Sunday, April 26, 2009

Managing Arguments

Friendship isn't always easily described. The Eskimos are said to have a hundred different words for snow. Unfortunately, the English language isn't quite as innovative, though it has vast opportunities to differentiate meaning. Certainly, Love is one of those opportunities. And so, too, is Friendship.

Instead of different words, however, we're stuck with simple adjectives. Close friend. Best friend. Childhood friend. Intimate friend. Trusted friend. Beloved friend. But whether you use adjectives or different words, few could deny the nearly infinite meaning in such a simple word.

Friends are special people. We can't pick our family, and we're sorely limited in the number of them at any rate. Society and mores (and often our own conscience) dictate we select a single mate. But our friends can be as diverse and infinite as the adjectives we choose. Our friends, in a very real sense, reflect the choices we make in life.

Sharing ideas and opinions with each other is part of having a friendship. Holding different ideas is normal and these differences may lead to arguments. You may feel hurt, disappointed, angry, sad or lonely when you disagree with a friend. These feelings may make it difficult to manage the argument.

Working through a disagreement may make the friendship stronger. Some suggestions for helping to resolve an argument and disagreement with friends may include:

Wanting to Stay Friends - Wanting to understand and accept the differences gives you a place to start. Doing this still allows you both to have to different opinions, however through understanding each other you may be able to agree to disagree.

Speak to Your Friend
- Letting your friend know how you feel may be helpful. Keeping stuff to yourself may make you more angry. It is a good idea to speak to them when you both feel calm. It may help to write down your thoughts before talking, this may help you to be clear about what you want to say. Talking to someone else you trust can also help you to work out how you are going to approach your friend. People you could talk to may include another friend, a family member or youth worker. If you decide to talk to someone, try focusing on how you feel rather than what the friend has done or said.

Listen to your Friend - Allowing your friend to tell their side of the story and really listening to them may be helpful in managing the argument. It may be tempting to interrupt, but instead, try and wait until they have finished.

Try to Avoid Blame - When you are hurt and angry it can be normal to want to blame someone. Laying blame may make a situation harder. To avoid laying blame it may be helpful to stay focused on how you feel.

Ending a Friendship - Over time your interests may change, which can mean you have less in common with your friend and ending the friendship may be the best thing for you. When a friendship ends it may involve several people and it may be difficult to stay part of a group. This may be lonely and it can take time to move on. Talking to someone you trust like another friend, family member, youth worker or counsellor may be helpful.

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