How to Resolve Conflicts With Friends

by Contributor

Fighting with friends is tough all around. We often say things we don't mean and feelings get hurt. Occasionally, no one wants to admit they were wrong and no one wants to apologize; it seems as though the situation is beyond repair. There are many ways to resolve conflicts with friends. Here are some things you can do to start down the road to conflict resolution.

Calm down. No one thinks rationally when emotionally worked up. Give yourself time to calm down before even thinking of the subject of the conflict again.

Give each other respect. Without first respecting your friend, it is unlikely that the conflict will be resolved amicably.

Give each other space. When the conflict has become too heated, walk away.

Give each other time. Time to cool off will help all parties involved think things over in a rational manner.

Respect each other's space and time. Everybody's different. Your friend may need a week before he is ready to resolve the conflict and you may need only a day. Give him the time he needs.

Communicate. Not talking only makes matters worse. Periodically contact your friend to let her know that you still care about her.

Listen well. Listen intently and focus on his point of view with an open mind.

Choose your words wisely. Avoid accusatory phrases like "you never," "you always" or "why would you."

Leave out the "but." When your friend asks if you accept his apology don't say "yes, but..." It's a conditional acceptance and can lead to more hurt feelings. The same goes for "I understand, but.."

Let it go. If you can't find common ground, agree to disagree and let it go. Nothing good will come out of the conflict if you don't.

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  • Keep trying. If you and your friend can't resolve the conflict on your first try, keep trying and you'll get there.
  • If you aren't ready to fully accept your friend's apology, at least acknowledge it by saying something like, "Thank you for apologizing, I appreciate that."
  • When you agree to let it go, really let it go or you may find yourself filled with resentment.


  • Don't ignore the situation. Ignoring things does not make them go away. It usually causes them to fester and boil over.
  • Don't be one-sided. Yes, you are hurting, but so is the friend that you love and care about.
  • Don't be pushy. Just because you're ready, doesn't mean your friend is ready. Pushing can make your friend feel backed into a corner.

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