Conflict resolution: how to have a good argument with your friends


Why would you want to have a ‘good’ argument with your friends? As if you want to argue with your friends?

With friends, especially your gal friends, it’s often really easy to get into an argument – many times about ‘nothing’ or something that really isn’t a big deal. It’s those trivial things – I swear I’m right, I met him 6 months ago BEFORE you did! – that can often end up becoming a bigger deal than they are. Or, it’s when you forget something, do something without really thinking about the consequences or implications or don’t consider how what you’re about to say or do might come across, that you end up having argument’s with your friends.

I’m not advocating arguing – but – if it’s happened, or happening, you need to know how to deal with it in a ‘good’ way rather than just blaming the other person and thinking they’re the spawn of the devil, and then never talking to them again (ignoring people usually doesn’t work!)

  1. Identify how you actually feel & don’t be afraid to say it

Are you annoyed that they told someone else a secret you told them not to tell? Are you upset they didn’t invite you to the party? Are you frustrated at their lack of understanding of your issue / problem? Do they have another group of friends you don’t particularly get on with?

These are all valid concerns – but you need to know how they actually makes you feel. Angry? Frustrated? Left out? Upset? Disappointed? Try and identify how you actually feel and whether it’s something you can talk about with your friend.

This is a good time to talk to a trusted adult (whether that is a parent, school counsellor, whoever) to try and figure things out.

It can also be a good time to tell your friend what and why you’re feeling. Examples of an incident that has occurred, or something that has happened, can be useful – don’t rely on the specifics too much – just try and stay as rational as possible.

  1. Don’t raise your voice and actively listen

Say what you have to say, and don’t raise your voice, and don’t have a frustrated tone. Act as calm, and rational as you can. Listen to what your friend has to say, and try and understand why they are saying what they are saying, and how they are feeling. This can be hard, but it’s important not to interrupt your friend/s, and not to dismiss everything they are saying. Actively listen – don’t go on your phone, don’t look around you, and don’t walk away mid conversation.

Top tip: don’t have these conversations when you’re not in the right frame of mind (i.e. on the dancefloor in a club).

  1. Try and understand why you feel like that and why your friend may feel like that

Don’t just jump to the conclusion that your friend is wrong, and you’re right. Spend some time and think (and talk) about why you think and feel that why, and why your friend may also feel like that.


  1. Spend time apart.

Go for a walk, read a book, call another friend – but spend some time apart. You need some time to process your feelings and thoughts – time apart is great for this. It will also help to talk to the people around you about what’s happened, and help you process and understand what’s going on, and why.

  1. Apologise – if you need to (and mean it!)

There’s nothing worse than the completely inauthentic sorry. We all know that you don’t mean it. Be authentic, say why you are sorry, and say that you understand how it would have made your friend feel. And if you are being apologised to, accept it. Don’t hold a grudge. This is the time to accept the apology, and move on!

  1. Think about what you can change for next time – and do it.

Whatever the conclusion is – always think about what you can change in the future. E.g., maybe that’s trying to make more of an effort to get to know your friend’s new group, maybe it’s actively making sure that you’re communicating and on the same page about what you want and need. You’ll both be stronger, wiser, and more aware of your friends wants and needs.

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