wikiHow to Confront a Friend

Three Parts:Preparing YourselfHaving the ConversationMoving Forward

Confronting a friend is never easy, no matter what you are confronting her about. While you may feel uncomfortable with confrontation, it can often be the best way to resolve conflicts with your friends. Confront your friend about issues tactfully, and your friendship could become much stronger as a result.

Part 1
Preparing Yourself

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    Think about the situation. Make sure you know exactly what you're going to confront your friend about and why you want to do it.
    • It's easy to get blinded by emotions, so take your time to think about the situation logically. Also, try to consider how your friend might feel about the situation.
    • Consider if the incident you want to confront your friend about was a one-time thing or if it was representative of her normal behavior. You can still confront your friend if the situation only happened once, but be careful about blowing a small problem out of proportion.
    • Take your friend's intentions into account when deciding whether to confront her and what to say. Keep in mind that she may have no idea that her actions are harmful to you and confronting her might be the only way to make her realize that.
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    Consider the negative consequences of not confronting your friend. Sometimes having a difficult conversation with your friend is just the right thing to do, no matter how hard it may seem. If you feel like this is one of those situations, stick with your gut.
    • Remember that keeping negative feelings to yourself could cause you to feel resentful towards your friends and could drive you away from her. You don't want to let this situation get between you and your friend, so be honest with her.
    • If you are confronting your friend about some kind of destructive behavior, such as drug or alcohol abuse, she might really need you and her other friends to tell her how her problems are affecting you.[1]
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    Plan what you will say. You don't want to stutter when you confront your friend. Figure out what the exact reasons for the conflict are and why those reasons exist. Determine what you are feeling, and don't be afraid to tell your friend that you are upset and how the conflict is affecting you.[2]
    • Write down the emotions you are experiencing as a result of the situation. This will prepare you to explain these emotions to your friend.[3]
    • Think of specific examples to discuss with your friend. Your conversation will likely not go anywhere if you aren't able to express exactly what it is that you are upset about.
    • Be honest with yourself about whether you have contributed to the conflict at all. If you have, be ready to admit that to your friend.
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    Practice. You need to focus on the words you are saying, not on the emotion behind them. If you rehearse, you will have a better chance of remembering what you want to say.[4]
    • Consider rehearsing with another friend and asking his or her opinion about how well you expressed yourself.[5]
    • You may want to think about responses that your friend is likely to have to you, and decide in advance what you will say in return.
    • If you're worried about forgetting everything you want to say, write it down. This can be a great way to keep your conversation on track and make sure you cover all the major points.
    • While preparing is a good thing, don't make yourself crazy by over-preparing. Accept the fact that you will not be able to predict everything your friend will say and be prepared to respond to your friend honestly.[6]

Part 2
Having the Conversation

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    Find the right time and place. Find a good setting where you can speak in private. The last thing you need in a delicate situation is the prying eyes of others. Also, make sure you both have plenty of time to discuss the conflict.
    • Avoid the temptation to have the conversation over the phone, by email, or by text message. Face-to-face conversations are always best for important topics.[7]
    • Avoid distractions by putting your phone away and asking your friend to do the same.
    • If you attempt to confront your friend and she says that now is not a good time, don't get upset. Simply tell her that the conversation is important and ask her when would be a better time.
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    Start by telling your friend you care. Make it clear from the beginning of the conversation that you are having this conversation in the interest of improving your friendship. Tell her you are being honest, and that your intent is not to insult her or cause more problems. [8]
    • You can try acknowledging that she might feel hurt by the conversation by saying something such as, "I need to talk to you about something that you might find upsetting, but please hear me out and know that I'm not trying to hurt your feelings."
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    Be direct. Avoid talking about other things and confront the issue head-on. Tell your friend exactly what it is you need to confront her about, cite specific examples of the behavior you are talking about, and let her know how her actions make you feel.
    • In addition to understanding what you are confronting her about, your friend also needs to understand why you are confronting her. If you are worried for your friend's well-being, let her know. If your friend has hurt your feelings, tell her that you need to talk about the issue to keep your friendship strong.
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    Focus on your feelings. While it may be tempting to blame your friend for the conflict, discussing how her actions make you feel, instead of accusing her of something, will lead to a much more productive conversation.[9]
    • When framing your sentences, use "I" more than "you." You should be the subject of the majority of your sentences because you are talking about your feelings. For example, say, "I feel angry when you do that" instead of "You make me angry."
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    Keep your emotions in check. No matter how tense the situation gets, do not yell or use any negative language in reference to your friend. This will only make the situation worse.[10]
    • There's no shame in crying as you contemplate the conflict and its effects on your friendship. Some things just hit too close to home, and that's alright.
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    Take time to listen. Once you've finished with what you wanted to say, ask your friend how she feels. Make sure to listen to what she has to say, and to respond calmly and rationally.[11]
    • If you don't know how to respond to something, just tell your friend that you need some more time to think about what she said.
    • Avoid interrupting your friend. Be respectful of her feelings by letting her finish what she needs to say before you start responding.
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    Be mindful of your body language. Body language can portray negative feelings just as easily as harsh words can. Show your friend that you are open to hearing her side of the story by making eye contact and not crossing your arms or fidgeting.[12]
    • Watch your facial expressions too. Even if you don't agree with something your friend says, don't roll your eyes. This is just as confrontational as yelling.

Part 3
Moving Forward

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    Be clear about the next steps. Talk to your friend about what you want your friendship to look like in the future and what you think you should both do to get there. Listen to her ideas also.[13]
    • If appropriate for the situation, set clear ground rules so that you both know exactly what kind of behavior the other finds upsetting. If, for example, your friend has called you a name that you find offensive, consider saying, "I find it hurtful when you call me names, even if you are just kidding. Please don't call me names that insult my intelligence again."
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    End on a positive note. Tell your friend that you're glad you had this conversation, that you feel better after talking to her, or that you appreciate her taking the time to share her feelings. Also remind her how much you value her as a friend, or consider telling her all of the positive qualities that you love about her.[14]
    • Even if the conversation doesn't go well, don't be negative. If you find that your friend isn't interested in having the conversation, say something like, "I only want to have this conversation because I care about you and I want to continue being friends. Whenever you want to talk, I'll be ready."
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    Leave the door open for future conversations. Tell your friend you might want to talk about this same issue again in the future. You don't need to be nervous about revisiting the issue because you can just say, "I think we need to continue our conversation. This is how I'm feeling about it right now." Once you've started the conversation, you should be able to continue it without as much anxiety and uncertainty.
    • If your friend repeats the behavior that upset you, consider pointing it out to her right away by saying something like, "I feel hurt by what you just did/said and I feel like it is similar to what we have discussed before. How do you feel?" She might not have even realized that she was doing it. Don't let it build up without talking to her again.
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    Live up to your end of the deal. If your friend pointed out some steps that you could take to improve your friendship, take them! You can't expect your friend to change if you are unwilling to do the same. Work hard for a better friendship.

Article Info

Categories: Handling Friendship Problems