How to Handle a Fight With a Friend
Being best friends with someone does not always mean that you'll never fight or that you'll get along 100% of the time. Fights happen, whether we want them to or not, and it doesn't mean the end of the friendship. Friends fighting with one another is a natural occurrence, especially for younger people. After all, you're still learning about who you are and navigating through stressful social, mental, physical and educational identities.
Sometimes, you'll have a small fight with your friend that quickly resolves itself. Sometimes, however, the fight leads to more complicated issues and tensions.
When a fight with your best friend does occur, you want to be sure that you say things fairly and in a manner that is productive, supportive and informative. To help make the initial fight and effects afterward not as drastic, you'll want to have a few tips to help you manage and reconcile with your friend.
Common Reasons Why Friends Fight
Fights can originate from the smallest issue to ones that are a bit more serious. The severity of an issue will depend entirely on your feelings, your friend's feelings and the type of relationship you have. Most times, the reason for the argument and fight is straightforward, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, the fight may leave you confused.
Being able to identify the overarching idea behind the fight is a great way to process what happened. Here's a list of some of the most common reasons why friends fight:
Changes in friend groups
How to Handle the Fight
Fights are tricky situations to maneuver. Emotions tend to amplify and express themselves without control. These issues can result in hurtful words and regrettable actions. When you have a fight with your friend, keeping a level head and open mind during a fight will be the biggest challenge.
To better prepare you when arguing with a friend, you'll want to keep these five steps in mind:
- Be Fair and Respectful
Once the argument begins, you should express your feelings as best you can without acting on them. Rather than making accusations and demonstrating your feelings of anger through violence, you want to acknowledge that you're angry because of a specific situation. This method allows you to express your emotions more positively and less defensively.
You should also try and remain as calm as possible. Heated arguments can lead to name-calling, threats and violence. These actions will only make the situation worse. There are some things you cannot take back once said or done.
- Understand Their Point of View
When you fight with a friend, you want them to understand how you are feeling and why you are feeling the way you are. You want the other person to empathize with you, and they probably want the same thing. You should take the time to listen to what they have to say and do your best to view the situation from their point of view.
Keep It Private
There is always a time and place for everything. If possible, you want to have the fight or argument in a private place. The emotions you both express should be kept to you two only — you don't want to have an audience during your disagreement.
Keeping the fight private extends beyond the initial interaction. You should not post about it on social media or inform other friends about what happened. Letting other people know will only worsen the situation.
Respect the Need for Space
Once you've reached the end of the fight with your friend, you should respect the need for both of you to have some time apart. Don't be scared to take a time out if you feel yourself getting too worked up by the fight. Walking away to cool down and process what the other has said helps to make the argument more productive and impactful.
Take Time to Reflect
After the fight, you want to give yourself some time to think and process the situation. You can use this time to evaluate the status of your friendship, empathize with your friend and think of possible solutions for the cause of the fight.
You should also use this time to find healthy ways to manage your stress and emotions. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone, you can find mental health content online that can help. Lessonbee is one such tool, and they offer free mental health content that explains how you can safely handle your emotions in stressful times.
How to Reconcile With Your Friend
Now that you and your friend have taken the time to communicate your feelings about the situation, you both need to take the time and resolve the fight. Here are four ways that you can use to resolve a fight with your friend:
- Speak and Listen to One Another
Since you should have had time to process your emotions and the results of the fight, the next step is to have another talk with your friend. You want to be sure that you communicate in a calm, responsive and informative manner. The purpose of this interaction is to come to an agreed-upon resolution.
- Decide if the Friendship Is Salvageable
Depending on what the two of you said or what the argument was initially about, you need to decide if the friendship is worth saving. This decision will be difficult, but in some instances, choosing not to be friends afterward may be the healthiest option for you both. That decision is for the two of you to make.
- Express Your Feelings
If you feel that your friend is not grasping the extent of your emotions, take this time to dig deeper into how you are feeling. Tell them why you are feeling the way you are, but be careful not to become too defensive. The last thing you want is a moment of reconciliation to turn into another argument.
The best thing you can do to resolve any fight with your best friend is to apologize. Simply telling someone "I'm sorry" has the most impact on the outcome of a situation. If you feel that you are at fault for the argument, don't hesitate to apologize. If your friend is the one who apologizes, you should be willing to accept their apology even if the pain is still there. By accepting, you recognize that your friend is acknowledging that they were wrong.
Utilize Lessonbee's Free Content
Getting into a disagreement with your friend can be difficult to navigate around during and after the fight. While no two arguments are the same, utilizing these nine steps can help make the fight a little more bearable and have less of a friendship-altering impact.
For further discussion and other ways to cope with a disagreement with your friend, take the time to browse Lessonbee's assortment of mental health and relationship-building content.
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