Friendships are important at every stage in life. Although friends can positively affect your emotional well-being and social development, conflict with friends is often a source of stress and frustration. How you manage disagreements with your friends influences the quality of the friendship. Understanding the components of a good friendship and developing skills for maintenance of and conflict resolution in a friendship can help you avoid frequent arguments and resolve conflicts when they do occur.
Reasons for Conflict
There are many reasons that conflict may arise between you and your friend. Common examples are jealousy, poor communication skills, lack of consideration and/or respect, different principles or outlooks on life and one friend contributing more to the relationship than the other. Arguments or conflict may result from experiencing a bad day or other issues that have nothing to do with the actual friendship. In adolescence, fluctuating emotions and hormones can lead to angry exchanges.
Communication and empathy are important skills for resolving conflicts. Tips for getting past disagreements are listening to your friend's opinions and concerns, showing respect for each other and avoiding angry or overly emotional exchanges while attempting to communicate. These behaviors show that you care about your friend and value the relationship. Engaging in and resolving conflict can actually bring you and your friend closer together.
Consequences of Conflict
The stress that results from conflict with a friend can negatively affect you physically and emotionally. A study published in the "Journal of Family Psychology" found that conflicts among teenage friends can contribute to failure in school, withdrawal and delinquency. Other side effects of conflict for all age groups are anxiety, depression, difficulty with other interpersonal relationships and loss of the friendship. It is important to move past conflict so that your friendship can continue.
Tips for Avoidance
Conflict will arise from time to time in any friendship, but you may be able to limit its frequency by following some suggestions. The Mayo Clinic presents tips for nurturing a healthy friendship such as avoid competition, limit complaints and negativity, respect your friend's privacy and refrain from judging your friend. Although disagreements are bound to occur, refrain from engaging in unnecessary conflict to help foster strong friendships.
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