Friends are one of the most beautiful bonds we can have on earth. They show us how to enjoy life, how to keep pursuing our dreams, they believe in us, they can cry with us, open their hearts to ours, encourage us, make us laugh and show us the path to intimacy. Sometimes in the dark night of our lives they can even be the starts blinking in our sky.
But there is another side of friendship that sometimes is really hard to deal with, and that is when we have arguments, when they tell us things we are not ready to listen, when we get angry at each other and fight.
The fact is that in order to have intimacy sometimes we have to deal with each other’s rough spots, learn to accept them and sometimes even embrace them. In my relationship with friends I have learned that sometimes after we have a few hard words, even some tears and we can still love each other then I know I can count on a really good and loyal friend.
But the truth is that none of us like, feel ready, able or willing to mange those difficult conversations. In her last book “Never Unfriended” Lisa Jo Baker a popular blogger and speaker give us some pointers that could help us when we fight.
7 ways to respond to hard conversations
1.Check your place and headspace. Try to find an appropriate place to answer an email, a hard message or to have a heart to heart conversation. In a place where you know you are able to engage in a way that respects the conversation.
2. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Sometimes when hard conversation happen we find ourselves ready to defend or justify my position or behavior. Sometimes we even force ourselves into the conversation to be understood. It is not easy to open your ears and close your mouth. Let your friend talk and talk and talk and really try to hear her or him and understand their fears. Listening is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to defusing a hard conversation.
3.Pause. Literally. Turn of your cell phone, take another bite of food, or drink and ask your friend to give you a moment to absorb what you have just heard. Sometimes you could even to some reflecting listening and telling them in your own words what you understood they said. Sometimes during this reflecting listening they can even clarify their point.
4. Pray. Sometimes even before you start the conversation you can ask your friend to pray together for some guidance and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Sometimes you have not time for this, but you can say a quick prayer in your mind before you respond to them.
5.Ask for advice. Test your respond with someone else, your husband, your mother, a good friend or a mentor, pastor, good friend. Don’t trust yourself when you are responding to something hard.
6. Respond. Don’t leave the other person hanging when hard conversations happen. Respond in a timely, loving manner. Assume the best about each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Remember your friend is not your enemy, we have another greater Enemy who is trying to destroy our relationships.
7.Dont be afraid to say I am sorry. Although sometimes people may misunderstand us, we need to be willing to say I am sorry to the role we play in their stories. Drop up what you are doing and go say I am sorry. It takes more courage to admit you were on the wrong than to defend yourself.
As Christians Lisa says “some of the best and hardest work God calls us to do is to love other people.” Sometimes this includes being able to love even in the hardest times of our own lives, love above all things will heal the hearts of those around us, even when we need to have hard conversations.
May God give us the courage to try.
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