How to resolve these 6 common fights you’ll have with your best friend
Best friends are, well, the best. They’re the people we can call at 4 a.m. after the worst night ever, they lift our spirits after a rough breakup, they’re our travel buddies and partners in crime… and don’t even get me started on all the inside jokes that best friends share. Of course, the closest relationships in our lives are often the ones that are most prone to arguments — and a fight with your best friend feels absolutely devastating.
Although you and your best friend probably won’t have all the following arguments over the course of your friendship, HelloGiggles spoke with Dr. Danielle Forshee, psychologist and social worker, about the most common fights between friends — and how to resolve them so you can get back to cracking inside jokes, calling each other at all hours, and marathoning Netflix episodes with a tub of ice cream.
1When a friend is too focused on a romantic partner
In general, it’s wonderful to see a friend find love. But if we have major reservations about his or her partner, that certainly puts a damper on the happiness. And, let’s be honest — it’s hurtful when a friend goes AWOL and cancels plans in order to spend every waking hour with their partner.
“The least intrusive way to approach this very sensitive situation is to come from a place of inquiry and understanding,” Forshee said. “The way you go about this is to ask open ended questions to your friend about her thoughts and feelings and experiences in this relationship.”
As Forshee noted, open ended questions start with phrases like “why,” “what,” “describe,” “how,” and “tell me.”
2Jealousy in the friendship
We all want the best for our friends, but we’re human and jealousy is a normal emotion — especially if we’re going through a rough patch and our best friend’s life is in an extremely happy, healthy place.
“Jealousy is a feeling that we have that comes from certain experiences that we have had with our friend,” Forshee said. “These experiences translate into certain automatic thoughts that we have.”
She explained that the first step is to be aware of our “automatic thoughts,” which are what we say to ourselves. Then engage in some introspection about these thoughts in order to gain clarity about the real problem and the true reason you feel jealous.
“At [this] point you can troubleshoot how you will approach your friend from a non-judgmental, open, and forthcoming standpoint,” Forshee said.
3One of you needs alone time
No matter how much we love our best friends, sometimes we just need more alone time than usual — and this can especially be difficult if our best friend is more needy at that moment. Most of us have been on both sides of this dilemma, but it’s still easy to feel either hurt or smothered when we’re simply not on the same page as our best friend.
If you’re the one who needs some alone time, Forshee emphasized the importance of communicating this to your friend rather than repeatedly letting the phone go to voicemail.
“You need to let your friend know that you need some quiet time in the moment, but that you will get back to them within a reasonable time frame, such as a few hours, so they don’t feel that it is something they did,” Forshee said.
When the situation is reversed, tell your friend that you recognize and empathize with their need for alone time — but don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s important for you to come up with a plan for when you’ll connect.
“Let your friend know that you really do need them at some point during that day and ask when would be a good time to follow back up,” Forshee advised. “It’s important in these situations to know that your friend will be there for you and that you will have an outlet at some point.”
4You disagree with each other’s life choices
“[This] doesn’t have to be an argument,” Forshee said. “As friends, like in any relationship, it is essential that we understand we’re all different, come from different walks of life, and have different experiences that shape the way in which we see things.”
Once you’ve given your perspective, don’t go overboard in trying to convince your friend to agree with you. Forshee emphasized that it’s important for us to do our best to understand our friend’s perspective and then “allow them to make choices that they will learn and grow from… and they will know that we will be there for them if they fall, without saying ‘I told you so.'”
Due to the trusting relationship we’ve established with our best friends, they’ll be open to our influence — but that doesn’t mean your friend will automatically agree with you. Rather, it means you share a mutual understanding and respect of one another’s perspectives.
5When your friend complains about a situation but does nothing to change it
Part of being a good friend is listening to each other’s problems and giving the best advice we can. But it’s decidedly frustrating when a friend repeatedly complains about a job, relationship, or living situation and takes zero steps to improve the situation.
Forshee said the best thing to do in this scenario is actively listen, and then point out how long they’ve been complaining about the same issue.
“You might say something like ‘I’ve noticed that you’ve been talking about the same things that have been bothering you for a couple of months. It sounds like you’re really stuck. What are some things you’ve tried to do to resolve this problem? Let’s talk about that,'” she suggested.
Additionally, Forshee advised against giving your friend unsolicited solutions to their problems. Talking it through can be hugely helpful, but it’s important that the solution comes from your friend — not you.
6When your friend repeatedly “borrows” money
The issue of money in friendships can become a sticky, awkward situation remarkably quickly. When a friend frequently asks to borrow money and you never see it again, it’s natural to feel angry and as though your friend is taking advantage of your generosity. But Forshee pointed out that the first thing you need to do in this situation is “take the mirror and turn it around on yourself. You want to look at your own motivations for continuing to engage in a behavior that has not resulted in a favorable outcome.”
After assessing your own motivations, the next step is figuring out how to establish healthy boundaries. First and foremost, you’ll want to be helpful to your friend without being responsible for their financial problems.
“When someone is chronically not paying you back from something, it means that they are involved in their own pattern of self-defeat that you cannot fix by giving them money; it’s an emotional issue,” Forshee explained. “When you set boundaries with them, it means you notice this is a pattern of behavior that doesn’t seem to be getting resolved by you giving them money.”
Giving your friend more money is actually enabling their problem — so the best thing you can do for them is to stop providing financial support. “Instead, be present for them as a support system psychologically and emotionally,” Forshee said.
Arguing with our best friends is painful, but it’s important to remember that our bonds are stronger than the issues that cause tension between us. The occasional argument is a small price to pay in exchange for having an amazing friendship. And, luckily, these fights can be resolved.