10 Tips On How To Solve Conflicts With Friends and Family

Lots of people get into arguments with friends, family, or even teachers. There can be yelling, crying, and even physical fighting.

Arguments are not fun, to put it simply. They are frustrating, time-consuming, and leave you with a bad feeling.

Let’s make things clear first. An argument is not necessarily a bad thing. You need to have them. If you didn’t your feelings would all be bubbled up inside, and anyone could get away with doing anything to you. However, there are two kinds of arguments, one that is bad, and one that is good:

A HEALTHY ARGUMENT: You and the other person are talking calmly, and your common goal is to understand each other’s point of view and collectively solve your problem. One person will say sorry at the end, and the other will say “that’s OK.”

AN UNHEALTHY ARGUMENT: There is yelling, screaming, and even physical violence. Both of you want to “win” the argument, rather than working together to solve the problem. You don’t really care that the problem gets solved, all you want is for the other person to say that you “were right the whole time.” There might be apologies at the end, or there might not. This is the type of argument that you don’t want to have.

Before we start with the tips, ask yourself if you have ever been upset about something that someone has done and then did not talk to them about, just to avoid an unhealthy argument with that person. This is not a good thing to do. If you do this, then that person will continue doing what upsets you. There are ways to resolve problems without causing an unhealthy argument.

Here are some tips to solve major problems with friendship, school, and family without getting into an unhealthy argument. These could save friendships:

  1. Most unhealthy arguments start with an accusation, like this: “you told your other friends that you didn’t like me!” Obviously, you are upset that your friend told their other friends that they did not like you. You need to address this. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore it. This sends a message to your friend that he/she can continue to do this, and get away with it. Here is a way that you can start a conversation about this issue without it eventually turning into an unhealthy argument:
    YOU: I am upset.
    FRIEND: Why?
    YOU: I am upset because you told your other friends that you didn’t like me.
  2. Someone has made you upset. You need to talk to them about it. During your conversation, here are a few things you should NOT do:
    DON’T yell, kick, scream, and cry.
    DON’T get upset at them, and then refuse to tell them why you’re upset because, “If you were a good enough friend, you should know.” But, if they don’t know what is upsetting you, they can’t make it better.
    DON’T mention things that they have done in the past that anger you. You are talking about the present, and you are working on resolving one issue at a time. It’s really not fair to mention things that they did before. Just don’t do it.
    DON’T tell other friends about your disagreement and get them to gang up on your friend who made a mistake.
    DON’T ever say anything that starts with “you always”, or “you never”. (For example, “You never ask me if I can sit with you at lunch!) Usually, those statements are not true and are not fair to say either.
    DON’T tell your other friends at all. This argument is private, just you and that friend. This is not an opportunity to spread gossip about him/her.
    DON’T lie just to make yourself look better. You might find out that you did something to anger them as well. Don’t disagree with them if you remember doing something that might have made your friend mad as well.
  3. Explain the issue to them using the five W’s (and one very important H!)
    WHAT: Tell them what it is that they did that makes you upset. (I am upset because you told your other friends that you did not like me.”)
    WHEN/WHERE: Don’t leave them confused. Tell your friend exactly when and where this happened. (“You were walking home from school with four other kids. I heard you tell all of them that you didn’t like me.”)
    WHO: Remind them who was involved in this situation. (“You told BOB, JOE, MARY and STACEY that YOU did not like ME.”)
    BONUS TIP: If you are in this scenario, you might need to talk to Bob, Joe, Mary and Stacey about this as well.
    WHY: Ask your friend why they did this. (Why did you tell your other friends that you did not like me? Did I do anything wrong?)
    BONUS TIP: If you find out that you did something wrong, you are going to have to 1. Admit it, 2. Talk about it with them and 3. Make it better for them.
    HOW: Tell them how they can make it better in the future. (“Next time, please don’t tell the other kids that you don’t like me. It made me upset. I would like to walk home with you and Bob, Joe, Mary and Stacey tomorrow, please.”)
  4. Give yourself a cool-down before you talk to your friend about what made you angry. Don’t just march up to them and start yelling, it’s hard to be sensible then. Wait at least five minutes to think it over and take deep breaths. That way when you start talking to them you can talk calmly, which helps make sure that there is no yelling involved.
    BONUS TIP: If an unhealthy argument has already started, take a deep breath and start talking calmly. It will reduce the tension and the other person will subconsciously stop yelling when they notice how calm you are.
  5. Agree with them on things that you agree on. If they say something that you know is true, tell them that. Don’t disagree with them on things that you normally would agree on just because you are angry. Agree with them when you agree. Calmly tell them, “I disagree” if they say something unfair, unkind or false.
  6. Only use “I” statements. Don’t just keep reminding them about what they have done, instead, tell them how you feel. They already know what they have done, but they don’t know how you feel.
  7. Arguments don’t usually end with one winner and one loser. If the person who you are fighting with won’t stop saying that they are right, and you know that they did something wrong, they shouldn’t get away with doing something wrong. Get an adult involved. However, sometimes you might find out that you actually have done something wrong, and you might have to admit it and move on. Be OK with losing. It’s a part of life. And, you will find out that being a big person and admitting when you are wrong feels good. Trust us, rightfully losing feels better than wrongfully winning.
  8. Remember the other person’s perspective. Keeping their point of view in mind will stop you from saying hurtful and rude comments.
  9. At the end of an argument, accept all apologies, then do one of the things below:

    INVITE: For example, “Would you like to come over to my house?”
    JOKE:  You might make a joke about the argument you just had.
    COMPLIMENT: For example, “I like your shirt!”
    This lets your friend know that you forgive them and you are over the argument.

  10. Some arguments can get really bad, and result in physical violence. If your argument starts to get insane, you need to get an adult involved. Right away.

 

Let’s take a look at how your argument should look now:

YOU: I am upset.

FRIEND: Why?

YOU: I am upset because you told your other friends that you do not like me. You were walking home from school with four other kids. I heard you tell all of them that you didn’t like me. You told Bob, Joe, Mary and Stacey that you did not like me. Why did you tell our other friends that you did not like me? Did I do anything wrong?

FRIEND: You did not do anything wrong. I was just jealous that you get to go on vacation during spring break and I have to stay home.

YOU: I’m sorry that you were jealous, but next time, please don’t tell the other kids that you don’t like me. It made me upset. I would like to walk home with you and Bob, Joe, Mary and Stacey tomorrow, please.

FRIEND: Sure! That sounds great! I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.

YOU: It’s OK. Would you like to come over to my house?

FRIEND: Yes, please!

OK, OK. This does sound a bit cheesy and unrealistic. It won’t go exactly like this, and you might have to talk to your friend longer. They might not immediately agree with you. But, as cheesy and unrealistic as it may sound, it works! Trust us, this method has solved conflict before. Give it a try!

Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know using our contact page!

 

 

Hey! One last thing. When you are having an argument, always remember this quote:

“Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.” —Andrea Wachter