Expert-Approved Tips for Handling Conflict Between Your Best Friend and Your Fiancé
They don't have to become best friends, but there are ways to help these two important people bridge the gap.
When two of your favorite people in the world don't get along, it can feel like a cosmic divide. So, what should you do if your best friend (who just so happens to be your maid of honor) and your fiancé just can't seem to get along? They don't need to become pals (and you shouldn't expect them to be!), but it'll make wedding planning much easier if they can at least be cordial. Before you start making ultimatums, take a look at these tips for handling conflict between the two from licensed marriage and family therapist Megan Bartley.
Be your "best adult self."
What's that? Exactly what it sounds like. It's the part of you that can handle conflict calmly, rationally, and without getting caught up in reality-show level table flipping. "It helps you from getting sucked into drama or other people's emotions," says Bartley. Although we aren't all our "best adult selves" all the time, as the neutral party in this particular situation, you're inviting those around you to join you on this level. If you're not so sure who this best adult self is (or if she even exists), Bartley recommends thinking of someone you truly admire and considering how they would handle the issue at hand. Then, pretend to be them.
Have a strategy in place.
If things get hairy, you'll need to have a plan. "Prepare one or two sentences ahead of time that you can repeat to yourself, your partner, and best friend whenever you need to," she says. Bartley recommends saying something that keeps your own stress and anxiety down, confirms that you haven't changed your position, and maintains appropriate boundaries. "To do that, you may decide to say something like: 'I trust you two will figure out a way to get along,' or, 'This seems to be an issue between the two of you, so I'll let you two figure this out,'" she adds.
Confront the issue at hand.
With all the above in mind, it's time to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Honesty is always the best policy here. "Communicate your experience clearly, honestly, and with some vulnerability," Bartley advises. "What would happen if you said, 'Wow, it's uncomfortable to be around the two of you like this. I just don't understand why you two can't get along.'" Then, really listen to their answers.
Learn to let it go.
As long as your BFF's reservations aren't related to any major red flags (say, she doesn't like him because he treats you terribly or is a serial cheater) then the truth is, she doesn't need to like your man. You do. In fact, forcing two people who just don't click to get along is a pretty poor use of your time and energy, says Bartley. "Ultimately we have no control over others. We only have control over ourselves," she explains. "We get to choose how we feel about partner and best friend not getting along, just like best friend and partner get to choose if they are going to get along." If the two truly can't find common ground, instead, focus your energy on enjoying and nurturing the individual relationship you have with each party.