5 ways to mend a broken friendship

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.

Posted in family & relationships, live it! lists.

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4 Responses

  1. Five to Nine Five to Nine says

    Although this is not the focus of the article, I think it has to be said that sometimes a friendship is meant to stay broken.  Sometimes, as in any other relationship, you realize one day that the friendship was emotionally unhealthy or even emotionally abusive and you stayed in it because you didn’t know how to get out of it or didn’t think you really had a choice. Sometimes people are only meant to be in your life for a certain period of time and you have to recognize that the friendship may not have been a true friendship at all, or it may simply have run its course.

    5 like

  2. Generic Image Camila says

    Sometimes I wander if it is better to cut off some friends for good; those friends that take you for granted and, in certain ways, abuse of your generosity, asking very frequently to solve their financial problems, yet not caring about learning ways to manage their finances.

    2 like

    • Irene Levine Irene Levine says

      That’s exactly what my new book, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend, is all about. The common acronym BFF is a romanticized myth—reinforced by novels, movies, and our mothers—that friendships are supposed to last forever. But what do you do when a friendship is toxic? Or when you are unceremoniously dumped by your once-best friend? Unfortunately, one of the ways our culture judges women is based on their ability to make and keep friends. So many of us are reluctant to air our dirty laundry in public. This causes great guilt, shame, and pain to so many women. It’s this conflict that’s at the heart of the book. <!–EndFragment–>

      3 like

  3. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I have an issue where im worried that things might be slowly falling apart between myself and a really good friend(of over 30 years). lately she’s been under a lot of pressure, mainly health wise and me, trying to be a good friend, have tried to help. lately I’ve backed off because I feel I may have been overbearing on that front. but I’ve also had a few issues of my own and lately (particularly this weekend) I feel I’ve been copping the cold shoulder from her, maybe not intentionally but still feel like its happening.  maybe in trying to be a good mate I have been overbearing, and also maybe offloading my problems onto her,but I don’t know. should I ask her whats going on, I don’t want this thing to be messed up, its been to good a thing.

    3 like

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