Every awkward moment after a couple in your friendship group break up

Is it acceptable to start a new WhatsApp group without him in it?


They were the immutable rock. They left early on every big night out to go home together, and if you spent time with one, you were practically spending time with the other (“we think…”; “we’re going…”; “oh yeah, we can’t make that”).

Now though, crisis has stuck. All those tipsy jokes about sexual performance (him) and stern looks (her) reached critical mass: it’s over. They’re done. Now it’s up to you and the rest of your friends to tip-toe around them and pretend you can all still be best mates. If only it were that easy.

Not everyone learns the bad news at the same time

Obviously, the first person Rachael tells is Alice because they’ve been friends since forever. Jack lets George and Mo know when they meet up to watch the Arsenal game. And Alice then goes and tells Simon at brunch. But nobody ever remembers to tell Ethan.

Ethan invites both of them to the same party

Maybe Ethan wouldn’t have been so oblivious if he’d been told Rachael and Jack had split up. We’ll never know. All we can say is that nobody wants to be the first to respond to his invite in the group WhatsApp because everyone is just watching and waiting, hoping one of Rachael or Jack will jump in and explain if they’re both still going to come or not.

You feel obliged to hang out with them both equally

If you were being brutally honest, you’ve always been more Jack’s friend than Rachael’s. You and Jack would always have seen each other every week; you go to the same gym. But now they’ve broken up, it feels uncomfortable to stop seeing Rachael just because you don’t like pop-up cocktail bars and vintage markets. After all, she made very clear she “doesn’t want to lose you as a friend”. So now you’re keeping a mental log of every time you and Jack hang out, vowing subconsciously to dedicate the same amount of time to Rachael next week. You won’t.

You hear a rumour that one of them cheated

It’s that or Jack hit Rachael. Or Rachael got angry and threw his things out the window. Or Jack tried to have sex with her while she was asleep. Or it was something else shocking and lurid rather than the far more boring truth that they just stopped liking each other.

You're such a gossip Alice

You’re such a gossip Alice

Jack keeps inviting you on really depressing, laddish nights out

Nobody who is happy with themselves wants you to come to a basement comedy club with unlimited pints. Nobody with high self-esteem will stumble out of that comedy club at 12:30am and drag you into a Leicester Square nightclub “just for a bit”. Nobody with someone special in their life spends two hours dancing in their mid-20s just because an attractive girl is stood nearby. Nobody in their right frame of mind is asking a rickshaw to take them to a strip club at 4am. Nobody you want to carry on hanging out with is sleeping on your sofa after they pissed themselves on the way home.

Previously-arranged social events are shared diplomatically

Jack and Rachael have been very grown up. Jack will still go to Mo’s flatwarming but Rachael won’t. Rachael will go out for Alice’s birthday dinner, Jack will see her earlier in the day for a drink. Jack will still go to Glastonbury but Rachael probably won’t bother unless she can convince her friends from home to get tickets in the re-sale. It’s all very mature. And a massive ball-ache for everyone else who was looking forward to seeing both of them.

Rachael gets really, really into Taylor Swift

No Rachael, I don’t want to get down to this. Sick. Beat.

They both do the same fun run

What was meant to be a fun couple-y thing while they were still together is now a grim run through freezing rain where Rachael is clearly holding back so she doesn’t over-take Jack and risk pissing him off. Jack on the other hand is running his fucking heart out.

'I'd have finished within an hour if he hadn't been ahead of me'

‘I’d have finished within an hour if he hadn’t been ahead of me’

You have to re-buy Rachael’s birthday present

Maybe save those his and hers mugs from Cath Kidston for another friend.

Some of you go out with Rachael and then bump into Jack while you’re getting cash

As much as you know it’s not really a betrayal that you’re all hanging out together and Jack’s having to make do with the company of his work friends, you can’t stop feeling a little guilty. From that point onwards, you decide it’s probably best to stop updating the Snapchat story in case he sees it.

He's fine, honest

He’s fine, honest

Ethan starts a new WhatsApp thread for Jack’s birthday without Rachael in it

And then everyone carries on using it after Jack’s birthday without realising Rachael is out of the loop and now she’s wondering why nobody talks to her anymore.

Rachael has a one-night stand and gets a bit weird about it

She says she regrets it but she can’t stop mentioning that it happened and his number is still saved in her phone as “Rodrigo Embargos”. Plus you hear from Alice that Rachael got drunk and asked her if putting a finger in their bum is how everyone is having sex these days.

Jack stops cleaning his room

When you’re round there one night, his flatmate tells you they don’t think his bed sheets have been changed for weeks. The tone is jokey, the eyes less so.

Jack puts all the guys from uni in a new Whatsapp thread and proposes a group holiday

If he’s still being a bit mopey he’ll probably suggest somewhere cultural. If he’s not had sex for a while it will be Amsterdam.

You go on a lads’ holiday to Eastern Europe with Jack

And promise to never tell anyone about what happened there.

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You can’t remember which one of them you borrowed a jumper from

It’s big enough to be Jack’s, but you swear Rachael always used to wear it. Best play it safe and just never return it to anyone.

Jack asks you if you’ve heard anything about Rachael’s new boyfriend

Yes, his name is Mark, he works at KPMG and wears a really expensive watch. You met up with the two of them for brunch last weekend and you thought he seemed lovely. You even sent Phoebe a message afterwards that contained the thumbs up emoji. Mark likes theatre and he’s suggested a group of you go to this experimental production being staged under a bridge in Wapping. He ordered pancakes and let Phoebe have some of his maple-cured bacon with her avocado on toast. You don’t tell Jack any of this because it would break him.

One of your mates from home visits and gets really flirty with Jack

Really, this should be totally fine. It’s been three-and-a-half months now, we’re all grown-ups, let Jack make his own life choices. You know Rachael won’t see things that way though so now you have to spend your entire evening cock-blocking and dragging your friend to the bathroom to remind her Jack’s off-limits.

Jack can’t get into Shoreditch House anymore and won’t shut up about it

It’s the little things like this you don’t think about when you decide to end a relationship.

Dry your eyes mate

Dry your eyes mate

Everyone begins to forget they used to go out

It’s been nearly a year now and the Berlin wall that split your friendship group in two is beginning to break down. It started slowly, a big group dinner where they sat at opposite ends of the table, but now Jack and Rachael seem fairly comfortable hanging out with each other as long as they don’t have to talk to each other too much. There are even people in your group of mates now who weren’t even around when they were a couple. Any tension in the group WhatsApp has gone, people can even get away with making jokes about the two of them (except for Ethan, he’s always way too tactless). Life is good.

They get drunk and sleep together and now think they’re going to give it another shot

Oh ffs.