Ways to Resolve Conflict with a Friend

You probably have some friends that feel like they’re an extension of you walking around with a copy-and-paste of your exact brain. And then there are friends that you love and appreciate despite not being on the same page about some big things—like politics, religion, science, whatever. It’s absolutely possible to have friends with different viewpoints on these subjects, but if those viewpoints or actions feel discriminatory or unsafe for you or your loved ones, that can be a lot harder to work around. When you have mismatched interests in these areas, it can be awkward to work out, and you might both end up feeling like the other one is criticizing your choices whenever they don’t align.

  • For example, they may be working, have no phone service, or their phone may be out of battery, so try not to jump to conclusions too quickly.
  • It can even be an opportunity to grow and evolve as you turn a new corner of understanding one another.
  • For most of us, this implies an expectation of some level of reciprocity in the relationship, and when you feel like you are being consistently shortchanged, remind yourself that it’s OK to share your feelings with your friend.
  • If you begin a difficult conversation starting from a place of controlled emotion and grace, the path will be smoother.
  • Friendship is a precious bond that can bring joy, laughter, and support to our lives.

In her article “Quakers and Conflict” from the January 2020 issue of Western Friend, author Sara Keeney describes a seminar she participated in at Intermountain Yearly Meeting‘s annual sessions last year. During the seminar, attendees discussed a conflict management tool that Sara continues to find useful in understanding behavioral styles when it comes to responding to conflict when it arises. So, she advises getting more sleep, trying deep breathing or thinking of something that makes you feel positive. All these can cut down stress and give you greater capacity to handle conflict better — and hopefully keep dialogue open with your friends and loved ones, even when you disagree. Miscommunications are common over text, with many people misunderstanding a simple reply. If you’re not sure, ask a friend directly if they are mad at you.

What to do if: You’re caught in the middle between friends.

Maybe they’re the Paris Geller to your Rory Gilmore and it just works. But if not, Dr. Kirmayer says to start with a little self-reflection. Again, it helps to hone in on the story you’re telling yourself, she says. Is there actual evidence that you two are competing in some way? Or are you maybe comparing yourself to your friend more than you should?

The Social Skills Center is an excellent resource for individuals looking to improve their social skills and enhance their conflict resolution abilities. The online platform offers a user-friendly interface, interactive activities, and practical strategies that can be applied in real-life situations. Conflict triggers strong emotions and can lead to hurt feelings, disappointment, and discomfort.

Lessons from brain science — and history’s peacemakers — for resolving conflicts

For example, if someone sees a comrade in pain — a fellow member of one’s group — the brain will react with empathy. “My brain would simulate the suffering of the other person by reactivating how I feel when I am feeling bad,” Klimecki explains. Olga Klimecki, a neurology researcher and lecturer at the University of Jena in Germany, says brain scans show how powerfully social identity can shape our emotional response to situations. And some rare, but noteworthy people who have mastered this lesson — including Nelson Mandela and U.S. In this article, you will learn 12 ways to handle a friend being upset and ignoring you without making things worse. Social media and buddy comedies might make big friend groups look ideal, but they come with their own set of issues.

Emotional regulation is key to an effective conversation, and we are better at regulating our emotions when we’ve slept well, exercised, meditated, and are in a physically good space in addition to our mental one. Taylor Lamb is friends with five women who have known one another for the better part of the last seven years. Following their college years at the University of Virginia, the group became more intentional about maintaining their bond when proximity no longer bound them together. They revved up a group chat, held virtual hangouts around the holidays, and committed to always celebrating birthdays in person — even if it meant jumping on a train or a plane. An agreed-upon intermediary may also be helpful in resolving the issue.

Benefits of Social Skills Training with the Social Skills Center

If you don’t know how to stay centered and in control of yourself, you will become overwhelmed in conflict situations and unable to respond in healthy ways. If you’re afraid of conflict, it can become a self-fulfilling how to deal with someone who avoids conflict prophecy. When you enter a conflict situation already feeling threatened, it’s tough to deal with the problem at hand in a healthy way. Instead, you’re more likely to either shut down or blow up in anger.

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If you’d rather stick your hand in an ant hill than bring up a conflict with a friend, we get it. Our culture tends to emphasize being “cool” and letting things slide. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. Maybe you don’t want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it. If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, your emotions may be “turned” down or even off.

Many people talk themselves out of bringing up an issue because they don’t want to seem as if they’re the problem, but withholding discomfort can manifest itself in another way, whether through withdrawal or resentment. “Think of it as something that will help not hurt,” says female friendship coach and educator Danielle Bayard Jackson. Learn the best methods for navigating disagreements with friends, whether you’re bringing up or responding to hurt feelings. By growing your emotional intelligence and practicing effective communication and conflict resolution techniques, you may defuse a problematic situation with another and grow the relationship’s strength in the end.

How to advise a friend who responds to conflict

Know when the discussion or argument has accelerated to the point of no return — meaning it’s no longer about conflict resolution, but just about winning. If it gets to this point, stop the interaction, and leave the conversation. Honing your ability to work through conflict in a long-term platonic relationship is no different than learning to do so in a committed romantic partnership. Many withhold their feelings out of the fear that they will be perceived as dramatic or difficult or that it will tear the friendship apart, but with a real friend, that’s not the case. A 2012 paper found that open, non-blaming conversations lead to deeper intimacy between people, as opposed to not having those conversations at all. For a different perspective, Israeli-Palestinian Sayed Kashua’s Native – a selection of his satirical Ha’aretz newspaper columns – is another deeply personal, often tragicomic, account of day-to-day living as a Palestinian within Israel.