Friends encourage and support each other in difficult times and generally make a positive impact on each other's lives. However, they're also willing to confront and constructively criticize and refuse to collude with what may lead to the eventual downfall of both the friend and the relationship. So let's take a look at how you can deal with conflict and with saying those things that your friend might not want to hear.
First of all, have a look at your motives for confronting the issue. Is your intention to communicate lovingly or is there part of you that wants to get your own back and hurt or put your friend down? If it's the latter then perhaps you need to take time to think, meditate and look at what the issue really is. In confronting whatever is going on between you, even if you're angry, you really need to be able to come from a position of openness and love if you're going to succeed in healing the wound and preserving the friendship.
Seeking the Best Possible Outcome
So, in practical terms, take some time to get yourself grounded. Close your eyes for a moment and focus on your breathing. Then allow your heart chakra to open and send love to your friend while asking for insight about the problem and also that there will be the best possible outcome for both of you. This will enable you to be calm and open: to think and act rather than reacting and speaking in haste.
Try to clarify in your own mind and heart what the problem really is. By now you may have thought so much that more thinking will not get you very far. So just give yourself a few moments to allow any insight to simply drop into your mind. You may find yourself seeing things from a completely different perspective. When you feel clear, decide whether this is the time for you to confront your friend.
Looking at Things from Both Points of View
Try to look at this from both points of view. It's important not to let things fester, let misunderstandings develop or avoid dealing with it, but there are instances when it's better to hold on for a while and choose the time and place carefully. For instance if your friend is already overwhelmed by stress, this might not be the time to add to it and expect a loving resolution. Similarly if you can't speak to her privately, wait till you can rather than embarrassing her in front of friends or family.
Look also at your own needs. Are you calm enough to deal with the issue? Are you ready to deal with whatever she may have to say on the situation and about your behavior?
When you're ready, try to see the behavior you're upset about as completely separate from your friend. It's the behavior that you don't like, not your friend. Make sure that your verbal and non-verbal communication match each other. If your words say one thing while your body, your poise and your expression say another, there'll simply be more confusion for you both.
Attitude of Concern for Mutual Well-Being
With an attitude of concern for your mutual well-being, open with a statement that will help put you both at ease. Starting with "I" is generally least threatening and gets away from any feeling of accusation. For instance rather than "You never want to go where I want," you could say "I would like it if we took turns in choosing. . . ." Or "You're always putting me down" could become, "I'd like it if you saw me more as your equal."
If things get heated then try to suggest taking a breather and starting again. Your friend has just as much right to be assertive as you do and you may not like the things she has to say. But if you really mean to resolve the issue then you'll be open to her point of view. You own this friendship jointly and you're equal partners in it, or else it isn't a friendship at all. There's no need for you to do more of the work than she does on repairing it and looking after it, and if that's how it feels then perhaps you need to look at whether it really is a friendship or something that drags along for some underlying reason that you're not quite clear about.
And remember that just as you took time to think before bringing up the issue, she might like to take time to think and come back to you with her new insights. Expecting that things will be resolved today just because you're ready to do so isn't really very loving. So if you have to wait awhile and have a second, or even third, conversation to try to resolve, accommodate or compromise, be patient. If you love each other the wait will be worth it.
Are You Seeking a Faultless Friend?
What if it can't be resolved? Well, then you need to think whether you can accept your friend and the friendship even though there's something that irritates you. None of us is perfect, and that includes both you and your friend. In the words of a Turkish proverb, "Who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless."
As with all relationships, it's the differences between us that challenge us -- to grow, enrich us and bring us more insight into who we really are. If your friendship doesn't allow for exploration of difficulties and is so fragile you don't dare approach conflict, then whether it is a loving friendship must be questioned.
Friends mirror parts of us of which we may be unaware and some of which we may not like. In doing so they help us live out our truth, and show us we're lovable and acceptable even with all our faults and shortcomings.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Ulysses Press. ©2001. http://www.ulyssespress.com
Unlocking the Heart Chakra: Heal Your Relationships with Love
by Dr. Brenda Davies.
About the Author
Dr. Brenda Davies, a British psychiatrist and spiritual healer, combines her traditional medical training with ancient healing gifts. Having lived and worked around the world, she now resides in Texas, though her workshops, clients and conferences keep her on an international circuit. A mother of two and grandmother of one, she is happily living her own spiritual path while exploring the frontiers of love and healing.