How to Make it Up to a Friend After Being Mean

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"Friendships are wonderful and life affirming. If we're lucky, each one provides us with new wisdom so they get better and better," says psychologist Irene S. Levine, author of "Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend." If you've been ugly to your friend, use the experience as a lesson in taking personal responsibility. To make it up to a friend after being mean, you'll have to show her how much she means to you.

Make contact with your friend. Decide whether you'll stop by her home or call her on the phone. Think about your opening line before making contact, and have an idea of what you'd like to say to her. Let her know right away that you care about the friendship, advises author Paulette Dale, Ph.D., in Ellen Welty's article titled "How To Make up With a Friend." Try saying something along the lines of, "I was wrong to be mean to you. Our friendship means a lot to me."

Take responsibility for your behavior. If you were mean to your friend, don't make excuses. Apologize humbly for being mean to offer the olive branch to your friend.

Exemplify change. Show your friend in "some small but concrete way" that you want to make it up to him, advises Levine. Send him a thoughtful card, or invite him over for dinner. Make him a special mix CD of songs about friendship. Don't spend a lot of money on gifts--remember that the gesture should remain important.

Show sensitivity and patience. Be sensitive to your friend's feelings, and understand that forgiveness may not come instantly. Tell her you understand why she's upset, and tell her you also understand that forgiveness may take time. Let her know you'll be there for her when she's ready to talk, and that you're willing to work through the problem.

Reinforce the positive aspects of your friendship. Talk about the qualities that make him such a good friend. Tell him all the reasons you're glad to have him in your life.

Invite her out for a friendship-bonding day. Pick an activity you know she likes, or a place you've experienced fun and memorable times together in the past. Tell her, "I'd really like the chance to make this up to you. Remember how much fun we had that time at the beach? How about we go do that again, when you're ready, and put all this ugliness behind us?"