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Fights with friends

Sometimes friendships can have problems and it can be hard to know what to do. 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

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 large ones and you may have to work hard to sort things out.

Reasons friends fight

Friends can fight for many different reasons. These include:

Feeling excluded

Misunderstanding

Changes in priorities

Different interests

Personality clash

Broken trust

Bullying

Feeling disconnected

Jealousy

Different opinions

Betrayal

Manipulation

Different values

Peer pressure

Competitiveness 

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
Listen
Your friend may just want to be heard and to feel important
Notice feelings
You don’t have to act on them, just acknowledge them
Be respectful
Don’t call them names or use threats or violence
Don’t respond
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
Avoid gossiping or asking friends to take sides

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 – Talk in a calm, quiet voice. Take a break if things get heated
  • Be present – Make eye contact, avoid interrupting and distractions 
  • Talk about your feelings – Use “I” statements  and be specific
  • Be open – Let your friend share their feelings and thoughts
  • Apologise – Say you’re sorry for your role or actions during the fight
  • 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!

When things don’t work out

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

End the friendship

Spend some time apart

Only hang out in a group

Still be friends but not as close

If you or your friend decide that the friendship isn’t working

Losing a friend is tough. Whatever happened, here are some ways to cope:

It’s ok to be sad
Take care of yourself
Spend time with other friends
Keep yourself busy
Meet new people
Talk to someone about how you feel
Try something new
Be polite and respectful

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 13/07/2018

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