5 ways to mend a broken friendship

August 26, 2009 at 1:05 pm in Family & Relationships by Irene Levine

Sometimes a friendship with a once-best-friend is hanging on by a thread. Your communication has become less frequent and you can’t remember the last time you saw each other. Even though the relationship feels tattered, you realize it’s far too precious to lose because of all the memories you share of good times together.

If you are in such a situation, here are some tips to get the friendship back on track:

  1. Open the door.

    If you haven’t spoken for some time and you don’t know why, summon up the courage to begin a dialogue. Don’t make assumptions about what you think your friend is thinking because they may be totally erroneous. Start with a letter, phone call or email (depending on how you are accustomed to relating to each other) and suggest that you speak or get together.

  2. Be the first to offer the olive branch.

    A friend may have been insensitive to your feelings, forgotten your special birthday, failed to be there when you needed her, or put you at a distance without any explanation. On the other hand, you may have been the one that did something to cerate the schism between you. Whatever the case, don’t be too stubborn to the first to apologize or forgive. Admitting your own blame may open the door for her to assume her share of responsibility for the misunderstanding.

  3. Forgive and forget.

    If the friendship is meaningful and the fracture was relatively minor, make a conscious decision to get over it. There are bumps in every relationship. When small hurts occur, you need to talk about them, forgive and move on.

  4. Be flexible.

    Friendships fall into predictable patterns over time, whether or not those patterns still remain viable. For example one friend is always the talker while the other is the listener. One friend always initiates dates while the other responds. When you feel like you’re stuck in an uncomfortable rut, try to get in touch with your feelings and shake things up a bit. You may need to learn to say no, set more reasonable boundaries or just do things differently.

  5. Give it time.

    While technology (social media, email and cell phones) have changed our lives and offered new tools to befriend and sustain friendships, there really is no substitute for face time when it comes to friendships. Yes, everyone is busy multitasking and stretched to the limit. But if the friendship is important to you, you need to find a way to fit it into your schedule. If you feel like the friendship is going under, don’t wait too long to remedy it; fresh wounds heal more easily than old scars.