Conflict. It’s a fact of life. When you develop a deep relationship with someone, conflict is unavoidable.
Many superficial friendships end up being shelved after an argument because there isn’t enough depth to warrant all the trouble it takes to smooth over the disagreement. Unfortunately, even when the friendship reaches a deeper level, conflict continues to happen and can break apart a relationship.
We've compiled eight of our best pieces of advice and some verses from Scripture to inspire you to face those unavoidable conflicts with confidence!
1. Don't exacerbate the situation by encouraging gossip.
The interference of people who aren’t involved will only serve to make the situation uglier.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15).
2. Resolve it the day it happens.
If you need time to cool down, take it! But whatever you do, don’t let things ride for too long.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger...” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
3. Try to see the other person’s perspective.
Everyone has been created differently with various talents, abilities and personality traits, and it will take empathy and an open mind to see things the way they see them. It might be difficult but it’s necessary - and worth it.
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13).
4. Initiate resolution.
Be the first person in a fight to say sorry for your part. Even if you think the other person is wrong, it’s important to acknowledge the ways you might have hurt them. If you’re honest, genuine, and gentle in delivering your words, there’s a good chance your friend will reciprocate positively.
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
5. Watch your words and your tone.
Use feeling words instead of making accusations. For example, “When you do this, I feel this way,” instead of “You always do this!”
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).
6. Focus on the bigger picture.
Successfully facing and working through the discomfort of conflict in a friendship has a worthwhile reward: a deeper relationship.
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
7. Be sensitive.
Try to offer solutions when appropriate, but know when to listen. Don’t underestimate the importance of a listening ear.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
8. Most importantly, be loving in what you do.
Don’t go out to “get” the other person, but try to focus on peacefully resolving the disagreement.
>“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Resolving conflict in a friendship is difficult, but the reward of a deeper understanding of each other and a stronger bond is always worth the temporary discomfort. You can do this, and you won't regret it. As the old saying goes, 'what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger' and when it comes to a friendship, it's twice as true. If you can make it through one fight without falling apart, you'll both be even stronger when the next storm comes!
If there's something you've been putting off dealing with, take some time to pray about it and then confront your friend in love. Keep our tips in mind and trust the Holy Spirit to give you the guidance and strength you need, and you will be A-OK.