9 Rules to Resolving Conflict With Friends

When you have a problem with a friend, there are some things you should do to resolve it — and some you shouldn’t.

Choose the right time to reach out and bring it up

My former friend totally blindsided me. There was no heads up, no distancing, not even so much as a “We need to talk about something” to let me know something was up. So even if she hadn’t been screaming at me, I would have felt attacked simply because it came totally out of the blue.

Have the conversation face-to-face

Even if you need to resort to a video chat, have this conversation face-to-face. So much of communication comes through body language and facial expressions, both of which are lost in texting and phone calls. A face-to-face conversation will help cut down on misunderstandings and miscommunications that result from misreading someone’s tone in a text.

Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

Try not to see it as a confrontation

Conflict means there’s an issue. There’s a problem of some sort, even if it’s just a misunderstanding, that needs to be sorted out and addressed. This can make us mistakenly think that this conversation with our friend is a confrontation.

Plan what you want to say

When things don’t go the way we expect, we can spiral down a rabbit hole. This can lead to ignoring the real problem and bringing up a dozen other things that happened at some point during your friendship — things that have nothing to do with the current conflict.

Don’t personally attack your friend

When we’re angry or hurt, it’s so easy to lash out and say hurtful things. We know our friend is flaky and sensitive about it, so we throw it in their face. Or we remind them of what we did for them when they were down and out and make them feel bad for having once struggled.

Don’t make accusations

Even if you think they did something to deliberately hurt or irritate you, don’t make accusations. Remember this is not supposed to be a confrontation; it’s supposed to be an open dialogue that will heal your friendship. That won’t happen if you’re flinging accusations.

Be open to their viewpoint and feelings

When we’re in conflict with someone else, it’s pretty easy to get stuck in our own perspective and feelings and believe that it’s the only one — and the right one. But remember that your friend probably has their own perspective and feelings about the situation and they might not match yours.

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

Remain calm

Conflict usually comes with a full complement of negative emotions: anger, hurt, frustration, annoyance, etc. And those feelings tend to go from mild to major in a matter of seconds. But unleashing a bunch of rage or hurt on your friend isn’t likely to resolve your conflict with them.

Accept that your friendship might have run its course

As I’ve said before, not all friendships are lifetime subscriptions. Sometimes we’re only meant to be friends with someone for so long before we outgrow each other. And sometimes a conflict can be a sign that you and your friend have outgrown each other and it’s time to let go of the friendship.

I don’t know that these would have made a difference

I can’t tell you today that if my former friend had done these things, it would have turned out differently. I don’t know that it would have.

Single Mom Coach | Meditation Teacher | Relationship Writer | www.mindfulsinglemom.com | Newsletter: http://mindfulsinglemom.com/subscribe

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