No matter how close and intimate a relationship can be, there is always a chance for conflict to arise. Indeed the strongest friendships are the ones that have been thoroughly tested in the fires of personal conflict. This article discusses how to wade through conflict in order to forge closer, more intimate friendships in life.
In the land of the living breathing human being, conflict is almost as prevalent as the air that they breathe and the water they thirst for. Conflict is a common aspect of life and the best, long lasting friendships are the ones that learn how to use conflict to their own advantage. This does not mean the two friends go out of their way to start a fight, but it does mean that they understand that sometimes things in an intimate relationship will not go as planned and they are willing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
Most people see conflict as an inconvenience at best and in extreme cases a deal breaker in the relationship. Those who are mature and truly care about the other person in the relationship see hard times as a chance to get to know the other person better. They see their struggles as an opportunity to grow as a person and become more intimate with their long time acquaintance. But what should a person do when hard times do arise in the close friendship?
First, take a deep breath and take some time to think through the whole situation. Think through all the great times you had with that other person and list all the things they have done for which you can be grateful.
Second, when your emotions have sufficiently settled, go to the person and ask to hear their side of the story again. Determine only to sit and listen; only speak if the other person asks for your opinion or feedback.
Third, even if you cannot agree, agree to disagree and decide to forgive whatever the offense may have been regardless of the magnitude of the misdeed.
Next, if the other person needs some space give it to them, at least for a time. Most intimate friendships don’t end in a day or a week. As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Let your friend have some time to think through the situation, too.
Finally, regardless of the other person’s reaction to the conflict, be patient and steadfast to treat them well even if they do not reciprocate.
Conflict is a normal part of life. Maintaining friendship in the midst of an emotional storm can be difficult, but the best friendships are forged in the fires of conflict. Close relationships and intimate friendships use conflict to make the relationship stronger.