How to deal with friends arguing

No matter how awesome your best mate is, they can mess up, and so can you. You’re never going to be able to see eye to eye all the time. Question is - how do you deal with a row or argument with your friends? Here’s our guide for how to deal with friends arguing.

A young group of friends is sitting on stairs. They are thinking about friends arguing. This is a full-body image.

It’s perfectly normal for two people not to see eye to eye on everything, in fact that’s healthy. It can lead to some lively debates and you might both benefit from some new points of view – if you can keep your cool. But sometimes this can turn into a full-scale row, which is when friends arguing gets dangerous.

When a row or argument blows up

By all means express your anger about whatever it is that drives you up a wall. Just remember not to start trading petty insults, making unfair generalisations, or throwing punches. Nobody’s going to respect your opinion after making a scene like that.

Say what you don’t like and why you don’t like it, then suggest what you’d like to happen instead. For example: “I really don’t like it when you let yourself into my room and borrow my jeans, it makes me feel like you don’t respect my privacy. Please ask me first next time,” is more likely to get a more positive result than: “Hey, give me those jeans back! You’re always doing stupid things like this, I hate you!”

De-escalating a row or an argument with a friend

If someone starts screaming at you, resist the urge to shout right back at them. If you’re feeling brave, ask them what the problem is in a calm voice. It’s quite common to find that there’s been some miscommunication and they’re sounding off at you because they haven’t got their facts straight. Being reasonably calm allows your friend to save face in this situation.

However, if they’re pissed off at you for a genuine reason, the best thing to do is just suck it up and apologise. Admit you’ve made a mistake and look for a way to put it right or avoid anything similar happening again.

Of course, if alcohol is involved things can get a whole lot more complicated. You can read our advice on falling out with friends after drinking here.

Moving on after a row with your friends

The worst arguments are often about the smallest things, and tend to blow up when friends talk whilst feeling tired and grumpy. It’s up to you to judge how long the situation needs before you try to patch things up. There’s usually fault on both sides, so you can try to apologise first, or say that ‘things got out of hand’ and you want to make up. If you said something very hurtful or untrue in the heat of the moment, now’s the time to take those comments back. On the other hand, if they apologise first, don’t throw it right back in their face and start another row.

Agree to disagree

Friends arguing doesn’t always have to end with you on the same side. You may have to decide to agree to disagree on certain subjects. That’s totally fine, and shows real maturity honestly. Or you may just choose to tolerate each other’s little quirks and preferences in order to get along better. Perhaps you can work out a good compromise that makes it easier for all concerned. Either way, if one person has really upset the other, it may be sensible to agree to some reasonable ground rules to avoid future fights.

Don’t let friends arguing or friends fighting ruin a relationship

Most minor rows are worth patching up as soon as possible, especially if the conflict is making all your other friends uncomfortable. For groups of close friends, fighting is always complicated. You may think twice about making the effort to make up if it’s just a passing acquaintance, or a friend who has really crossed the line, perhaps by stealing a partner, being violent or spreading malicious gossip.

This kind of behaviour is a complete justification for leaving the friendship, but you may want to give them a second chance. Just make sure they know that they’re ‘on probation’, and that you’re not a pushover who will let them get away with the same thing twice. If things end up going south, you can read this article on when to end a friendship.

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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 13-Nov-2021