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Fights with friends

Although it’s hard to fight with your friends, it’s totally normal and even common to disagree with those closest to you. We’ve got some tips to help you out.

Two friends smiling with a sad friend in the background

Being friends doesn’t mean that you’ll never fight.

84% of you told us that you have fought with your besties or had trouble getting along at times! It’s common for friends to fight or have trouble getting along.  

Sometimes fights are easy to move on from and they can make your friendship stronger and closer. 

Sometimes small fights can turn into big fights and you may have to work harder to sort things out. 

Reasons friends fight

Friends can fight for many different reasons. These include:

Feeling excluded


Changes in priorities

Different interests

Personality clash

Broken trust


Feeling disconnected


Different opinions



Different values

Peer pressure


Changes in friendship group

Fighting with a friend?

The way you act during a fight can have an impact on your friendship

Here are some tips to help you get through a fight with a friend:

Stay calm
Pause, take a few deep breaths. Don’t rush into responding until you understand the issue.
Be respectful
Don’t call them names or use threats or violence.
Notice feelings
You don’t have to act on them, just acknowledge them.
Your friend may just want to be heard and to feel important. Listen to understand, not just to respond.
Don’t react
Avoid the urge to get ‘even’ or say things you might regret.
Take time out
If things get heated, walk away until things calm down.
Keep it private
Avoid posting on social media or telling everyone about it.
Don’t pull others in
Try to keep it to yourself while you figure things out.

"Fights don’t have to have a negative ending! Dealing with or overcoming a fight together can make your friendship stronger."

- Sky, Kids Helpline counsellor

After a fight with a friend

Allow some time to calm down and relax. When you’re ready, reflect on how you feel and what happened. It might help to ask yourself these questions:

Could you be overreacting?

Is it worth losing a friend over?

What made you upset, hurt or angry?

Who can you talk to outside the situation?

What do you want your friend to do or not do?

What do you need to be able to overcome this?

What’s bothering you the most about this fight?

What role might you have played in this fight?

How would you like things to be with your friend?

What might be going on for your friend to make them act differently?

Working things out

To move past this fight, it’s important that you and your friend talk things through. Here’s what you can do:

  • Reach out – Let your friend know that you want to talk and work things out.
  • Make a time to talk – When you’re both ready and calm, set a time to talk.
  • Keep calm – Speak in a calm, even voice. Take a break if things get heated!
  • Be present – Make eye contact, avoid interrupting and distractions (so important).
  • Talk about your feelings – Use “I” statements and be specific e.g. “I feel disrespected when you speak over the top of me. This happened yesterday during lunch. I feel this happens a lot. Can we chat about this more?”
  • Be open – Let your friend share their feelings and thoughts. It’s a two-way street!
  • Apologise – Say you’re sorry for your role or actions during the fight, e.g. “I’m sorry that I upset you by not including you in the group chat. It was an honest mistake, but I understand how that would have been hurtful.”
  • Agree to disagree – When you want to move past this but find it hard to agree.
  • Fix things together – Figure out how to stop this from happening again.
  • Be patient – It may take time for things to go back to normal.
  • Celebrate – If you’re able to work things out, celebrate by having fun!

Sometimes things don’t work out (and that’s actually ok!)  

Take some time to think about your friendship. You might decide to:

Spend time apart.

Give yourself some time to reflect on what you are getting out of the friendship, and pay attention to how that friend makes you feel e.g. do you feel good hanging out with them or do you dread it every time your phone goes off and it’s a text from them?

Only hang out in a group.

This can be a way to meet in the middle – you’re not completely cutting the friendship, but you are still able to be in each other's company within a wider group to dilute the amount of one-on-one time.

Still be friends but not as close.

You can still take the time to celebrate with each other (think birthdays, first car, graduation etc) but not sharing your deepest thoughts like you may have done in the past.

End the friendship.

You need to do what’s best for you and sometimes walking away from a friendship is the best thing.

when the friendship no longer works

A friendship breakdown can be really tough and can feel like a huge loss. Whatever happened, here are some ways to cope: 

  • It’s ok to be sad (it’s very normal!)
  • Take care of yourself. Do things that help you de-stress. Spend time with other friends who make you feel good about yourself. 
  • Keep yourself busy. This could be a good time to try a new hobby you haven’t got around to yet, which could also help you to… 
  • Meet new people! What a great time to explore some new connections! 
  • Talk to someone about how you feel whether it be a friend, family member or a counsellor. Whatever feels right for you and gives you what you need.
  • Be polite and respectful towards the friend you are ending things with. Parting on good terms can help heal your emotional wounds and let you feel good about how you left things.

6 Signs your friendship is healthy

1. There is no ‘main character’ in the friendship taking up the stage!

Instead, both of you have equal space to express yourself, share life experiences and support each other in a way that feels equally beneficial.

2. You look forward to seeing your friend

Spending time with them is fun and enjoyable.

3. You feel good about yourself!

It sounds old school, but hanging out with people that bring out the best in you says a lot about the vibe of the friendship. Positive vibes = positive friendship.

4. You can go to your friend for help

on literally anything and know they will have your back, without judging you or making you feel bad about yourself.

5. There are way more happy memories than negative ones!

When you think back on your time together as friends, it’s of course totally fine and normal to have had some rough patches along the way, but as long as the highlight reel stands out more, chances are you’ve got yourself a good one (friend that is).

6. You can be your complete, full, awesome self!

A good friend accepts you just the way you are, every day of the week, 365 days of the year. Simple, but so powerful!

Are you friends, enemies or frenemies? How to tell if your friendship is ‘toxic’

A toxic friendship is one where you start to feel really bad about yourself most of the time. Not sure if you’re in a toxic friendship? Here’s some key signs that can help:

  • You give more than you get out of the friendship   
  • You are starting to/have lost trust that your friend has your back   
  • You feel anxious when you see a message pop up from them   
  • Spending time with them is no longer fun   
  • You feel bad about yourself when you are with them
  • You know they are talking badly about you behind your back

When friendships don’t go smoothly it can be a really stressful time

Sometimes we need help to deal with fights with friends

If you need to talk about what’s going on, Kids Helpline is here for you 24/7.

Give us a call, start a WebChat or email us today.

This content was last reviewed 31/08/2023

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