How to Stop Fighting and Save your Friendship

Sometimes, friends disagree with each other. That’s just how it goes. Most of these disagreements can be resolved without much stress or effort. But occasionally, little arguments blow up into something much bigger. If you find yourself in a fight with a friend, you have to be careful about how you handle the situation. Making the wrong move can result in hurt feelings, tons of drama, and in extreme cases, a friendship that’s damaged beyond repair.

Nobody wants to lose a good friend because of a fight they couldn’t resolve. Odds are, this person is your friend for a reason, and you don’t want to throw away all the good times, just because you’re not seeing eye-to-eye right now. Still, working through an argument can be tricky, especially if your feelings have gotten hurt along the way. So how can you squash a fight and save a friendship? Here are some tips:

  • Keep it Civil: Yelling, name calling, and accusations will only add fuel to the fire. Trying to divide the other members of your group into “sides” will stir up unnecessary drama. Spreading rumors or posting about the fight on social media can lead to hurt feelings, and can land you in serious trouble. So keep the disagreement between you and your friend, and focus on resolving it, instead of making it worse. If you absolutely need to vent, try talking to a guidance counselor or parent. You could even write your feelings down in a journal, as long as you keep it in a safe place. Remember, the longer this fight goes on, and the bigger it becomes, the worse you will end up feeling.
  • Try to See Both Sides: Usually, the most heated arguments take place when both people believe that they are right, and the other person is wrong. No matter how angry/upset you are, it is important to remember that your friend probably has a totally different point of view about the situation. You do not have to completely agree with that point of view. Resolving a fight is not about winning. It is about making sure that both you and your friend feel like your opinions are heard, valued and accepted. So make sure you listen to what your friend has to say. Try to understand why they’re upset, and what you could have done to cause it. If you can accomplish this, your friendship will be much stronger in the long run.
  • Take Some Time to Cool Off: Not every fight can be resolved on the first try. Sometimes, both people need to take some time to reflect on the situation, and work through the emotions they’re feeling. This is okay. It does not mean the friendship is doomed. It just means that you both need to take a step back from the issues at hand, so you can think about the best way to resolve them. If your friend needs to cool down, allow them the time and space to do so. If you need to cool down, don’t be afraid to ask for a little space yourself. A little time apart might help you both to gain some much-needed perspective.
  • Know how to make (and accept!) an apology: In most cases, fights are brought to an end with an apology. The best apologies allow both people involved to move on from the situation feeling like their opinions have been heard and respected. If you’re the one apologizing, make sure you’re being sincere, and acknowledging your own role in the argument. And if your friend is apologizing, be sure to accept graciously, without continuing to make them feel bad. Once apologies have been exchanged, it’s time to move on. You’ve both had a chance to voice your feelings, and talk through the situation, so there’s no reason to keep bringing it up in the future. Let the argument go, and get back to the good times!

Of course, every friendship is different, and every fight is different too. It can be tough figuring out the best way to smooth over a rough patch with a friend, especially when emotions are running high. But as long as you approach the situation, and one another, with respect, kindness, and a genuine desire to make things right, you stand a good change at keeping your friendship going strong.

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Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More