Your friends are supposed to make you feel safe, wanted and appreciated; when you get into a fight with one of them, it can leave you feeling lost and miserable instead. Because your friends know your vulnerabilities, approaching one after a spat can feel risky and uncomfortable, but chances are that your friend wants to patch things up as much as you do. If you enter the conversation with openness and respect, you should be able to mend your relationship and find solutions to your problems that work for both of you.
Wait to talk to your friend until you've had time to calm down after the spat. If you approach the conversation with anger and resentment, you're more likely to start the fight back up than to resolve the conflict.
Plan your key talking points. Determine exactly what you're upset about, how you feel and your ideal solution to the problem.
Ask your friend to meet up with you to talk about the fight you’ve had. Choose a private place where you both feel comfortable.
Explain how you feel. Speak calmly, make eye contact and avoid pinning blame on your friend. If you’re in the wrong or if you've upset your friend, apologize sincerely.
Tell your friend what hurt your feelings or angered you. Emphasize how you feel, rather than accusing your friend of anything. For example, say: “I feel sad when you cancel our plans” rather than “You’re such a flake.” Like anger, accusations can rekindle the fight instead of helping patch up the friendship.
Listen to your friend’s side of the story. Try to understand where your friend is coming from. Stay calm, and wait to respond until your friend finishes talking.
Talk about your ideal solution to the problem, and listen to your friend’s. Negotiate until you reach a compromise that suits both of you.
- Fix problems as quickly as possible. The longer you hang onto them, the harder they become to solve.
- Don’t bring up past grievances or subjects that you know upset your friend. If these sensitive subjects are immediately relevant and you can’t have the discussion without them, talk about them gently, with as much acceptance and respect as you can.
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