Even the classiest folks can find themselves in an argument or two. Whether it’s with your mom over your spending habits (she’s usually right about this one) or with your boyfriend over plans that he definitely forgot about (you specifically said Friday night, not Saturday), some situations just make your blood boil! However, the idea of fighting takes a dramatic turn when it’s between you and your best friend. It may sound childish, but you really don’t know how to spend a few days without telling your best friend everything. Without your partner in crime, who would you talk to about your mom’s financial lectures or your boyfriend’s forgetfulness?
Though you and your BFF are bound to have small disagreements—she might not love Taylor Swift’s “The Man” as much as you do—a more serious argument equals panic mode. How do you effectively solve the issue without reenacting a scene from The Hills? And how do you truly move on without fostering a pinch of resentment towards your BFF? While every fight and dynamic duo differs, I’m here to offer advice for getting through a debacle with your bestie.
The First Signs of Anger
Maybe it’s “that time of the month,” but your best friend has really been getting on your nerves. Maybe you’ve noticed that your partner in crime is flying solo lately. She takes forever to text you back and doesn’t say much. Whether she’s flaking out on your weekend plans or doesn’t go to class but expects you to give her all your notes, you’re pissed off! This isn’t unheard of; we all tend to lash out at the people we love most. “The closer we feel to people, the more able they are to hurt our feelings,” says Patti Criswell, a clinical social worker. “When our feelings or our pride is hurt, we lash out. That anger comes from a very visceral and emotional place—often causing us to say things we regret.”
You Can Get Mad, but Don’t Get Even
This may seem like common knowledge; however, we all say angry things in the heat of the moment. If your gal pal made out with your crush, should you call her a wh*re and then kiss her ex-boyfriend? Or what about if she spilled the beans and told someone your deepest, darkest secret—do you now have the OK to do the same? Absolutely not! Though getting some revenge may sound appealing at the time, you’ll regret betraying her after the two of you have patched things up.
Don’t Publicize Your Fight
We all need a vent session every now and then, but there’s a major difference between quickly mentioning your latest feud to your mom or roomie and causing a major scene. If you feel the urge to talk to a third party about your fight, avoid getting too dramatic. While it may feel good at the time, how will your mom view your BFF once the two of you have solved your issues? Instead, just tell your confidant that you and your bestie are going through a rough patch. If you’re social media savvy, we beg of you—please don’t tweet, tumble, blog, or make a Facebook status about your latest fight. Not only will you receive negative attention, but also it’ll only add fuel to the fire. It’s never okay to dish about your drama on social media —leave that for Keeping Up With the Kardashians! “A much better alternative would be to exercise the 24-hour rule and do nothing for 24 hours, then re-evaluate, and, if need be, talk to the person directly,” says Criswell. If you really need to write down every single thought and feeling you have during this trying time, invest in a diary.
After days, weeks, or maybe even months of walking on eggshells around your BFF, the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here: the big talk. Regardless of whether the two of you are chilling at your house or having a Laguna Beach-esque meet-up at your local café (sunglasses and all), now is your chance to get it all off your chest. But how exactly should you do that? As if I’d leave you hanging at a time like this!
Address the Problem
Bringing up a problem is never fun. In fact, it’s painfully awkward. But you need to talk out your feelings and issues. Not to sound too dramatic, but think of the alternative! Sometimes the best way to approach the situation is by being blunt. “My best friend and I have a really open relationship, so if one of us is pissed at the other, we just say, ‘You’re really annoying me right now,’” says Hannah Franke, a student at Boston University. “Then the other person just shuts up for a few minutes until the other is ready to talk.” Not as confrontational? Solving your issues is as easy as calling your BFF and asking if the two of you can meet for coffee and talk about whatever the issue is. Though a cappuccino won’t fix all your problems (we’re just as upset as you are), the proactive effort shows that you truly want to mend your friendship. Acknowledging that an argument needs to end is the first step towards a successful recovery.
