Resolving Conflicts with friends

If you recall from my blog about ending friendships with someone, it talked about four questions you should ask yourself before ending the friendship. Chances are, if you consider someone a close friend, you have a better chance of getting into a conflict¬† than you would with a casual friend. For example, you see your friend at school and you invite them to go to your house on Saturday. Your friend has their own car, and he decided to drive himself to your house. Sunday afternoon comes, you cleaned up your bedroom and are waiting for them to arrive. About ten minutes pass, and you realize that he lives on the other side of town, which is a pretty long drive. Twenty more minutes pass, and still no sign of him. You finally decide to call his cell phone and see what the deal was, and he doesn’t answer. You were just stood up by one of your friends.

There could be many different reasons for why this may have happened, first off, he could have been busy with other commitments, and he just forgot about your social plans for the weekend. I have been in many situations where people have forgotten about plans because they had too much on their mind. One example was last year, when I attended Freeport, I had asked one of the neighborhood girls if they were willing to give me a ride to school. The time came for her to pick me up, and she just drove right on past my driveway and left. I had another neighbor who usually drove me in, but he was sick and couldn’t go to school that days. I think that if she really didn’t want to give me a ride, she would have made an lame excuse about why she couldn’t do it. She has driven me once or twice before, so my final guess was that she was in a hurry and forgot about it. I just moved on and forgot about the whole situation because I don’t feel that getting angry about the whole situation would have made it any better. If I did get angry about the whole situation, she would probably avoid even saying hi to me when I would pass her on the street or in the school hallway.

Situations like the one with my neighbor are things you could just move on and forget about. These things happen sometimes, and it is really no use to even think about it. However, being stood up by one of your friends is something you should talk about with the person. Ending the friendship may be an easier resolution to the problem, but sometimes you should challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. If you want to keep this person as a friend, this is really the only thing you can do. If you are somebody that wants to enjoy life, than you need to have at least one or two friends to talk to. Here are five tips for you when resolving a conflict with your friend.

1.) Be honest:

As I said before, honesty is one of the most important qualities in a friendship right? In my opinion, this is the first step towards resolving a conflict with a friend. Remember to tell the person what the problem is, and your feelings about the whole situation. Your friend won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Your friend can’t read your mind. When your friend is doing something that annoys you, don’t just sit there and let it slide. If you do, their behavior could continue to a point where you don’t want to be around them anymore.

2.) Be Respectful:

Yes, it is very important to be honest and tell you friend like it is, but it is also important to do so in a respectful , and age appropriate manner. It is very hard to do this especially for people like me, because their behavior is bothering me. If you are arrogant and rude about the situation, this person could do these behaviors even more, just to purposely make you feel upset. I was once friends with someone in elementary school who kept on calling me by a nickname that I didn’t like, and I reacted by screaming at him on the playground during recess. As soon as my screaming was heard, a teacher came by and made stay in for recess for an entire week. Not only was this rude, inappropriate and uncalled for, it also made that “friend” call me that name even more. My behavior caused him to become a bully, not a friend.

3.) Allow time to forgive the person

It takes time to forgive a friend or a loved one when they do something that really upsets you. Even if they listen to you and give you a sincere apology, you still may not forgive a person entirely.¬† One of the things that I recommend you do after you talk to them is keep contact with the person at a minimum for at least two or three days. Just like repairing a totaled car, it takes time to repair a friendship after a conflict is resolved. Another thing that people often don’t understand is that it may take that person a longer time to want to be friends with you then when you want to be friends with them. In other words, everybody is different, it may take one person longer to do something than another person.

4.) Don’t be judgmental:

One of the major social turnoffs in any relationship, whether it be and acquaintance, friend, or loved one is people who are judgmental. Unfortunately, there are many people like that in this world. For example, I once had a friend who was having a casual conversation with one of the trouble makers in our school, and I started to worry and think that they were going to start hanging out with them and acting like them. When he was done talking to the person, I walked over to him and asked why he was talking to him. He then said to me “Calm down Derek, I’m just asking him if he got something completed that was part of our English project”. I then understood why he was talking to him. I tend to be judgmental when I’m around a person, and I am trying to work on that. For example, just because a person wants to go to a bar and drink a few beers every now and then doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person. If the person is levelheaded and knows when they are crossing the line, than don’t really worry about the person. However, if this behavior is becoming obsessive, than I would try to talk to the person about their behavior, and the consequences that could happen if they keep it up.

5.) Keep trying

Sometimes, repetition helps a friend learn that what they are doing is upsetting you. I would occasionally send the friend an email, phone call or text message just to let them know that you still care about them. Even if they don’t respond to you every time, I still recommend that you keep doing it on occasions. However, if they are rude to you about it, then I would recommend avoiding contact with them and finding another person to be friends with. As I have said many times before, you can’t MAKE someone be friends with you and it’s their problem if they don’t want to be your friend, not yours.

Lastly, if resolving the conflict doesn’t work out I would let it go and move on with life. Worrying about the conflict can make it even worse. There are other people in the world to be friends with, and it makes no sense to worry about them. I have to say that this is one of the hardest and longest blogs that I have written, because it is something that I am still learning about. I hope you found it informative, and I will be back to write again soon!


When is it appropriate to end a friendship?

