Friendships are relationships too. Just like in any relationship, there are ups and downs. And despite conflict or misunderstanding, you can still reset your friendship so that it is healthy and feels good to everyone involved.
Here are a few ways to restore your friendship:
1. Give it time. When conflict arises, it is perfectly fine to need space. There is no timeframe or rule on how long one needs to revisit the issue. Often, the space is used for everyone to process feelings and emotions and gather their thoughts.
2. Evaluate your needs and wants for friendship. Assess what is important in a friend – wants, needs and deal breakers. This is also a way to determine if you want to pursue the friendship and repair the bond.
3. Seek to understand, not to be right. When there’s conflict, listen and seek to understand. Despite what it looks like on the surface, most conflicts are not about who’s right or wrong. More importantly, people want to be heard and understood. It is less about keeping score and proving a point. Ask questions for clarity. Give specific examples that shed light on specific behaviors.
4. Agree to let it go. This might show up in the form of an apology. It’s the acknowledgement of what happened, taking accountability, and moving forward with the friendship. And sometimes “letting go” means that the friendship has run its course, and that is okay.
5. New ground rules. Establish a mutual agreement around standards and boundaries. This gives everyone a clear understanding about expectations – do’s and don’ts. It is a way to level set and reset the pace of the friendship. Ultimately, it all boils down to keeping the lines of communication open.
Healthy friendships require nurture. When relationships serve us well, we hold them close, appreciating the value it brings to our life. Yet, when those interactions meet conflict, misunderstanding, or disagreement, there is still room to restore the bond.
Photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto