Tips for Avoiding Conflict with Friends
It is the nature of human beings to want to live in harmony with others, this is especially true of people we consider to be our friends. We meet strangers, we become acquaintances of people we see often and we have family that we are born into; but it is our friends that we personally hand-pick to share our lives with so it is no surprise that these are the people we want to avoid conflict with the most. There are a number of ways we can avoid the conflicts that may mark the end of a valuable friendship.
Friendship is a two-way street.
A good friendship will always have an equal amount of give and take on both sides. If your friend has sacrificed a lot in the way of time, money, or energy and you don't feel you could offer the same in return then you probably have an unhealthy relationship; this check also works in reverse if you happen to be the one on the giving side.
How can you make things better?
This doesn't necessarily mean that if they buy you expensive gifts then you must return the favor by buying them a gift of equal value. You may have a friend with money and be flat broke. In this situation, simply spend your energy and time in being there for them when they are down or brokenhearted or you can watch their children or offer a ride to work when their car is in the shop. These are very valuable friendship benefits and are a few of the reasons we develop friendships in the first place.
If you feel you have wronged your friend in some way there's no statute of limitations for making it up to them. A true friend will accept your apologies and let you have another chance to redeem your friendship. You should also make your feelings known if you feel you have been wronged.
Another great friendship benefit is the knowledge that you can share your innermost thoughts and feelings. They will listen and maybe even empathize with you. Your friends will not criticize you or lie to you; you should offer them the same courtesy. Even small lies can be quite a detriment to a good relationship with your friends; truth is always the best option even if it's something painful that they may not want to hear.
With that in mind, remember that a friend will not criticize. When you are giving an honest opinion make sure it is done out of caring and not in a hurtful or judgmental way. You don't want to throw away because your friend feels offended or accused. This is where the golden rule really applies; treat your friends the way that you want to be treated. If you give them your smile, they will return with a smile of their own and conversely if you show them wrath they will reciprocate in kind. This is true of any relationship. If you are unsure how they may react to something you might say or do, put yourself in their place and see how you might react. It's a simple thing you can do to save keep your friendship strong.
Choose your battles carefully and don't fly off the handle over the simplest things. It's those little annoying habits that make your friends unique individuals; you also have little habits that make you unique and may annoy your friends. A good friend will not start a conflict over a small annoyance; you can simply state your feelings on a subject and communicate effectively. A true friend will take things into consideration.
Maintaining a friendship without conflict is quite simple if you just apply the basic principles and know what the traits are that make good friends. Just keep the lines of communication open and honest and you can't go wrong.
Here's this beautiful Spongebob Squarepants song. Enjoy and never leave your friends out in the rain again :)
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