Advice On Women's Friendships:Tips For When and How To Make up and Break up
Dear April Masini,
I have a friend that I keep fighting with and then making up with. It's getting exhausting. Should I keep her or drop her? Apologize? Make up? I'm spinning here."
Friend or Foe?
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Friend or Foe:
Fighting is important in any relationship, but when two female friends have a blow out, mending the fence can be difficult. Here are step by step directions on how to do it:
If you want to make up with a friend, it's sometimes hard to take the first step. Here are some tips on doing just that:
1. Call and say: Look, I'm sorry. Can we meet and talk? Chances are your friend is having the same thoughts you are, and hasn't been able to jump the hurdle and make the call that you did. Chances are you'll meet with a warm reception. And if you don't, at least you know where you stand.
2. E-mail and write: Still mad? Too mad to try and talk things over? The beauty of e-mail is that you don't run the risk of actually getting your friend on the telephone. Your friend can open the e-mail if and when he or she wants, and can respond after thinking it over.
SHOULD YOU APOLOGIZE? Give yourself a cooling off period. During this time do what works for you to process your thoughts and feelings. Some suggestions are:
- Spend time alone and just think about what happened and why.
- Talk it through with a friend or family member. Some people "process" information by talking it out. Others process information by writing it out. Then there are those who like to just think it out alone. Most people use a combination.
If you think that there was a misunderstanding, a change of heart, or that the fight was about something you two can compromise on, then by all means -- reconcile! Apologizing and reconciling is good exercise for the mind and spirit. The more you do it, the easier it gets -- kind of like sit ups!
OPTION 3: Then there's the third option: ASK FOR AN APOLOGY!
This is a tough one because it takes a strong person to ask for one, and an even stronger person to give one under these circumstances. If you are certain that you've been wronged by your friend, and you just can't get past that unless you hear some remorse and an apology, and that is the only way you can get back on track at this time, then by all means, ask for what you want. If you don't get it, you're better off for having asked. If you change your mind down the line, you can always go back to your friend with a different tact.
IF THE MAKE UP SESSION ISN'T WORKING, HOW TO END THE DISCUSSION
If you find that you and your friend are both "dug in" in your positions, and no one is willing to compromise, change, or let bygones be bygones and move on, then you're best off cutting your losses and ending the discussion -- for now, and maybe forever. Here are some ways to end it:
- Stand up if you've been sitting. This always signals an end to a discussion.
- Walk to the door. If your friend didn't get your message you sent by standing, going to the door should give him or her the idea that you're wrapping this up.
- Conclude in words. Say something like, "I'm glad we had this chance to talk, but I need to leave now. Thank you for your time." If it sounds a little cold, it's because it's a line that sets up a boundary. It doesn't promise false hope with, "I'll call you." Or, "I'll talk to you soon." A less harsh approach is, "I've really heard everything you had to say -- is there anything you want me to know before I leave?" That allows for one last blast, and then your cued to exit.
MORE ON FRIENDSHIPS THAT MAY NOT BE WORKING
Friendships are relationships that we choose to have -- unlike family relationships that are dictated by birth. A friend is someone who fulfills a need -- whether it's social or emotional or some other need. When the friend no longer fulfills that need or the need no longer exists, and the friend becomes obsolete, people either hang onto friends the way they collect pieces of clothing or other possessions that they just don't want to throw out even though they don't use them often, or they let them go.
WAYS TO KNOW IF A FRIENDSHIP IS NOT WORKING
- You feel guilty that you didn't invite a particular friend to an event. If you feel guilty about not calling or seeing a friend, you may be taking care of the friend in a way you don't really want to, but haven't acknowledged.
- You find you forget to include your friend in parties, guest lists or your "round" of weekly calls or e-mails. This may be your subconscious sending you a message. You may be forgetting your friend because you don't want to include them.
- After seeing a friend, you feel badly. If a visit or a phone call with a friend leaves you feeling unsettled or uncomfortable in some way, you may be having feelings about the friendship that are not on the surface of your consciousness yet. Try and figure out why you don't feel good around this person. It may be time to let go of the friendship for now.
WAYS TO LET A FRIENDSHIP GO
- Benign disconnect. Letting go without any prejudice or conflict is the best way to let a friendship go. Believe it or not, this is very hard for some people to do.
- Drama. Creating a conflict for the (often subconscious) reason of letting go of a friend, is another way to end a friendship. It's not the most elegant or simple way to end a friendship, but it works. And many people do it without realizing it.
- Brutal honesty. Few people can or choose to notify a friend that they just don't want to spend any more time with them because their life has changed to the point that they no longer have time or enough in common with the friend. However, it is a way to let go of a friendship. Don't expect your friend to take this honesty well. Honesty can be painful to the person hearing it.
FRIENDS AFFECT HEALTH
People who are positive and make you feel good, and have similar goals in life (hopefully healthy ones), will make you feel good and will be good for your health. People who are negative, discouraging and make you feel bad, or have dissimilar goals in life will bring stress and anxiety into your life. Stress and anxiety affect your general wellbeing and you can become sick if the stress and anxiety become acute or chronic.