Monday, August 1, 2011

Broken Friendships

Can they be mended? Some reflections.
A good friend is an emotional safe haven, providing support, guidance and laughter. When someone like that is suddenly gone from your life, it can be heart-wrenching. But how do you go about rebuilding a friendship that has splintered? When do you reach out? What do you say, and what if your former friend doesn't want to hear it? Texting "I'm sorry" probably won't cut it.

It bears saying that it's best not to let conflict become a crisis in the first place. "A relationship is an active process, and a repair should be an ongoing process, as well," says Frederic Luskin, a psychologist, director of the Forgiveness Project at Stanford University, which researches how forgiveness is good for mental and physical health, and author of "Forgive for Good." "You need to pay attention and not just be wrapped up in what you need to say," he says. If you have an argument, address the situation right away. Acknowledge your friend's feelings. Ask him to tell you how he feels. Apologize.

If you do end up estranged from your friend, find a way to make peace—even if you feel you weren't at fault or the forgiving isn't mutual. Forgiveness—asking for it and granting it—is good for your health. Research shows it lowers your blood pressure, decreases depression and has a positive effect on the nervous system, says Dr. Luskin. (Read entire article.)

1 comment:

Julygirl said...

I have a friend whose father was never offended by anything said by a friend or close family member. When she asked him how he managed that, his answer was that there were some people he knew he was always going to have as part of his life, so there was no reason to get mad, make up, get mad, make up, etc. He simply ignored anything offensive they said and left it at that.