Once a week, we answer one of the questions sent to us from our community, right here on the blog. This week we heard from Andy, who is struggling to let go of a grudge and make up with a friend of his. Here is our advice.
Q – I had a fall out with a friend a few months ago, and they’ve recently got in touch asking to meet up and sort things out. I really want to, as we’ve been friends a long time and it’s a shame for it to end, but what he did really hurt me and I don’t know how to let it go. I know you shouldn’t hold grudges, but it’s easier said than done sometimes. Do you have any advice on how I can let go of this grudge so we can move on and be friends again? Thanks, Andy.
A – Hi, Andy. Thanks so much for getting in touch with us. This is something that a lot of people can relate to, so thank you for coming forward and asking the question. I’m sorry that your friend hurt you, but I’m glad you want to put it behind you and move on; you’re right that you shouldn’t hold a grudge, as it ultimately hurts you just as much as it hurts the other person. Here is our advice on how to let go of a grudge and move on.
Acknowledge and accept your feelings
The first step in letting go of a grudge is examining why you are holding it in the first place. Take some time to think about what happened and why you were hurt. Your feelings are valid and you are allowed to feel angry and upset with your friend, so give yourself permission to feel the hurt instead of trying to force yourself to ‘get over it’.
Write it down
If you want to move forward and make amends with your friend, you need to share your feelings. However, sometimes having a conversation about a negative experience such as a fight or betrayal can often cause emotions to run high, and you risk making things worse.
To avoid this, write your feelings down instead. Write about what happened from your perspective, and how it made you feel, and why you are struggling to let it go. Even if you don’t want your friend to read it, it should help you feel a little lighter, and more in control of your feelings about the situation.
However, if you don’t mind your friend reading your side of the story, it’s a good idea is to ask them to write down theirs too, so you can both understand the other’s perspective. This way, when you do decide to have a face-to-face conversation, you both understand where the other is coming from.
Decide to forgive
If you really do want to let go of a grudge and move on with your friendship, then you have to make the deliberate decision to forgive your friend, and really do it. This is probably the hardest part, but it’s also the most important. It’s easy to say you’ve forgiven somebody for something when you haven’t, and then continue to hold it against them. Eventually, something will happen that will make it obvious that you never really forgave them, and this can damage your friendship further.
If you decide that you do want to forgive your friend, then you really need to forgive them. You can’t bring it up or use it against them in disagreements. Once you’ve forgiven them, you should commit to leaving the incident in the past.
Don’t let history repeat itself
Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. Unfortunately sometimes people take advantage of being forgiven for something and do the same thing again. When you decide to forgive your friend, and agree to let the grudge go and move on with your friendship, you should make it clear that you will not forgive the same thing again. Though you want to keep your friendship, you have to look after yourself too, and constantly forgiving someone for wronging you only causes you harm.
Focus on the future
Once you’ve made amends, it’s time for you and your friend to stop dwelling on the past, and focus on the future of your friendship. See this a fresh start and the chance for the relationship to be even better than it was before.