Every friendship has conflict. Either the conflict is hidden away and never dealt with or it is worked through and can strengthen the relationship.
In this new podcast episode, Bekah and I had a tense moment at work that left us both close to tears. How we handled it revealed some growth in both of us. Here are some of the steps we followed:
1. When there is tension or hurt feelings, bring it up quickly!
When a tense conversation or moment happens, we can be left hurt or wondering if we hurt the other person. It is easy to create false scenarios in our mind. I often imagine that a friend is mad at me because of how I read into their texts, body language, and responses. Friendships can spiral when hurt feelings are not discussed. As uncomfortable as it can be, have an honest conversation about how your feelings were hurt or apologize for your own tone and response.
In this episode, I knew Bekah and I had a tough moment but I was unsure how it left her feeling. My mind wandered to possible negative scenarios. Instead of following the possibilities to an unhealthy place, I decided to ask Bekah if we were ok. Being direct and kind can keep situations from escalating over time.
2. Own your part in the conflict.
We are flawed and will say things we shouldn’t at times. We can act out of our feelings. When someone’s feelings are hurt, it’s so important for us to try to listen and hear their heart without immediately getting defensive. It can be a surprise when someone comes to us with conflict we did not expect, but our response is crucial. You may even need to time to think about it before formulating your response and that is ok.
If you are trying to smooth out a conflict with a friend, come prepared with how you could have handled it better. Apologize for whatever part you may have played in how things went down. We are only responsible for ourselves so own your part in the disagreement.
3. Respond with honesty, understanding, and grace.
It feels so good to be right, but trying to be right can cost you a relationship. When a conversation about conflict comes up, let the focus be reconciliation instead of finding the absolute truth. Be honest about your own feelings even if that is hard. Try to respond slowly, carefully, and with understanding. Show your friend and yourself some grace. We are all created unique and it can be hard to understand someone else’s view, however if you love your friend you will do your best.
I am so thankful that Bekah and I were ok after our small conflict and that she responded with kindness and grace as we talked it out.