Fights with friends are a guaranteed part of life, but rebounding after a nasty quarrel with your bestie can be particularly difficult. If you value the friendship and want to make it work, psychotherapist and author Tina B. Tessina suggests that apologizing for whatever part you played in the fight is a key part in healing and moving on.
“Knowing how to apologize, even if what you did was unintentional or misinterpreted, is an essential friendship skill,” she says. “If someone is hurt by what you did, or what they thought you did, an apology is just the thing to reconnect and get the conversation flowing again.”
If you’re not sure how to best apologize, read on for eight expert tips.
Take time to process what happened
“It’s always wise to take some time to process what happened after a big fight with a friend,” says psychologist Jennifer Simpson. To do this, take a step back and refrain from texting or calling your friend, especially when angry or emotionally vulnerable. Be sure to also let yourself feel the emotions that come up as you won’t want to ignore or suppress them, Simpson advises.
Ask yourself what happened
After you calm down and gain emotional distance, Simpson recommends taking things a step further by asking yourself what happened. “Is this a recurring problem? Is it an anomaly? And what were the things that led up to the fight?” she says. “[These] are all important questions to answer yourself.”
Consider your role in the fight
Simpson suggests that you’ll also want to ask yourself about the role you played in the fight. Ask yourself if you fought fair, if there are things you want to apologize for, and if there are things about your friend that are still bothering you. She explains that these are important questions to consider.
Surrender to your responsibility and apologize
“When you become aware that you have made a mistake, admit it and apologize,” Tessina explains. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow, she suggests, as apologizing makes it easier to be forgiven.
Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong
“Don’t approach every situation as if you’re on trial and don’t compulsively try to convince everyone you’re not guilty,” Tessina explains. “Apology and subsequent forgiveness are stress-releasing, which turns out to be healthy for both participants present in the relationship.”
It’s OK to question your relationship
“If this is a recurring problem, honestly ask yourself if this is a relationship that betters your life,” Simpson advises. Ask yourself if you feel better or worse after time with them, and if you do feel worse, try to consider distancing yourself or setting some boundaries.
Consider discussing your fight in person
“If this is a friendship you’d like to keep, consider setting up a time to meet in person,” Simpson says. “So much is lost in the world of texting, [and] a genuine and honest conversation can do wonders.”
Continue to work on your relationship
“If the friendship will continue, identify areas that upset both of you and be sure to check in about this often,” Simpson suggests. Addressing these things as they occur can prevent them from bottling up and exploding down the line, she explains.
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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