We love hearing from our community members, and every week we answer a question regarding a situation a member of our members is dealing with. This week we heard from Erica, who is struggling with the breakdown of a friendship, and is unsure on how to fix things.
Q - I recently had a falling out with a good friend of mine, and we haven’t spoken since. I really miss her and it’s getting me down, but I’m unsure how to fix it. We’re both equally to blame for what happened, but we’re both really stubborn and aren’t talking to each other. Please can you help me and give me some tips on how to repair the friendship? Thanks, Erica.
A - Hi, Erica! Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear about you and your friend, but I want to congratulate you on admitting that you had an equal part to play in your falling out; most people simply blame the other person and allow the argument to fester until it’s too late!
Falling out with a friend can hurt just as much, if not more, as breaking up with a romantic partner. Our friends are the people we share the most important parts of ourselves and our lives with. They are an extension of our family; they support us when things go wrong, and celebrate with us when things go right. However, sometimes we fall out with friends, and it can be difficult to know how to repair the friendship when hurtful things have been said, and trust has been betrayed. Here are our tips for repairing a friendship.
Is it worth it?
The first thing to consider is whether repairing the friendship is something that is worthwhile to you. Consider the reason you and your friend are fighting. Is it the result of one argument that got out of hand, or has the breakdown of your friendship been coming for a while?
Think carefully about your friend and what they bring to your life. Are they a positive influence, who is there for you when you need them? Do they build you up, and make you feel happy? Or do they put you down, and make you feel bad about yourself? Do they take you for granted, or just talk to you when they need something from you? If so, then they’re not a friend at all, and you are probably better off without them in your life!
Though some people are better off left in the past, most friendships are worth saving. Thinking of all the things your friend brings to your life, and everything you’ve been through together will only strengthen your desire and determination to fix your friendship.
Take the initiative
It can be difficult to be the bigger person, but if you want to repair your friendship then you must swallow your pride, and make the first move. Invite your friend to meet up somewhere neutral, such as a coffee shop or a park; make sure it’s somewhere you can talk openly, but will also deter you from getting into a heated discussion.
Explain to your friend that you don’t want to fight any more, and that you want to repair your friendship. Ask them to come with an open mind, and a willingness to discuss the situation calmly and fairly.
Another difficult one if you’re stubborn or prideful. However, if you know you’re in the wrong, even if your friend is too, then be the first one to admit your blame and apologise. If your friend has come to the meeting feeling defensive, apologising will disarm them and soften them up, making it easier to talk.
Listen to their side of the story
Once you’ve apologised for the part you played in the fallout, give them a chance to talk. You’ve told your friend how you feel, now allow them to explain their feelings to you. Try not to interrupt or disagree with them when they’re talking, just allow them to say everything they need to say. Once they’re finished, you can then counter any points you don’t agree with, but listening to them fully first will help you understand their point of view, and will also allow them to get things off their chest, which should relieve any remaining tension.
Agree to put the argument in the past
Once you’ve both got everything off your chest, it’s time to put the argument behind you, and agree to move on in a positive direction. Forgive each other, and agree to not let this disagreement be a source of anger and resentment in the future.
There may still be some hurt feelings, which understandably might take some time to stop smarting. Don’t expect to snap back to being best friends straight away; it will take a little time to move forward and fully repair the friendship. Take it slowly, and focus on the positives. Take the lessons you have learned from the fallout, and make sure to not let the same issues arise in the future.