Managing your friendships
Friends are a really important part of out lives. Having people around that you can trust and rely on gets you through the bad times and makes the good times so much better.
But, as with any relationship, friendships require a bit of work to keep them going strong.
When this happens with a good friend, and if the disagreement turns into argument, it’s easy to feel angry, upset and a bit lonely – feelings that make it difficult to manage the argument.
Some tips on helping to resolve an argument with friends:
- Accept your differences. Understanding that you’re different people, with different opinions. By wanting to understand each other’s perspectives you may be able to agree to disagree.
- Talk. Let your friend know how you feel, because keeping stuff 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 help you understand where your friend is coming from, but 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 do 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, your interests change, which means you might have less in common with some friends than you used to. Often this means you’ll spend less time together, and a close friendship can slip into a more casual one, maybe fading away altogether.
Some important things to remember as you find yourself growing apart from someone:
- Don’t feel guilty – if you’re ready to move on and your friend isn’t, it can cause tension between you. He or she can try to hold on to a bond that’s no longer there. It’s easy to feel guilty about wanting to end a friendship, but ultimately, you have to decide whether it’s something worth hanging on to.
- Honesty and respect – avoiding someone you no longer want to pursue a friendship with can seem like sparing their feelings, it can leave them feeling confused. Honesty is often the best policy, but make sure you’re considerate and respectful of their feelings – perhaps explain you feel you no longer have much in common and that you’re moving in different directions.
- Communication – you find yourself growing apart from your friend and you don’t know why, talk to them and explain how you feel. It’s possible communication can salvage your relationship.
- Loneliness – if a friendship ends however, you may feel lonely and rejected. Talk to people you trust about your feelings and understand that sometimes people grow apart. It’s not a reflection on you or your friend, just part of growing older.
Renewing a friendship
Sometimes friends get tired of each other, it happens. We change and so do our interests. If it’s someone you care about though, maybe it’s worth trying to inject some life into the relationship. Some tips on reviving your friendship:
- Suggest doing something new. Join a club, start evening classes or take up salsa dancing together. 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 a music gig instead. Doing something unexpected together can shake things up and bring some variety back. If the night turn out to be a disaster, you can laugh at it together.
- Be spontaneous. Do something on the spur of the moment, be it booking a holiday, having a day trip, or buying your friend a gift. Make your friend feel special shows you don’t take them for granted.