How to React to a Friend Who Hurts Your Feelings

Talking to a trusted adult can help you to heal after a friend hurts you.
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You thought she was your BFF, but when she hurt your feelings you began to wonder if she's really your friend at all. Feeling confused when a friend acts more like a foe is natural, especially when her actions leave behind a painful sting. Instead of immediately trashing the relationship, though, you can take some time to think about how your reaction will change the friendship.

1 Naming the Pain

When a friend hurts your feelings, identifying the type of pain that you're feeling and why is a first step to dealing with the problem. Hurt feelings include feeling rejection or disapproval, as if you are invisible, not cared about, foolish or embarrassed, humiliated, insulted or taken advantage of, according to psychologist Leon F. Seltzer's "Psychology Today" article, "Why We Hide Emotional Pain." Review the argument or offense that caused the problem and pinpoint the specific emotions you are going through.

2 Letting It Out

Instead of outright telling your friend about the hurt that you feel, you might push your emotions down deep, muster a smile and act like everything is just fine. While you may fear letting out your pain, bottling it up won't help you or your friend. Let your friend know the specific way that he hurt you. For example, tell him, "When you told everyone that I bombed the math quiz it embarrassed me and made me feel stupid." When you communicate your hurt feelings clearly, you can help him make a change or not repeat the mistake that he made.

3 Keeping Calm

Letting go of your feelings doesn't necessarily mean ranting and raving or falling to your knees, sobbing until you can't speak. Even though you probably feel like yelling at your friend, have a conversation instead of an emotion-fueled confrontation. Conversations aim to repair a relationship, notes psychologist Nadia Persun in her article "How To Have Conversations, Not Confrontations" on the PsychCentral website. Some tears may fall because your feelings were hurt, but you need to focus on communicating your pain to your friend and not on making accusations or initiating an argument.

4 Accepting Apologies

When a friend hurts your feelings, it's completely normal to expect an apology. If your friend doesn't offer an apology, you may not want to continue on with the relationship. When you do receive an apology, you don't have to immediately forgive and forget, according to the article "Apologizing" on the TeensHealth website. Depending on how seriously your friend bruised your feelings, you may need some time to get over it. For example, if your friend made a joke one time at your expense, you may get over it in a few days, but if your she has repeatedly gossiped or started rumors about you, it might take weeks or longer to completely forgive her for hurting you.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.