Making friends has never really been that easy for me, and I probably always will have trouble understanding who is my friend and who isn’t, I’ve also had trouble talking to people on the phone, because of how awkward it is for me. I have also been in situations where I have mistaken people as “friends”, but they have wound up doing something that would embarrass me, and would obviously cause me to not trust them anymore. I’ve also had some very depressing experiences with people in the past, such as my “buddy” Eric from when I went to Freeport. Because of these experiences, I have very little trust when I meet new people, especially peers. One of the questions I have always asked myself is “when can I find out when it’s appropriate to end a friendship with somebody”? In the past, I have had friends that just ignored me and moved onto new people. As I mentioned in my last blog, I hate it when people are not honest that they don’t want anything to do with me, they either just sit there and tolerate me or avoid being around me all together. When it seems like a friend is either not interested in you, or treating you rudely, it is time to end it. Ending a friendship is something that people really don’t want to do, but it is something that you absolutely should do. Here are three questions that you should ask your self if you are seriously considering ending a friendship with somebody:

1.) Do they seem to not be interested in being around you?

One of the first things you may notice right away is that they will start hanging around other people instead of you. I have had friends that have started hanging out with people other than myself, and they start to make up jokes that I didn’t really understand. It seemed like they were going into their own little social clique of people. The next thing you will most likely notice is that they will end up going on outings that they don’t invite you on. If you ask them if they would like you to come along, they will probably make lame excuses like “there is not enough room in the car for you”, or “I’m only allowed to invite a certain number people along”. Those were some of the excuses former friends have made because they don’t want to include me in something. Another thing that you will notice is that they will start avoiding contact with you. I have tried to call former friends on their cell phones, and on the second or third ring they press the ignore button and it goes straight to their voice-mail. They also will start deleting and ignoring emails and text messages from you. One trick I have with this is wait a day or two for a response from them, then I would send another email asking them if they received it. If there is no response from them, that is a possible clue that they are avoiding contact with you.

2.) Are they participating in behaviors that could set a bad example for someone?

One of the difficult changes in growing up as a teenager is they will most definitely change from the little innocent kid they were in elementary school. Some of them will end up hanging around people that do things that could get them in trouble in school or even with the law. When I started junior high, the students started using the crudest language. Most of the topics they would bring up would either have something to do with sex, drugs, or alcohol. The teachers really couldn’t do anything about it because they were not around to hear it happen. I know that swear words slip out of peoples mouths every now and then, but these kids would use them in every other sentence. In high school you will most definitely hear the rumors about who is dating who, and who is having sex with who, but they are just rumors. If the specific person they are spreading the so called “rumor” about is actually talking about having sex, or doing drugs or alcohol, that could mean that they are actually doing it. On the other hand, they may talk about those things to try to look cool in front of their peers, the humor that teenagers use can be very crude and immature, and I really dread being around someone that uses humor like that. I mentioned in my last blog about honesty, you should tell them like it is if they start participating in behaviors like this. They probably already know the consequences of this kind of behavior, but depending on the person it could make them realize that the behavior can have a negative impact on them in the future.

3.) Are they mistreating you in any way?

In the past I have had friends that have tried to convince me that they were trying to be nice, but they were really trying to use me and embarrass me. Such was true with Dirshelle and Cody, who I mentioned in my blog about bullying. They would try to make rude jokes about me to get other people to laugh, but most people would just look the other way and mind their own business. Friends have also taken advantage of me and have borrowed my things and asked me to do stuff for them when they never even said thank you. I remember in second grade I let a “friend” borrow a toy airplane I owned, and it first took about two weeks for him to give it back to me. When he finally did, it came back bent and smashed. What kind of a friend would borrow something from you, forget to give it back to you, and when they finally do it’s damaged. The funny thing about this was that the only thing the kid said to me when he gave the plane back was “well, here you go”. He never even said thank you or explained to me why it was broken. I think that even a second grader would have enough sense to realize that it’s wrong to give something back that was broken, and to not tell me that it was damaged in the first place. After the whole ordeal was over, I never talked to that person again. People that are going to use you for the things you have are not true friends. When I went to Freeport, I had a neighbor that would drive me to school every morning. I made sure that I thanked him for that everyday, because he really didn’t have to do that. He could have just told avoided me in the first place.

Yes, I realize that ending a friendship is not something that people really want to talk about. After ending the friendship it can be a very sad and depressing feeling. There have been times like this where I have felt so sad and depressed that I thought that I wasn’t worth it. That is not an attitude to have, things eventually will get better. Just say good goodbye and good riddance to the person, and move on with life. It makes no sense to worry about bad situations from the past. Most people really forget about friendships that have gone bad after a while. When I say forget about the situation, I mean don’t worry about it, but you should learn from these situations. Hopefully it should convince you to be careful who you are friends with in life.

In my opinion, the two best ways to end a friendship with someone is to avoid contact with the person all together, which shouldn’t be to easy, especially if they are avoiding you in the first place. Or, step outside of your comfort zone and tell the person how you feel. Explain to them why you think the friendship is not working out anymore. It however is not appropriate to end a friendship over small conflicts, try to work out the conflict before you part ways with the person. I will try to write a blog about conflict resolution later.

I really hope you found this blog informative, and I hope that you will take this advice if you are having a problem similar to this.