Fights happen. According to Dr. Diana Kirschner, “All couples belong to what I call the Fight Club because they all fight. Couples that don’t fight are the ones that therapists worry most about.” Though you may not consider yourself and your best friend to be a “couple,” you basically are. You spend a ton of time together, go through relationship ups and downs, and are on this journey called Life together. You love each other like no tomorrow, but can also fight like cats and dogs. Yet since we don’t typically learn conflict resolution skills in school, you may be at a loss when in the middle of an argument with your BFF.
Dr. Tammy Nelson — a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, and the author of The New Monogamy — tells HelloGiggles, “One of the best ways to negotiate any conflict with a friend is to use the proven techniques of couple’s therapy. The three steps of Imago Relationship Therapy work well with couples, with business, with your kids, and with your BFF.” This involves mirroring what they say to let them know you’re listening, validating their experience, and empathizing.
For additional help when you navigate these rough waters, here are some questions to ask your best friend when you’re in a fight.
1Do you need some time to cool off?
If they go off on their own, don’t assume that they’re ignoring you or avoiding the conflict at hand. Instead, ask them if they need space before you reconvene.
2How are you feeling right now?
Hear them out and remember that all feelings are valid. It’s important to see both sides of a situation.
3Are you ready to discuss how we can move forward?
Again, never assume. Just because you’re ready to hash things out with your BFF, that doesn’t mean that they are in the same place. Maybe they need another day or two to process things.
4How would you like to go about this?
In the heat of the moment, we often forget that different people have different communication styles. While you may be forthcoming and reactionary, your best friend might like to take some time to think before they speak. It’s important that you find a middle ground.
5Is there anything else going on that you want to talk about?
Tread carefully here. Don’t assume that your friend is dealing with baggage that led to your fight. But then again, maybe they are. Feel it out in the moment and ask this question at the right time (perhaps once you’re close to resolving your differences).
6What did I do to upset you?
7What can I do differently going forward?
Fights can get ugly. Oftentimes, when you’re feeling threatened, you’re not at your best. You might say or do things you wouldn’t normally, becoming the worst version of yourself. Acknowledge that. Work to be better next time.
8What do you need in order to reach forgiveness?
If we’re being honest, apologies aren’t always enough. Issues don’t always resolve themselves with a simple “sorry.” When it comes to forgiveness and understanding, hard work is required. So is knowing what the other person requires to find peace.
9Do you feel resolved?
Just because you feel as though the fight has passed, that doesn’t mean your best friend feels the same way. If you’re unsure, just ask! In fact, most fights could probably be prevented if people asked what’s on their mind in the first place.
10Do you want to split a pizza?
Once both of you feel resolved, you should give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. Fighting is rough, but now it’s time to let go as you work to continue building your friendship. The glue? A shared treat of some sort. You two deserve some BFF time, especially after getting through these questions to ask your best friend.