first, but if you really want to spend time with your friends, it’s worth feeling momentarily uncomfortable.
  • These rules only apply if your breakup wasn’t the result of cheating or emotional or physical abuse. If you left your partner for any of these reasons, you should reevaluate your friend group.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

I broke up with my now-ex-girlfriend about five months ago, but things are complicated because she’s also my best friend’s best friend. I’ve been fine with missing certain gatherings with our friend group just to make things easier for everyone and to create less drama, but it now seems like the only options are to find a new best friend, reach out to my ex to try to be friends again, or just keep ditching outings that my ex attends.

I miss my friends but don’t want to ruffle any feathers. What’s the best course of action?

– St. Louis

Dear St. Louis,

As you’ve experienced, there’s often more at stake in a breakup than a broken heart or two. There is, however, good news: If you play you cards right, you won’t have to sacrifice spending time with your friends.

You’re right, at least partially, in thinking one option is to become friends with your ex again. I say “partially” because, well, she might not want to be friends with you. Regardless of her wants, you can still reach out to diffuse the awkward tension that’s stopped you from hanging with your pals.

As therapist Matt Lundquist so aptly put it, “People need to get over it. You don’t need to hate your ex.”

To extend the metaphorical olive branch, you have two options. First, before the next gathering you think your ex will be attending, shoot her a heads-up text that you’ll be there too. Try something like: “Hey, I’ll be at John’s housewarming party on Friday and I wanted to clear the air beforehand since we haven’t talked since the breakup. I know things might be a bit awkward at first, but I’m looking forward to spending time with everyone.” No need to elaborate further.

Another option is to wait until you spot her at said gathering and approach her then. Obviously, this approach takes more guts, so hats off to you if you go this route. The conversation doesn’t have to be a long one, but you should let your ex know your intention is to stay civil so you can both enjoy your mutual friendships.

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Of course, this solution isn’t recommended if the breakup was a result of more serious problems, like cheating or physical or emotional abuse.

If you were cheated on or felt like you had to dump your ex to get away from some sort of abuse, first of all, I’m sorry things went down that way. Second, although it can be extremely painful, you may want to reevaluate your friendships. Do you really want to spend your precious time with people who continue to hang out with an abusive person?

Whether you choose to confront your friend group for befriending a toxic person is, as always, up to you, but doing so could be an illuminating experience that helps you move on from your bad breakup.

I’m hoping your situation is the former and you can make strides to put an end to your self-induced FOMO, but either way, examining why you felt the need to step away from your friends could give you all the answers you need.

As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it – no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

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