How Do Friends Make Up After Being Estranged?

Break the silence with an unexpected gesture, such as a spa day.
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Whether you become estranged from a friend because of a conflicting love interest or a disagreement in personal philosophy, or if you have simply grown apart as you've grown older, it's not too late to make up and rekindle your friendship. Take time to consider events that led to your situation, and then take the initiative to reach out to your friend to try and repair your friendship. While you can't control how your friend will respond, you can at least put your best foot forward while putting your past behind you.

1 Reflect on the Situation

Before jumping in to save the remains of a discarded friendship, take an objective look back at your friendship and examine your role in the estrangement as well as your friend's. Psychologist Irene Levene suggests on "The Friendship Blog" that it takes two to define the roles of a friendship. Even if you feel that your friend's actions were primarily to blame for the estrangement, your reaction played an equal role. Use this opportunity to put yourself in your friend's shoes and think about how you would act differently if a similar event occurred.

2 Approaching Your Friend

If you and your friend are not on speaking terms, you may need to take the initiative to break the ice and approach her. Use an event such as a class project or a party at a mutual friend's house to say hello and ask how she's been doing. You can also reach out to her by writing a note, or touching base with her through text or social media.

3 Offer a Sincere Apology

A sincere apology is one in which you don't expect anything in return from your friend. According to his article in "Greater Good," psychiatrist Aaron Lazare suggests that sincerity is one way to communicate the psychological need that the victim was not responsible for the offense and that this type of behavior will not recur. Tell your friend "I'm sorry things happened the way that they did. I've always valued your friendship and hope we can work toward mending our friendship."

4 Take Your Time

Even though you've broken the ice and reconciled for the past, your friend may have reservations regarding rekindling your friendship. Don't force your friendship upon her, but instead let her know that your door is always open. Invite her out to lunch or to a group gathering, but if she doesn't respond, it may just be a sign that she still needs her space and isn't ready to resume friendship.

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.