When two close friends go through a significant misunderstanding it may be quite a difficult situation. If it additionally involves the loved ones on both sides, it becomes more complex and challenging to solve. In the circumstance of kids and husbands being involved in the argument, the affair will most likely need to be approached with delicacy and diplomacy. It sure can be solved, it just requires an open heart and mind.
We have prepared 5 options
for you where we describe some tips, pros & cons and possible outcomes. However, there is only one person that can determine which option(s) to choose. It is of course you. When selecting the best scenario, we encourage you to use your instinct (which option gives you best stomach feeling), the knowledge of your friend (e.g. how good is she with confrontations) and the answer to the mother of all questions: How important is that friendship for you?
1. Put empathetic glasses on - you know her well, what may be the deeper reasons for her avoiding the contact?
You’ve been very good friends for a long time so probably if you think about it, you’ll be able to assess if the situation was severe enough to make her feel so bad. It may be a good idea to consider if you have accidentally hit some of her sensitive points?
When two close people are involved in a conflict, they can easily hurt each other. The usual challenge is that each of them looks at the situation from their point of view. They often try to figure out who is right and who is wrong. It is quite an amazing experience to see how different people describe the same situation. In any given relation we both come with diverse personalities and baggage of experiences which make us see and feel the same things in, unlike ways. Therefore is the art of conflict resolution, trying to determine who is right and who is wrong does not bring much value. If you want to get close to your friend again, the best you can do is to unravel what might have upset her. Being empathetic will not only help you understand her better, but it will also open up an honest and loving communication.
2. Confront her in a loving way- initiate an open conversation
You write that you have been in contact, but your friend seemed to be cold. What we assume based on the description is that you haven’t openly talked about what has happened. That is a very valid option to consider. Especially now that you have put your empathetic glasses on and you have a deeper understanding of what may be your friend’s pain. When it comes to confrontation, the word may invoke a strong sensation, but if you bring love and compassion to the table, it becomes a beautiful opportunity to have a face-to-face dialogue. If you decide to let go of that right-wrong approach and simply acknowledge that you both feel hurt, you’ll be able to talk about what happened without a blame game.
The biggest advantage of having such a dialogue is that you can clear the air and allow for the wounds to heal. It requires honesty and empathy from both sides, as well as an ability to really listen to each other. And of course, there’s also courage. You have to be quite a brave person to open up and be vulnerable. It is, however, totally worthwhile giving a shot. Especially if you believe that you both are up for it. There’s a bit of pain and a lot to gain :-).
3 Give her space- wait and see what happens
Maybe you have tried to confront your friend and it didn’t really end well. Or maybe you feel that she is not the person that does well during confrontations. Or maybe you came to a conclusion that you are not ready for an open and loving dialogue. Whatever is true for you, allowing some space may be quite a rewarding scenario. First of all, it gives us the necessary time to reflect on what happened and manage our emotions. Second of all, it presents the opportunity to see if that friendship still serves us. Do we really miss that friend? What do we value in that friendship? One thing that can come out of giving someone space is that they will become ready and return to us. There’s, of course, the risk that both sides will be giving each other so much space that no-one will reach out, but you can always try this option out for a while and then reach for another scenario if this one doesn’t work out.
4. Let her go- maybe that friendship no longer serves you
Not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime. That’s true for friendships too. Some people appear in our lives for any given amount of time, we learn from each other and then grow out of that relationship. Depending on what was your answer to the mother of all questions: how important is that friendship to you? you may come to a conclusion that this friendship does not serve you any longer.
If you feel that you have reached out to your friend several times, you have given her space and you have tried to clarify the situation, but she is not there to meet you halfway, it may be a sign that the relationship is simply over.
It may not be easy to accept that someone that has been close to you for many years, is no longer present in your life. It is actually pretty painful, so if it is the case, make sure that you acknowledge and manage your emotions.
5. Play pen-friends- write her a letter
This is a really solid option to consider. When a face-to-face conversation is not possible or too difficult for one of the sides, and you still would like to be honest and open a dialogue, writing a letter could be just a perfect solution. The obvious advantage is that you are reaching out, which shows that you care. Additionally, you give yourself the time to choose the wording and ensure that your communication is clear and loving. Second of all, you give your friend the time to reflect and return to you with their point of view.
And in an instance where your friendship has actually expired, such a letter could bring you a beautiful closure.
Dear Caroline, we hope that our considerations and tips have been helpful. Anyhow, we would strongly encourage you to ask yourself a question:
What are other creative ways to resolve that situation?
We always believe that each one of us knows best how to resolve our challenges, we may just need a bit of inspiration or perspective to make sure that we choose the best possible solution. Another useful question for helping you choose the best option could be to ask yourself: what would that friend advise me to do in this situation? If the answer is for example “write a letter”. That may be just a perfect way to reach out to her :-).
We keep our fingers crossed and hope that you’ll find a beautiful resolution to the conflict. All the best of luck to you and your friend Caroline.
If you’d like to find out more about friendship and how good it is for our health, you can listen to our radio show.