Friends are one of the best things that can happen to us, and if you’re got a great group of friends, you need to enjoy them – not fight with them. If you notice yourself picking at your friends more than you’d like or on the receiving end of ugly comments and gossip, you’ll want to step back and reevaluate. Finding ways to stop fighting might be easier than you think.
Step 1: Determine if these are real friends.
There are friends and there are real friends. Real friends will help you anytime, anywhere. Real friends protect you from gossip – they don’t start the gossip, and real friends work hard to communicate with you and ensure that you’re having as much fun as they are when the two of you are hanging out. Of course we all have our ups and downs and I’m certainly not suggesting the two of you drive off a cliff together to cement your eternal friendship bond ala Thelma and Louise, but if you know your friends are talking about you as soon as you walk away, why are you with them? They aren’t friends. Find some new ones.
Step 2: Look for patterns of behavior.
When does the trouble actually start? Are the two of you fighting every time you want to hang out with someone else? Or do you pick a fight when she’s trying to spend an evening with her boyfriend? Once you see when the fights or negative behavior are occurring, you can start to figure out why it might be occurring.
Step 3: Identify and reduce the problem.
One common reason for fighting among friends is jealousy. If the two of you have been best friends for years and suddenly you want to hang out a bit with your new theater friends, she might feel left out and insanely jealous of your time with your new friends. This is tricky to handle because you want to keep your old friend, but have your new friends, too. You can start by working hard to find balance between the two groups.
When you’re making plans with your new friends, try inviting your old friend along to hang out if she’s welcome, or just reassure her that you’ll be heading to the mall with her Sunday afternoon but you’ll be off with some other friends on Saturday. People do grow apart, but it doesn’t mean your friendship is gone, it might just be changing as you change. So long as you’re working hard changing in a positive way, it should all be fine.
If you find yourself picking fights with your best friend about her boyfriend, really look at why this is. Are you jealous of her time with her? If so, find some new friends or hobbies to enjoy while she’s out with him. But if your feelings stem from concern or a dislike or distrust of her boyfriend, you need to talk to your friend. If you’re worried he’s not treating her properly, share your concern and be ready with some firm, real examples of things you’ve seen. Most people want to find the best in their boyfriends, but friends often have a unique perspective into the relationship because they aren’t blinded by like or love.
You might see things for what they are, and it’s absolutely your job to share your concerns and stand by your friend – just realize that you don’t control her and she probably doesn’t want to listen. You might just have to wait it out and help her pick up the pieces later when she finally realizes the truth. If you’re very concerned about her health or safety and she doesn’t seem to be hearing you, consider talking to her parents about your concerns – sometimes being a good friend is tougher than standing by and doing nothing, but at least she’ll thank you later.