The Art of Friendship: How to Address and Respond to Conflict - Deepstash
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Real Friendship

Real Friendship

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.

  • Honing your ability to work through conflict in a long-term platonic relationship is no different than learning to do so in a committed romantic partnership.
  • Open, non-blaming conversations lead to deeper intimacy.
  • When the challenge arises, don't run from the chance to deepen your bond.


614 reads

Examining The Problem

Examining The Problem

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.


499 reads

Assess the Relationship

Assess the Relationship

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.


402 reads

Take The Time

Take The Time

  • Timing is everything
  • Consider if you have the immediate capacity for it.
  • Carve out an entire afternoon - or day, if you need it - so that you aren't rushing through your chat and have time to process any emotions you may feel afterwards.


387 reads

Provide a Warning

Provide a Warning

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.


371 reads

Lean into vulnerability

Lean into vulnerability

  • Use authentic feelings as leverage.
  • Be open about your feelings and be honest about your nerves. This may help ease your friend’s nerves and expand their ability to receive and receive your emotions. You can also build trust with someone by being open and honest with them.


348 reads

Use Inviting Language

Use Inviting Language

  • How you start the conversation influences the mood, tone, and direction of the talk more than you know.
  • Use verbiage that welcomes your friend in rather than alienates them, positive framing script.
  • An example would be: "Hey, I was wondering if we can talk about something that's been on my mind."


317 reads

Speak to Your Reality, Not Theirs

Speak to Your Reality, Not Theirs

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.


294 reads

Ask About Their Experience

Ask About Their Experience

  • What you're trying to do is to embrace something called mutuality.
  • You're considering their experience and your experience at the same time.
  • True mutuality is not about right or wrong, it's about finding balance and understanding.
  • Don't kowtow to their reasoning, but listen to them out.


273 reads

View It as An Act of Love

View It as An Act of Love

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


245 reads

Protect Yourself from Fight or Flight

Protect Yourself from Fight or Flight

  • Do what you need to do to refrain from sending emotions into overdrive
  • De-escalate if necessary, even if it means taking a break during the conversation
  • If the dialogue gets heated, verbalize that you need a moment instead of shutting down


287 reads

<p>In the heat of the moment, ...

In the heat of the moment, it's hard to remember that we are real people.

Take a pause, ask for a moment, and call back later, or even take a day or two. It will help your relationship in the long run and give you space to be receptive rather than reactive.


242 reads

Depersonalize It

Depersonalize It

  • Frame your friend's feelings as information instead.
  • A certain word or action may trigger them, but it might not trigger you and vice versa.
  • It's simply about respecting and honouring their request next time.
  • Don't let them tell you they hate you.


264 reads

Listen to Understand

Listen to Understand

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.


268 reads



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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