When you were a kid, it hurt like hell, but it might feel even worse as an adult: When you’re in a huge fight with your BFF, it can honestly feel as if the world is collapsing in on itself. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true: A huge fight with your bestie feels downright terrible, and most people agree that breaking up with your best friend is way worse than breaking up with a romantic partner.
So how do you deal after you’ve had a huge fight with your best friend, no matter how bad things may seem right now?
Here’s our advice for how to handle a major fight with your bestie.
1Take the initiative to talk things out.
It may be easier to completely ghost your pal, especially if you’re really angry or hurt by your blowout. You might feel embarrassed by something you said or did. Either way, you should absolutely make a solid attempt to work things out, because the longer you go without speaking, the more awkward things will get.
Yes, even if you feel you were the one who was more wronged, it’s important to remember that this is your best friend, and there’s a good chance she’s feeling hurt by something you said or did, too. No matter how mature we think we are, very few of us fight fairly all the time.
3Try to see things from their perspective.
This one is tough, because it’s always a challenge to see things from someone else’s point of view, but sometimes huge fights stem from one small misunderstanding. Figuring out what’s really going on — and how exactly your friend was hurt — will help you understand what happened, while hopefully allowing you to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future.
4Remind them how much they mean to you.
Putting yourself out there and opening up to someone (even your best friend!) is scary as hell, so it may be easier for you to write your feelings out in a note or letter. There are likely multiple reasons why you consider her your best friend, and sometimes when we fight with loved ones, we can lose sight of why we love them so much in the first place. Telling her why she’s your best friend in the first place can remind her that your friendship is worth working on.
5Give them space.
After you’ve made a solid effort to work through things, you’ve got to let her cool off. It might totally suck not to get your daily BFF texts or not making plans for your Friday night happy hour date, but you’ve got to give her time and space to sort her feelings out and begin the healing process.
6Listen to your needs now.
Remember that a fight with your best friend has taken an emotional toll on you also. So now is the time to be your own best friend. Take as much time as you need to heal and work through your feelings, and practice self-care in the ways that work for you. Maybe that involves talking it out with a therapist, or meditating, or sweating it out via a grueling gym sesh. If you’re just in the mood to watch sad movies and cry it out — do it. You deserve to heal too.
7Don’t let outside influences cloud your judgment.
It might be tempting to vent about your bestie to your other friends, significant other, or even your parents, but resist the urge to trash talk her. It might feel good in the moment, but it can definitely make things uncomfortable should you eventually make up and become BFFs again. Or worse — if she hears that you trashed her to someone else — that will only hurt her even more.
8Weigh all your options.
As long as you let enough time pass to let yourself clearly assess the situation, you should figure out what the next steps are with your best friend, for better or worse. Unfortunately, this might mean ending the friendship for good, or it might mean setting certain boundaries to prevent the same fight from happening again.
9Decide if the friendship is worth saving.
The stark reality is that people sometimes change, and friends drift apart. Just because you were best friends for years doesn’t mean they are a healthy, positive influence in your life, and unfortunately, it sometimes takes a big fight to understand this.
Felicia Pressley, PhD, a licensed professional counselor and assistant professor at Argosy University told Reader’s Digest: “Misunderstandings are inevitable in life. Evaluate the friendship and ask yourself, ‘Is this a toxic relationship? Is this ‘friend’ always putting me down?'” If this huge fight is just another in a series of squabbles, you might really be better off without her in your life.
10Agree to disagree.
If you can’t come to a resolution, and you decide to part ways as friends, learn a lesson from this and keep it in mind for other relationships in your life. Susan Kuczmarski, EdD, author of Becoming a Happy Family told Reader’s Digest how to do this, explaining you should “Take responsibility for your own failures and learn from them, express gratitude for the good and bad times — both are teachers and blessings — and show patience and forgiveness.”