How to Communicate When You’re Fighting with a Friend
Fighting with a friend can be hard. I mean, this is the person you typically go to for everything! Every moment of your day, every crazy thing Becky from your office said, and every big decision you’re thinking about making. So how do you deal when you are fighting with a friend? Well, communication is key! I know this might be a struggle because if you’re like me, you are as stubborn as a mule and do not want to have a civil conversation. Wake up call! We have to be adults and talk this out (yes, even you Tavinia). It’s funny because as I am writing this article, I am in a fight with one of my friends. So stick with me and let’s work this out together on how to communicate when you’re fighting with a friend.
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Identify the problem
Before you go to your friend, sit down and write out what has made you so upset. Write out even the minor things that may have led to the big blow up. This is important because when writing it out, you may see that you overreacted on some parts, while other points are legitimate. You also want to make this concise so that when you do sit down with your friend, you can give them a straightforward reason as to why you are upset. If this is a reoccurring issue, be sure to think up examples of when this happened in the past. I have come to find that if I go into the conversation hot and not have thought out why I was upset, I begin to forget previous examples and some issues were actually my fault.
That is another thing. When you make out that list of what upset you. Be sure to apologize or voice the things that were your fault. I feel this shows that you have thought about the situation and are aware that you are at fault for certain points. This way you can both, hopefully, come to an understanding of both of your flaws.
Talk in person (if possible)
This is the most important key. Tone and intention can be HIGHLY misinterpreted when you’re not talking face to face. For example, I tend to never use emoji’s or punctuation so I’m pretty straight forward in my texts. I have had many friends think we are in an argument or that I was upset with them when really, I just suck at texting. If you are already in a fight and are going to talk it out, you don’t want the situation to escalate any more than it already has because of mixed messages. So try your hardest to meet. Even if this means that your schedules don’t correlate until a week later. Wait! Take that time to calm down, get a clear head, and plan what you want to say.
Now if you are far away from each other, like states away, this is a little bit trickier because obviously, you can’t just drive down the road to see them. I still say the same thing. Try to see them somehow. So Skype, FaceTime, Viber, whatever! Almost everyone has access to a computer or smartphone nowadays so utilize it so that you are able to still see their face and nonverbal cues. Self-Improvement in Communication (seen above) is a great book to help you express your feelings and gain confidence when communicating in any relationship.
Listening is key
Now when you sit down to talk, make sure you each give each other time to voice your sides. This is why you also took that time apart so that you could calm down and come to the conversation with a clear head. You wouldn’t want to say something that could not be taken back. So after you have said your piece be sure to actually listen to what your friend is saying. You would want them to do the same for you so give them that respect. Don’t start formulating what you want to say next or listening for flaws in their statements (I’m guilty of that). Really open yourself to their feelings and hear what they have to say. This is key because even though you are fighting with a friend, you still love that person and care for them so you need to validate their feelings like you would want them to do.
Address how to prevent re-occurrence
After you have both discussed how you feel and what led you to this fight, discuss how you can prevent something like this from happening again. There is always an underlying theme to why the fight happened. Even if the fight is over something as silly as your friend not getting you a gift. The underlying theme could be that you feel that you do a lot for them and they do nothing in return. The message is not that you want your friend to start buying you a bunch of stuff, it is that you want them to show that they appreciate you and what you do for them.
So really try to find the core of your issues with each other and work out a plan that can cause that to not happen again. Now I will add one more thing. If the only solution to keep that type of situation from happening again is that one of you has to change a core part of who you are or your values, then that may be an issue. No relationship, even a friendship, should change you from who you are unless it’s changing you for the better. Keep that in mind when working on fixing things.
What I really want you to take from this is that even though you are fighting with a friend, they are still your friend. You love and care for them. It may be hard, really hard, to remember that love through your anger but it is something that at least needs to remain in your conscious. Something that I do before going into the sit-down conversation is to think about whether I can see that person in my future. Is this fight big enough to me that I am willing to end a friendship? Sometimes the answer is yes. Other times it seems silly to end a friendship over. However, that is up to you to decide.