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Make Sure You’re Ready
There is no one-size-fits-all response to making up with a friend. There are many different variables: Was there just one person at fault? Was it over something big, or small? What kind of damage was done? But in spite of all these changeable factors, Michelle says it’s important to ensure you’re not holding on to any resentment: “Be sure you have neutralised the ‘charge’; re-engaging with that person whilst feeling resentful or angry towards them is all too likely to result in a repeated row. Only make contact once you’ve established that you feel calm when you think about the argument.”
Know How To Reach Out
“This is where technology and a keyboard can pay dividends,” says Michelle. While a call out of the blue might be an unwelcome shock to your former friend, leaving them no time to percolate over what your message says or their own feelings about the situation, a message gives them a chance to come up with an appropriate response. “By dropping them a message – or, even better, a carefully chosen card – you’re giving them the time to compose themselves and work out how they would like to proceed,” she advises. “Check whether there’s an occasion which makes it easier to break the ice properly – maybe a mutual friend’s birthday, surrounding yourself with people you love, making it easier to reach out.”
Know The Reason You’re Making Contact
Before you make that first contact, be clear in your mind the exact reason you are attempting to revive that connection in the first place. “Take care to decide what’s important to you here,” says Michelle. “Is your highest value in this situation to lovingly re-connect with this person, to state your opinion and be right, or simply to feel heard? Once you’re clear about what you’d like to happen with your relationship it will help you know the best way to approach.
“Before progressing further, take time to understand what really happened and why you feel the way you do. The clearer you are on what’s important to you and what you choose to hold dear, the easier it is to communicate. Plus, recognising and acknowledging this will make you feel empowered and put you in the driving seat for what comes next.”
Be Prepared To Say Sorry
Obviously, there are plenty of different reasons why people clash and in different situations the blame might lie with a number of people – and perhaps one of them isn’t you. But if you are partly to blame, then be prepared to own up to that. “Apologise for your part in the dance,” Michelle advises. “Be honest about your role in the argument and how you feel. Be prepared and willing to hear their straight-talking truth, and both take responsibility for your own part in the fall out.”
She also suggests that, if you feel your friend is partly to blame, avoiding pointing the finger straight away: “There will be time to discuss that when you’ve re-established that connection. But first, let them know what you’ve missed about them. Apologise with an open heart, listen to what they have to say and move forward by making plans to do something fun together! Be gentle and kind – to them and yourself.”
Realise Your Relationship Probably Won’t Be The Same
After a huge argument, it can be hard for things to return to normal – sometimes they never do, and you must be prepared for that to be a possibility. Again, it comes down to making sure that this reconnection is definitely something you want to embark on. “Ask yourself, ‘Does this take me closer or further away from the person I want to be?’,” explains Michelle. “If your newly emerged friendship brings out the best in you, you’ll know it’s working just fine.”
Always Put Yourself First
Despite the situation that caused the argument in the first place, Michelle articulates that it’s important you remember that your own happiness comes first. “If someone has abused you – emotionally, physically or mentally – think very carefully about whether you would be able to uphold clear and strong boundaries of self-care around them, and whether they will be an asset to your life. Also, it’s worth checking what implications your renewed friendship will have on family and your social circle. But remember to always stay true to who you are now, not who you were back then.”
For more advice from Michelle, visit MichelleZelli.com