If you have done something to hurt your friend, accidentally or on purpose, don’t worry. It is not too late to make things right and have your friendship be as great as it was before.
Understand what you have done to make your friend upset. Whatever you did may have been a small deal to you, but it might have been a big deal for him/her. Try and put yourself in their shoes. How would you react if someone did to you what you did to him/her?This is essential for rebuilding your relation between them.
Think about what you want to say to him/her. If you are not careful and don’t watch what you say, the hurt can be worse than the initial one. At the same time, don’t plan too much. What you need to say to your friend can’t be a speech; it has to be a sincere collection of your thoughts and feelings.
Talk to your friend. Do not, and I repeat, do NOT talk to them by text or email if it is avoidable. Telephone is acceptable in certain circumstances, but face to face interaction is best. When you are talking to him/her, explain how you feel and what you think you two should do about the situation. Remember to keep eye contact the whole time if you are talking to them face to face.
Offer to make amends:Make a plan to make up for your actions. Ask the person you’ve wronged what you can do, or suggest a remedy. For example, if you failed to show up for a planned movie night, offer to take your friend to a different movie – your treat. #*Remember that not everything can be made up–at least not right away. In this case, you’re better off just sucking it up, apologizing, saying you understand why the person is angry and letting them vent their frustration.
Show them you mean it: Be genuinely contrite. Do not try to justify yourself or give excuses. Do not use “but” or “if only” in your apology and know that any attempt to turn things around on the other person will backfire. You must not attempt to shift blame to anyone, but rather accept responsibility yourself.
- If you’re going to cry, don’t hold back the tears. Feel free to cry. It shows sincerity and guilt in your apology.
Be specific. When apologizing, detail your response. For instance, “I’m sorry I was mean to you” is fine, but “I’m sorry I stood you up at the party. That was selfish and thoughtless of me” is much better. This helps your friend know that you understand the actual reason they are upset.
Resist the urge to pressure for forgiveness. Trust, once lost, is very reluctantly given again. It is a defense mechanism we all employ – once a person has betrayed our trust, we are not eager to repeat that experience because it hurts too much. If you are guilty of hurting someone in this way, do not pressure him or her to hurry up and forgive you. Gracefully accept it if they need more time.
Forgive yourself: We all break promises, do stupid and careless things and simply make bad choices. Be sure to forgive yourself if you’ve done all you can do. Whether or not the person forgives you, make sure to learn from your mistakes.
Respect your friend, but respect yourself. As mentioned above, nobody is perfect. If you have sincerely apologized, shown genuine remorse and changed your ways, yet your friend continues to give you grief for your actions that took place months ago, this is not acceptable. Tell your friend that it’s unfair of him or her to use your mistake as a weapon forever. Warn him or her that although you are sorry for hurting them, you will not submit to this punishment forever. Tell your friend that it’s time to put this behind you, or admit that this may not be “fixable” – and move on.
Surprise them frequently. Get them coffee or make them a small but expensive gift. Little actions such as these go a long way in showing a person that you’re truly sorry for your actions and want to make amends.
Surrender your privacy. Give them access to your e-mail and Facebook accounts, or show them your call history on your cell phone. Show them you have nothing to hide and aren’t doing anything behind their back.
Make sure this is within reason. For example, they don’t have the right to be upset if you refuse to give them access to your bank accounts.
Limit your time away from them. If you have to spend time away from them, do everything in your power to make sure you are not doing anything untrustworthy or dishonest. Text them frequently just to check in and let them know of your whereabouts.
If this does not work, understand that the hurt may be worse than you think. Be prepared for this situation and remember that people need time to get over certain events which may have transpired. If this is the case, do not push it. The last thing you want is to be annoying him/her to death with notes or text messages saying ‘Y R U STILL MAD AT ME?’. Just exercise patience and respect your friends’ space.
Being ready to talk it out is key. Don’t talk about it with him/her if you aren’t ready to admit you are sorry, or why you said it in the first place. If you don’t wait, you may get mad at him/her for no reason, since you don’t have YOUR emotions sorted.
Accept that it may not be Fixable: Unfortunately, if you break trust in certain ways, it may never be repaired regardless of how long you attempt to make amends. It isn’t right to let one mistake define the rest of your life. In this case, it’s best for both of you if you end the relationship and move on to one where this baggage does not follow you both.
- If they refuse to listen to you immediately, don’t think they will never be ready. Should that end up the case, give them some time.
- Always make sure it’s the correct time to go about apologizing. For instance, begging for forgiveness while the person is at a funeral would be inappropriate.
- Parents may seem harder to win back trust, but remember that their trust will eventually come back. They do love you.
- Being trustworthy in general will make others trust you again more readily than if you’re constantly hurting others.
- Be prepared for a lot of potential drama, but be calm and constructive yourself. The person may never want to talk to you again. They might just walk away and if they do, remember to put yourself in their shoes. Would you do the same?
- If the relationship is meaningful to both of you, it will heal with time and patience.
- Sometimes, a person will say they’re okay and accept your apology, but hold a misdeed over your head forever. That’s not actually forgiving you and is often worse than whatever you did.
- Do not keep dangerous secrets. Telling your friend’s parent that he/she is doing drugs, has an eating disorder, is being abused or having suicidal thoughts is not breaking trust. It may be breaking confidence, but it’s more important he or she gets help than anything else, even if it ends your friendship.
- Do NOT skip right to the apologizing and/or excuses. It will fail to create real understandings and could only leave your friend more upset than they were before the falling out. This is a common mistake many people make.
- NEVER try to get even with them or make them feel bad, even if you are hurt at the same time. It is childish and may very well end in them never again wanting anything to do with you. They may have done something wrong on the same end, but you must accept 100% responsibility for whatever it is you did to upset them before you can speak in your defense.
Courtesy: I wrote this article for Umeedain.com