Girls, how To Fight With A Friend… and Win!

When a friend has offended you, the way many react is by ranting for days about how wronged you were. Because you were so wronged! And if you can just get your friend to somehow understand that, you will win.

From there, you might choose to ignore the issue altogether, or bring it up in a passive aggressive way.

But suppose you looked at friend-fighting in a new light. Suppose that when you talk about winning a fight with a friend, it doesn’t mean proving to the world that you were right. Suppose it means having a grown-up conversation with your friend about what went down, and still being friends afterwards. Winning=salvaging the friendship.

You’re probably friends with your friend because she’s awesome, right? And you might even want to stay friends with her. As you approach the “we’re still friends, right?” conversation, here are some steps you can take to make it a little more tolerable:

1. Approach the conversation honestly and compassionately rather than aggressively or defensively. All you are doing here is laying out some facts: something went down, and it made you feel a certain way. It doesn’t need to be a cheesy “I” statement, but it also doesn’t need to be laden with misery, hurt and anger. Take ownership of your feelings without hurling accusations at your friend. Which leads me to:

2. Assume the best about your buddy. She’s not a total jerk, right? So assume that she didn’t mean to upset you, that she’ll hear you out, and that she’ll want to salvage the friendship too with a simple “I’m sorry,” or “Wow, I had no idea you were upset.” Aww.

3. Don’t come at her with a ten-minute monologue. You’re going to want to keep it relatively short and sweet. “I was really upset when you didn’t come to my birthday last year. I know it’s been a while but it’s been eating away at me.” Boom.

4. Be prepared for the possibility that she will get upset. You’re bringing this up out of nowhere, and she didn’t have time to think about it ahead of time like you did, so give her a minute or two to fumble around and maybe say something defensive and generally get her bearings. Resist the urge to talk over her, explain yourself or raise your voice. And then…

5. Listen. Let her answer without interrupting her. Chances are very good that she’ll apologize, or provide an explanation that you didn’t even think about. This conversation is a fun adventure! You’re going to learn something new about yourself and your friend.

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-Jeremy