So, you've just had a falling out with a friend and don't know where to turn or how to move on. As difficult and painful as realizing a friendship may have run its course can be, it's a completely natural part of life. The fact of the matter is, like all relationships, some are meant to last, while others are shorter affairs. Either way, all friendships serve a purpose and allow you to learn more about yourself and grow as a person.
While arguing can be a healthy part of a friendship, when the spats turn into more serious fights, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship, especially if your friend is also your roommate. Making the decision to move out after a fight with a friend is a major decision, but sometimes it's the right call for both of you. Who knows, maybe you'll be better friends if you don't share a living space.
If you're not sure what exactly to do next, we've compiled a few helpful tips for evaluating your feelings and taking next steps after a falling out with a friend. Here's how to start moving on.
The first thing you might want to do after a major blowout with a friend is to simply get some space. You may need a day or two to calm down and look at the situation from a more objective point of view. Just be careful of letting feelings go too long without being addressed, as this could make a simple argument more complicated than it needs to be.
The cooling off period depends on your unique situation. If you and your friend can put feelings aside easily, you can have an open and honest discussion about whatever your issues may be. However, if your blowout was filled with anger, you'll likely need to take some time to get a new perspective so you can talk about things calmly and with the right frame of mind.
Get Some Perspective
If you haven't spoken in a few days, it's definitely time to talk. Even if you'd rather your friend reach out to you, you may have to take the high road and see if your friend is ready to talk things out. "Let your friend know that you would like to have a discussion about the relationship," says licensed counselor Suzanne Degges-White. "No one likes having this kind of conversation “sprung on them,” so give your friend some advance notice."
There's a chance that your friend may not be ready to talk, and if that's the case, you can try saying something like, "I want to make sure I understand where you are coming from," or "Your friendship is important to me," or even, "I want to hear you out."
If you're still angry, it may take some effort to tell your friend that you will listen to what they have to say, but this is important for moving on after a falling out. The key is to listen and keep an open mind. Focus on hearing everything that your friend is saying, both verbally and non-verbally. See if you can view things from your friend's perspective before making any judgments. Hopefully, your friend will do the same and try to understand where you're coming from.
Write out Your Feelings
Sometimes it's easier to write your friend an email or letter after an argument instead of calling or talking in person. This can help you work through your feelings (whether you send the message or not). However, you'll still want to talk things out in person eventually in order to fully move on or repair the relationship.
If you're thinking of writing a note that you'll actually send, you might start it by expressing your desire to work things out. The goal of the first email or letter sent after a falling out is simply to bridge the gap, not continue your argument through another form of communication. Perhaps you can use a bit of humor to lighten the mood and maybe you poke fun at yourself or the situation. Just be sure to wrap things up by making a concrete suggestion to meet up. That means writing something like, "How about we talk it out after work on Friday?" rather than "Let's discuss this sometime."
Talk It Out
After you've had a chance to completely listen to what your friend has to say, then you can bring up your own points and feelings. However, after hearing your friend out, you may not need to make all of the points you had in mind. Sometimes just seeing things from a different perspective sheds new light on a situation.
If you do feel the need to share your side of the story, try doing so in a manner that isn't accusatory. Talk about how you feel rather than what your friend did. For example, try saying something like, "I felt as if you didn't care about me when you couldn't attend my party" rather than, "Why didn't you come to my party?"
If it is clear that your friend doesn't want to resolve things, your friendship may have run its course, whether that means focusing on other relationships or even moving out of your living situation. As disappointing as this may be, sometimes it's necessary to move on from a friendship that no longer serves you. It simply makes room for more wonderful people to come into your life.