When friendships fall apart, it can feel like it’s impossible to pick up the pieces and fit them back together. Some broken friendships are destined to stay that way. However, when you have a special intimate friendship that brought meaning to your life, a renewal is important. Restored relationships give us perspective on our experiences, and deepen our lives. Not all friendship fissures are fatal.
If you have a long lost friendship you’d like to rekindle, chances are you’ll be able to make a meaningful reconnection. Today, we are discussing a five step plan that will help you determine whether or not a friendship should be saved, and if so how you can do it.
Step One: Count the Cost
First and foremost, you need to determine if a fractured friendship is worth repairing. Unhealthy relationships are not worth it if they force you to compromise your principles or subvert your self-respect. A good friend will understand and respect your convictions. Realizing when a friendship no longer works can be a positive step. If the cost is too high, then make a clean break. If the friendship has meaningful qualities and is worth the cost of repairing, then you are ready for the next four steps.
Step Two: Make Meaningful Contact
Start by calling or writing a note to convey one primary message: “Our friendship is valuable to me, and I miss seeing you. Is there any way we can resolve what stands between us?” This simple step is a way to open the doors to reconciliation. At this point, there is no need to air your grievances. You are simply setting the ground to see if your friend is willing to seek resolution as well.
Step Three: Forgive as Best You Can
It’s tough to let go if you’ve been wronged. Feeling the need for revenge and “balancing out the score” is natural. The problem with revenge is once you feel the compensation is satisfactory, chances are your enemy will take their turn at punishing you right back. It’s a vicious cycle.
How can you stop this? By forgiving. Forgiveness puts an end to all. You have to set your pride aside and try to see the perspective from all sides. The problems that plague a friendship are rarely 100% one person’s fault. If you keep this in mind, you will be well on your way to forgiveness, rather than balancing the score.
Step Four: Diagnose the Problem
Finding out what went wrong is crucial if you want to avoid repeating the problem. Naturally, we tend to avoid diagnosing the problem. Why? We don’t want to face the fact that people are partially good, and partially bad.
Viewing things in black and white seems easier and more practical. But most of life, including friendships, come in shades of gray. So don’t pretend there is no problem, get to the bottom of it together and move forward. If a friendship can’t survive such conversation, that may be a sign it ought to end.
Step Five: Rebuild Respect
The final step in mending a broken friendship is to rebuild respect. If you’ve been hurt, begin by noting your friend’s most admirable qualities that inspire you to become a better person. The goal is to rebuild respect by highlighting those qualities you like best about them.
Next, you need to own up to your end of the relationship, as well, by offering a sincere apology for not being the kind of friend you could have been. Take ownership, and ask for forgiveness. If you do this, then mutual respect is almost certain.
If you feel a pang of regret or remorse when you think about a former friend and do nothing about it, you’ll never know what might have been. Some relationships will recover smoothly, and others may never regain the full joy they once had. However, the satisfaction will only be known if you try! For more on this topic and other relationship issues, check out our new edition of Real Relationships.
Have you rekindled a broken friendship? What steps did you take to resolve your issues? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.