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Dear Nedlam,

Recently my friend just told me that she doesn’t want to be friends anymore. She asked me a question about a kind of controversial topic, and I had a different opinion of it than she did. I really want to still be friends with her, but I also think an important part of being friends with someone is knowing that they might have different opinions on things and the both of you still accept each other. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

Thanks,

Hurt

 

Dear Hurt,

The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t your fault. It is your right to have your own opinion on things and you are correct when you said being friends is about accepting each other. That is  also a part of  being human; no one is perfect, there will  always be things you will want to change about other people, and there are things that they will want to change about you. But life is about dealing with the fact that everyone is who they are and it is our job to be who we are and respect eachothers opinions.  It is also important that you don’t feel like you need to apologize for your opinion. If you reacted rudely to her or him, that you can apologize for, but aside from that they were the ones who wasn’t respectful to you. To end a friendship, especially a long and close friendship, over differences in opinion about one topic, especially if the topic has nothing to do with either you or your friend, is immature and not a quality of a good friend. Since I don’t know the specifics of the situation, if the thing you had a difference in opinion over did have to do with your friend, then try to calmly express your opinion, and be mindful that it does affect her/matter to her. There’s always a chance she won’t talk to you about the way she feels, if she does talk to you remember to respect her opinion and explain how much you still want to be friends, but you don’t want her to get upset again if you have another difference in opinion. Ask if next time you could just discuss it calmly, and be okay with what the other says, or just not talk about the topic again. If your friend won’t talk to you, remember to give her some space. Hopefully if you two were close she will miss being friends with you and will come back and apologize and want to be friends again. If that doesn’t occur, then they are the ones being completely immature about the whole situation, and maybe you weren’t really good friends in the first place if she is willing to cast you aside over one little argument. Good friends are the ones who are able to work through their disagreements, no matter how tangled. Also keep in mind, that perhaps her getting angry at you actually has nothing to do with you, she is just expressing her anger or emotion about something else and is lashing out on you because she is powerless in her other situation. She could be dealing with issues at home, in school, etc. Or she could be experiencing jealousy that is either related or unrelated to the topic you were speaking of, maybe you are really good at something she isn’t, and even though she is talented at other things, she is jealous that you are gifted in an area where she isn’t. Think back if you might have done anything to upset her. If you have, apologize for doing that thing, but only that. DON’T apologize for your opinion, and make it clear that if something was upsetting her she could have come and talked to you about it (but don’t ask her if she’s jealous or if something is wrong at home). Just remind her that whatever the reason, you are her friend, you would never intentionally try to hurt her feelings, and that you want to stay friends. Hope this helps!

 

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