Friendly feud

William Schertz

Hard feelings between lovers and friends is difficult, but possible to work with

Most experts agree that communication is a key ingredient in any relationship. A relationship without it is much like cake without frosting — it just doesn’t make sense.

“I think with most relationship issues the actual problem is one of a lack of communication,” said Michael Moore, assistant director of the Kent State psychological clinic. “This communication problem can manifest itself in a number of ways.”

Often, communication problems in a relationship are not actually between two romantic partners, but rather between one partner and the other partner’s friends.

Torn between

“You look for different things when you’re looking for a significant other than you do in a friend, and sometimes their personalities clash,” junior marketing major Curt Braden said. “It just sucks all around because you kind of have to lead two separate lives. You don’t want things to be uncomfortable for each other.”

Braden said he was once the middle-man in a feud between his friends and a former girlfriend.

“I had a girlfriend that a lot of my friends didn’t like,” he said. “They thought she treated me bad and they were stuck because they didn’t want me to know they didn’t like her. I think they tried to hide it a lot.”

Moore advises people caught in the middle of a feud to make sure to keep lines of communication open between both their partners and their friends, and let them know how the problem is taking a toll on them.

“Just be open and honest with both parties and let them know you’re having trouble wrestling with them,” he said.

Old vs. new

Katie DeFrank, sophomore special education major, is very busy — and so is her boyfriend.

She said it has been hard trying to keep a relationship going when she is involved with College Democrats and her boyfriend spends much of his time with his fraternity.

“It’s about communication I think,” she said. “For a while we weren’t really (communicating), but now we’re starting again.”

In the past, DeFrank had problems getting along with one of her boyfriend’s friends, but they eventually came to a compromise.

“I finally bit the bullet and we came to terms where now we can tolerate each other,” she said.

DeFrank said she understands the situation from a friend’s point of view as well; she was in a similar situation when one of her friends became romantically involved.

“We don’t see that much of each other anymore,” DeFrank said. “If you really care about the person you don’t want to let them go, but things happen and they drift away. It’s kind of interesting because I actually got her and him together.”

Braden, too, said he and his best friend’s fiancé have been “butting heads” recently.

Moore said to expect this type of behavior in any new relationship.

“Obviously if you’re a friend of somebody who just started dating someone, they’re going to be with that person more,” Moore said. “There’s a honeymoon phase, but the way people act at the beginning of a relationship is not the same as it is later in the relationship. You just have to stick through it.”

Contact features reporter William Schertz at [email protected]>.