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If My Friends and I Have a Disagreement, What’s the Right Way to Handle It?

When you have a disagreement, you have a choice. You can either resolve the conflict or dissolve the relationship. Here are some guidelines for resolving the conflict and keeping the fight fair:

Desire openness. In a fair fight, the attitude of “I’m always right” is against the rules.

Choose the right timing. Arguments can break out at awkward times. To fight by the rules, wait until both of you can give the time and attention necessary to talk things out.

Select the right words. Think before you speak. To know the right words to say, you’ll first have to listen to your friend when she speaks. Determine if your words will help or hinder in working out the problem.

Guard your tone of voice. You can say the right words the wrong way. If you project sarcasm or criticism in your voice, your friend will pick it up.

Look at the other person’s point of view. While your friend talks, listen carefully to understand where they are coming from. In viewing the conflict, put yourself in their place. When you do this, think of how they feel instead of how you feel or why you think they were wrong.

Identify the problem. Discover the main issue that started the fight. It may be more than meets the eye. For example, they may have become upset because you said the wrong thing when actually they were already upset because the night before you spent time with another friend.

Determine the solution. Once you identify the problem, decide on a solution. Make the solution practical and realistic. Don’t give up until you have worked things out satisfactorily. Talk about how to keep this conflict from happening again (adapted from Friends: Making the Best of Them, pp. 45-48).

 

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 119