So. I give friend A a lift to a bar. A is on crutches, and can’t stand up for long. So I go in to meet the other friends I’m meeting there and to make sure there’s somewhere for them to sit.
There is nowhere for them to sit. But friend B, who was already there, offers to give up his seat for A.
Great! Except it isn’t.
A refuses and offers to wait in the car, saying he would not enjoy being in the bar knowing he was depriving B of his seat. B insists, saying he would not enjoy being in the bar knowing that A was having to wait outside.
And what should have been a kind gesture escalated into a horrible conflict with me in the middle. At one point A asked me to take him home so the conflict would be moot, whereupon B said that if A did that, he (B) would leave too, cutting short the visit for all the other people he’d driven down (which was everyone else).. because if A left, B would feel he had driven A away. It was only because an extra seat became available that the situation ended.
I have no idea how to deal with this and similar conflicts have brewed that threatened the entire group. How can I resolve a conflict between two people who want to avoid causing any inconvenience, when this is inevitable?