Friendships aren't always smooth-sailing. Especially if you've been friends for awhile, there are going to be little bumps in the road.
The measure of a true friendship is if you can handle those tiffs and still be just as close (if not closer) afterwards.
Woman's Day has put together tips for handling the most common friendship confrontations:
- You forgot her birthday: The moment you realize the date got away from you, “offer an apology, but not an excuse,” says Irene Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, and author of Best Friends Forever. An “oops” birthday card or gift and an offer to buy her a drink or lunch are good moves. Remember, too, that how much your friend is hurt by your forgetfulness depends on her birthday-importance meter. If she’s super-sensitive (what Dr. Levine calls a “birthday princess”), you may have to work harder to get back in her good graces.
- You don't like her husband: Leave her hubby out of the friendship as much as you can; it’s not fair to force her to divide her loyalties, especially if she knows he’s not your favorite person. “Remind her how important her friendship is to you, and restrict your time together to girls only,” says Dr. Levine. Employ a little diplomacy (or a harmless white lie): no reason you have to detail to her what you don’t like about her man.
- You are (or want to be) dating her ex: “I’m sure there are friends who have navigated this successfully without causing hurt feelings, but my general advice would be, if you want to keep the friend, avoid the ex,” says Elaine Zelley, PhD, associate communications professor at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, who has studied female friendships. This is particularly true if it’s a recent breakup, but even long-ago exes can stir up a world of emotion. If you’re already involved, be prepared for a painful adjustment period—or even the long-term loss of your friend. But if you’re only in the contemplation stage, “talk to her about it, honestly,” says Dr. Zelley, which is the only way you can hope to emerge with your friendship intact.
Check out Woman's Day's website for four more ways to make things right with your BFF.
Have you ever gotten into a fight with a really good friend? What was your situation like? How did you handle it?
Can Differing Parenting Styles End a Friendship?
Are Friendships Affected During Pregnancy?
Losing a Good Friend Hurts