How to Reconcile a Friendship When You're Not at Fault
True friends are rare, notes Buddhist physician Alex Lickerman in an article for “Psychology Today.” Dr. Lickerman claims to have only four himself. Yet a study by UCLA claims that having strong social ties lowers the risk of disease and even death, especially for women. Regardless of your gender, if you are battling with a friend, it might be worth trying to make up, even if the fight was your friend’s fault. Before you try to reconcile, take a hard look at yourself, your friend and what went wrong. Clarifying the issues can help you decide whether, and how, to approach a reconciliation.
1 Make the First Move
Reach out to your friend in whatever way feels natural to you. Some people interact best when they are face to face, others prefer a phone call and still others are more comfortable with texting or email. Keep your initial message short, calm and friendly. Be willing to accept the fact that your friend might not be ready to talk things out yet.
2 Apologize for Your Actions
Even if the fight was entirely your friend’s fault, no one is perfect. In “Fixing a Broken Friendship,” pastor and relationship counselor Greg Baker stresses the importance of making an initial apology. Maybe you raised your voice or said something insulting. Think through the fight and find something specific that you can honestly apologize for. Do not take responsibility for things that were not your fault, and do not press your friend to apologize. Simply state what you feel you did wrong and ask for forgiveness. Being pushy will only make your friend feel defensive.
3 Stress the Importance
Make sure your friend knows how important she is to you. Sometimes when people are hurt or angry, they have trouble remembering the good times. A small, heartfelt reminder can sometimes break through a person’s protective wall. Depending on your ages and the type of friendship you have, you might consider a cute gift, such as a scrapbook of your time together. Whether or not you give a gift, tell your friend directly how much you like being friends. Avoid big, flashy gifts, which might be interpreted as trying to buy friendship.
4 Give It Time
Ultimately, your friend has the choice as to whether or not to stay friends with you. Rather than push for a decision, allow your friend some time to get over his feelings and come around. Following up occasionally is reasonable, but resist the urge to call or text incessantly. Trust yourself, your friend and the bond that you share. In the meantime, try making some new friends or spending more time with people you already know. If your friend comes back, you will find plenty of room in your heart for everyone. If not, knowing that you have other people in your life can help soften the blow of a permanently ended friendship.
5 Let It Go
If your friend was to blame for the fight, you might be the one holding onto anger, resentment, sadness or other negative feelings. Although they might be justified by your friend's actions, these feelings can poison a friendship. To truly reconcile, you must be willing to let go of them. Rebuilding trust can take time. Give your friendship every chance to succeed by making the conscious choice to focus on the positive.