Best friends Friends Friendship 101

Fight Club: Surviving an argument with your bestie

We’ve all been there. If you have friends, at some point you will disagree with each other. Or get on each other’s nerves. Or one of you will do something thoughtless. An argument with your best friend doesn’t mean the friendship is over. But it does mean you may have to deal with uncomfortable feelings. 

So how do you navigate a disagreement (ok, we’ll say it, or an all-out fight) with a friend?

1.Talk about what’s bothering you. Trust us, we know how hard this can be (and we haven’t always gotten this right). And we know that you can think you are talking about it, but your friend doesn’t realize it or doesn’t hear what you’re saying as an effort to figure it out or make amends. Once you realize something is amiss, and you’re in a place where you can talk about reasonably openly (i.e., not at work, or maybe not while you’re speeding down the highway in the pouring rain) and, ideally in person, say something. 

2. Listen. This can feel like the hardest thing to do when you are convinced you’re right. Or that the other person is overreacting. Or when you’re feeling angry or hurt. If the friendship is worth it, it’s worth it to take a deep breath (or several) and listen to what she’s saying.

3. Give each other some space. This may happen at any stage – possibly before you even bring it up with each other. When feelings are intense, it can be difficult to keep your cool. A break may be the best medicine. 3. Understand she has feelings about this, too. Be patient and try to see things from her perspective. She may also be hurt or sad or think you are overreacting and obviously in the wrong. And she may not be ready to talk about it at the moment you are. And also remember that not everyone knows how to have disagreements within a trusting relationship. Whether that is you or the other party in the relationship, just know you are both likely coming at this disagreement with a different understanding of the rules of this fight club.

4. Apologize. “Yes, even if you feel you were the one who was more wronged, it’s important to remember that this is your best friend, and there’s a good chance she’s feeling hurt by something you said or did, too. No matter how mature we think we are, very few of us fight fairly all the time.” – Arielle Tschinkel 

 5. Work together to resolve it. 

6. With a good friend, figure out how you’ll handle it next time. “If you make up after a fight with a bud, decide what to do if you argue again. Brainstorm to come up with an action plan…For example, if you feel the conversation is getting heated, agree that one of you will ask, “How about those Red Sox?” as a code to immediately change the subject to something more lighthearted. Or, give yourself a day or two to both cool down, then agree to meet for coffee at your favorite café later in the week to briefly hash things out, followed by that movie-style big ol’ bear hug that only a bestie can give.” – Rachel Sokol

7. Don’t drag other friends into the mix or ask them to referee. This puts them in the position of having to choose sides and can damage their relationship with you or your bestie. This fight is between you and your bestie, and best dealt with between you. 

Yes, it sucks to be hurt and angry at each other. But navigating through this difficulty can make your friendship so much stronger. And maybe, just maybe, this could be something you laugh about years from now. 

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

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