Whether it is a quirky hairstyles we immediately regret or accidentally liking an Instagram photo from four years ago (oh the shame!), there are a few certainties of misfortune that we all face when it comes to being a teenager.
Another inevitable event in our lives is the occurrence of a fight between friends. We recognise that it can be tricky to know how to deal with a friend fight. Here are some tips to help you combat some of the difficulties you may experience when navigating friendship problems.
Do not tangle yourself up in history
Loyalty is an important trait and for most people it’s a valuable quality sought in a friendship. However, when it comes to fights between friends it’s important that your vision or judgement are not impaired by blind loyalty. Do not overlook your history but keep a focus on the present. Just as friendships progress and develop, so too will you and your friends as individuals. Your friends’ previous actions do not excuse their current ones.
Recognise when to walk away
It’s a cliché to say that the bigger person walks away because let’s be honest, sometimes when we walk away from a confrontation we feel like the teeniest, tiniest person on the planet. However, confrontation is not always productive and can deteriorate quickly. Walking away may the most worthwhile option if it avoids you saying something hurtful or being upset by something directed towards you.
When it comes to excusing actions, do not be too stubborn to overlook your own. In an argument it can be easy to become caught up in the drama. This often results in you focussing on the negatives of someone else’s actions at the expense of your own behaviours. Do not be afraid to step back and check your own response to the situation. Similarly, if you are sorry for something you have done or said, do not let your pride inhibit your ability to apologise.
Be aware of group dynamics
Friendship fights are tough and can have an understandably significant impact on those directly involved. There is also a broader effect on those in the wider circle. With larger friend groups there are going to be ties of varying strengths that link individuals together. It’s worth recognising that these ties can become easily knotted or entangled. To avoid unnecessary, additional drama, try not to feed into the fight narrative. This doesn’t mean blocking everyone out, but it does mean dodging rumours.
With the addition of other people involved, aim to avoid also adding gossip to the equation. This piece of advice is relevant whether you are directly involved in the fight or not. Gossip and exaggerated recounts of incidences will quickly escalate and can have serious consequences as you attempt to deal with a friend fight. Always remember that people’s recollections of events may vary (either deliberately or unintentionally), and it is important not to become overly focussed on the opinions or chatter of others.
Speak to an outsider
An outside perspective can be a helpful way to get done impartial advice or fresh eyes on a situation. They may be able to offer you some insight into your friends’ actions or even your own.
Most importantly however this is also a good way of getting a responsible adult involved. Yes okay, cue the eye roll at the responsible adult part but bear with us! While a fight with friends may seem like an insignificant event initially if you feel that things are likely to intensify it can be helpful to have someone for support.
Even if you would prefer for them not to have a step-by-step run down of the events, providing them with a basic outline can still be worthwhile. This way if things escalate at a later point it will be much easier to fill in the gaps.
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself
It’s important to remember that friendships are relationships. However, instead of the romantic ones that we usually consider, they are platonic or familial. We often excuse or explain away the ending of relationships for varying reasons including growing apart or being too different. Just as we apply this logic to romantic relationships it is important to consider it when it comes to friendships.
It is not a failure for a friendship to end
When it comes to maintaining relationships with others, events like recent lockdowns can make it hard to reconnect with friends. Circumstances vary of course, but the vast majority of fights with friends can be resolved. However, sometimes a major disagreement or a series of frequent arguments can be a sign that the friendship is perhaps reaching its conclusion. Or that it may no longer be as strong as it once was. This is a natural progression of some friendships and not a reflection on anyone involved.
While you may find yourself struggling to deal with a friend fight right now, it’s important to remember that the conclusion of a friendship is not always permanent and may be just a blip in the road.
Need More Friend Advice?
Then check out our new podcast Listen Here Missy. In episode 2 Danielle and Jessie talk about friendship; how complex and all consuming teen friendships can be, toxic friends and how difficult friend fallouts are. The girls also answer some listener dilemmas about friends.