Girl Talk

Handling Conflicts Among Friends

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By Tanya Maswaure

We are all raised in different ways and in different houses. Everyone has their values and priorities, and sometimes your preferences may not align with those around you. This is why conflicts are inevitable. Some people think that if you have a dispute with someone, then you both are not meant to be friends, but actually, that’s hardly ever the case. Arguments are bound to happen even in families where everyone was raised under the same roof, with the same values. There is no way of absolutely avoiding conflict amongst your friends, which is why you need to learn how to navigate through them.

The first step is to take a breather. You obviously feel angry or attacked by what your friend has done or said. The hardest thing to do at this point is to step away because the voice in your head is telling you to say your part, rather than shout your opinion!. It is important to remember that you will get a chance to state your point, but it is no use doing it angrily; you most likely won’t be able to express your feelings and thoughts properly, and hence you will sound pointless. The best arguments are always won when you use a calmer tone. So take a breather, review your points and get to a more relaxed state of mind.

Remind yourself about your relationship. This is your friend, and before the argument, you genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. Therefore, before you start arguing, remember that it is not your friend that you are against but rather the problem. This will help you avoid using hurtful words that worsen the situation. For instance, insulting her looks has nothing to do with the problem, this will only leave you filled with regret. Also, if you aim to tackle the problem together, you will find the solution easier to reach.

Secondly, don’t involve a crowd! It is tempting to go and tell more friends who support where you stand. Everyone needs support, especially when you are emotional, but hooking up with a gang over your other friend will only escalate the tension. You can go and ask for advice from others, but before you do so, make sure they are unbiased and they understand that you are looking for a solution and not a gossip buddy. It is better to first go and talk things out with your friend alone, before you start complaining to others; this way, when you are friends again, no one sees her as a bad person or you as a hypocrite.

Finally, sometimes there is no clear solution. It is okay to either take time apart or cut your losses. Just like we were raised differently, she may not be able ever to see your point of view or vice versa. Sometimes it is important to stick to your values and beliefs. There is no point in maintaining a friendship that continues to contradict your values and principles.

We are social beings but we can never avoid conflicts all together. We need our friends and they need us. So next time before blowing a fuse, take some time to think through what you will say next and the consequences. No person is an island so keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

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