The Art of Friendship: How to Address and Respond to Conflict
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The popular belief that a friendship shouldn’t make you uncomfortable and that you should cut someone off at the first sign of tension or disappointment has seeped into the collective consciousness
Relationship experts agree: That’s not real friendship.
Coping with conflict is the goal, but that doesn't mean you have to confront your friend every single time they do something that bothers or annoys you.
A helpful way to assess if it's worth going to them about it is if it is a recurring issue or a situation that has continued to affect how you perceive your friend and how you show up in your friendship.
Your level of closeness to the person is a factor worth considering when deciding whether to bring up an issue with your friend.
Conflict isn't automatically an indicator of incompatibility; it may simply be the sign of differing preferences that can be bridged with communication.
If you've given yourself a chance to prepare for the conversation, you should also extend the same courtesy to your friend.
Consider if they are in a space where they can actually receive and process your feelings. If not, it's likely that they will go into fight-or-flight mode.
When sharing your dilemma, keep the focus of your words on you and how you feel by using "I" statements.
Start by expressing how it made you feel when your friend did what they did. Feelings are information, not fact.
This also helps you understand that there is more than one reality, and going towards factual reality is a two-way process involving both.
If you have been approached by a friend about how you've hurt them, remember that they care enough to bring it to you and are willing to be their vulnerable self with you
This is your friend showing that they're invested in you enough to want to work through this issue
Before the conversation ends, let your friend know that you hear them. Confirm what has upset them, and verbalize that you care and understand where they're coming from.
If you would like to avoid hurting them in the future, express how you will go about it next time.
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We are a group, not a team - something I never want to say about my colleagues.
Handling Conflict in a friendship
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