No Yelling Allowed
Is it just us, or does screaming make any situation a thousand times worse? Even though you may want to start yelling at your best friend when she doesn’t understand why you’re angry, it’s important to keep your cool; throwing a temper tantrum will only make matters worse. If you’re afraid you’ll reach your boiling point, agree to meet in a public place. Neither of you will want to have a Real Housewives moment at your local froyo shop! If that doesn’t do the trick, try writing letters to each other. The idea may sound clichéd, but you’ll both be able to get your points across to each other without any interruptions. Not only is a handwritten letter more personal (and more genuine) than a Facebook message, but you can also take your time reading it in order to truly understand your friend’s feelings.
Bury Your Stubbornness
Deny it all you want, but fights sometimes bring out the worst in us. Does “I’m not the one who has to apologize” sound familiar? What about “I’m not going to make the first move”? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this attitude has to go. “It’s not easy to see the other person’s side because we are blinded by our own emotions,” says Criswell. “It’s important to see past this, though, and it’s part of being in a healthy relationship—any healthy relationship. That includes marriage, work, family, and friendships.” You probably don’t realize it, but your BFF may be feeling the same way as you are. And if neither of you buries the hatchet, you can kiss your best friendship goodbye. Even though you and your bestie aren’t seeing eye-to-eye right now, “If someone is your best friend, it means that sucking it up and throwing away the ‘It’s not my fault’ attitude is worth a fixed friendship,” says Erin Nemeth, a recent grad of Quinnipiac University.
Apologize… and Mean It!
Everyone knows that a fight isn’t over until the two of you wave your white flags and apologize. “If you’ve crossed that line and humiliated a friend, or said something that is personal and cruel, you’ve got to make it right,” says Criswell. However, this step shouldn’t be taken lightly—an attitude-filled apology can lead to more problems. To show your friend just how sorry you are, be sure to address what you’re apologizing for. Sometimes, simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ may seem impersonal and not genuine. How much more authentic does ‘I’m sorry that I’m spending too much time with my boyfriend, I’ll try to consider your needs, too’ sound? Much better, right?
All’s Well That Ends Well
Now that the two of you have sorted out your problems, let the healing begin. So how can you say adios to this feud and move on?
Reflect, Reflect, Reflect!
Everything’s back to normal now that the two of you have talked it out, right? Not necessarily. Even though you’ve both apologized, the situation won’t be solved until you turn this fight into a learning experience. “It’s really important to explain why you’re mad, because if you don’t explain the reason for your anger, there can be tension in your friendship,” says Taliah Ahdut from Brandeis University. Make sure you and your partner in crime understand what made each other upset and how to avoid this issue in the future. Maybe your best friend hates how you never text her back, or perhaps you’re upset that your BFF bailed on your plans. Talking about the fight is also necessary if you want to improve your friendship skills. “Reflecting on fights helps us learn what we should’ve done differently and when the fight went from productive to ridiculous,” says Criswell. To prevent the same fight from happening again, it’s important to tell each other why these quirks make you upset and how he or she should prevent this issue moving forward.
Plan Some BFF Time
When it comes to your other half, it’s important to forgive and forget. Now that you and your BFF are two peas in a pod once again, it’s time to put that best friendship into high gear. Say sayonara to the former feud by planning a friend date to see that new Channing Tatum movie (you know, the one where he’s not wearing a shirt) or have a bake-a-thon and make those cupcakes you saw on Pinterest. Before you know it, your friendship will be just as good as before (only stronger)!
Unless it’s an issue where you’re seriously doubting your BFF’s loyalty and character, it’s important to remember that your other half always has your back and hates fighting just as much as you do. “We can always move on because we know that no matter what disagreements we get into, each of us really cares about the other,” says Hannah Franke of her best friend. Though confrontation and apologizing are never fun, you have to remember that it’ll only help your friendship. The sooner you utilize our tips and tricks, the better; just don’t forget to thank us when the two of you have patched things up!