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When Friends Fight: Think About It

Okay, so your best friend has just said something ultra-mean to you...or worse, she's just said something about you to someone else, behind your back. You're angry, and your first impulse is to say something nasty right back to her, or write her an awful note, or un-invite her to your party.

When we're feeling like this, it's hard to sit down and just THINK. But that's the first thing we should do when we've been fighting with a friend. When we use our mouths before our minds, it usually results in something we'll regret later. Instead, take some time to examine what this fight is all about.

If a friend has suddenly started ignoring you or acting like they don't want to be your friend anymore, it extra-important to think about what's going on before you try to talk to him or her.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How did this start?
Think about the Who, What, Where, and When of the fight. Who's involved? What happened, and where, and when? How did it happen?

Who seems to have started it?
Don't ask this question as a way of blaming someone. Maybe it seems like you started things off, or perhaps your friend did. It might even seem like neither of you started the fight, or you're both equally at fault. Whatever the answer, it will help you learn more about the situation.

Have any of us done things to make it worse?
What we do or say after a fight begins can make things better or worse. Think about how you and your friend acted after you first began fighting.

Am I mainly angry at my friend for something he did, or am I mostly sad that we're fighting?
Try to sort out exactly what you're feeling. Are you angry? Frustrated? Jealous? Regretful? Do your emotions mostly come from what caused the fight, or the fact that you're fighting in the first place?

Does my friend seem mainly angry, or mainly sad?
Judging by what you see or hear, what are you friend's emotions? Does she seem like she wants the fight to continue, or could she be looking for a way to make up?

Did we have the chance to make things better, but let it go by because we were still too angry?
You may feel like you have the right to stay angry at your friend, and depending on the situation, you just might be. But have you missed chances to heal an important friendship just because you want to hang on to your anger?

Is the thing we started fighting about still worth fighting about, or do we just keep fighting about the fight itself?
Arguments can have lives of their own, and can keep going long after the real reason for arguing has stopped being important. Sometimes fighting friends can't even remember why they first began fighting! Are you and your friend mad at each other just because it's become a habit?

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