Have you ever felt hurt by something your friend did and never brought it up, had a blow-up with a friend that got swept under the rug instead of fully processed, or slowly faded away from a friendship instead of talking things through? Many of us don’t have a ton of tools for working through a fight with a friend to create healthier, more sustainable relationships.
“In most friendships, there’s no agreement that working through challenges is part of the deal,” says Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist who uses nonviolent communication principles in her work. She points out the general expectation that romantic and family relationships will face challenges, but friendships are supposed to be easy. “When challenges arise in a friendship, we’re caught off guard and don’t have a model for how to navigate the conflict in a productive and connecting way.”