Friends are an important part of our lives. Having people around that we can trust and rely on get us through bad times and makes the good times better. As with any type of relationship, friendships require work to keep them going and to keep them strong.
Managing Arguments with Friends
Everyone disagrees sometimes, especially when they are close. It's great to be able to honestly share your views with friends, but it is inevitable that they will sometimes have different opinions to yours. When a difference of opinion occurs with a good friend and, particularly if the disagreement turns into an argument, it is easy to feel angry, upset and a bit lonely. These feelings can make it difficult to manage the argument.
Tips to help resolve arguments with friends:
- Accept your differences: Understanding that you are different people, with different opinions. By understanding each others perspectives you may be able to agree to disagree
- Talk: Let your friend know how you feel, because keeping things to yourself can make you angrier in the long-term. If you write down some thoughts beforehand, you might be clearer about what you want to say. Talking to someone else you trust might also help you to understand where your friend is coming from. Try to focus on your feelings, rather than what your friend has said or done,.
- Listen: Let your friend tell their side of the story. It can be tempting to interrupt but let them have their say.
- Avoid the blame game: When you're hurt it's natural to want to blame someone, but doing that can make the situation worse. Stay focused on how you feel instead.
Ending a Friendship
Over time interests change, which means you may have less in common with some of your friends than you used to. This usually means you spend less times together, and a close friendship can slip into a more casual one, sometimes fading away all together.
Some important things to remember if you find yourself growing apart from someone:
- Don't feel guilty: If you are ready to move on and your friend isn't, it can cause tension between you. They may try to hold on to a bond that is no longer there. It can be easy to feel guilty about wanting to end a friendship, but in the end you have to decide whether it's something worth hanging on to.
- Honesty and respect: Avoiding someone you no longer want to be close friends with may seem like sparing their feelings, but it can often leave them feeling confused and hurt. Being honest is the best thing to do, but make sure you are considerate and respectful of their feelings. It may help to explain that you feel like you don't have much in common any more and that you're moving in different directions.
- Communication: If you find that you are growing apart from a friend and you don't know why, talk to them and explain how you feel. It is possible communication can save your friendship.
- Loneliness: If a friendship ends, you may feel lonely and rejected. Talk to people you trust about your feelings and understand that sometimes people do just grow apart. It is not a reflection on you or your friend, just part of life.
Renewing a Friendship
Sometimes friends get tired of each other or grow apart, however if it's someone you care about, maybe it is worth trying to inject some life into the relationship.
Some tips for reviving your friendship:
- Suggest doing something new: Join a club, start evening classes together, take up the gym or salsa dancing. Having a regular activity to do together can strengthen your bond.
- Go somewhere different: If you and your friend are regular cinema goers, try going to the theatre or music event instead. Doing somthing unexpected together can shake things up and bring some variety back. If the activity turns out to be a disaster, you can laugh at it together.
- Be spontaneous: Do somthing on the spur of the moment, booking a holiday, having a day trip, buying your friend a gift. Make your friend feel special and show that you don't take them for granted.
Adapted from ReachOut - Managing your friendships