How to Start Fresh in Any Friendship After a Falling Out
Sometimes doors need to close in our friendships, but how do we mend when the dust settles, and we feel drawn to reconnect?
You disconnected for reasons that at the time, seemed healthier than keeping the connection. Relationships fade and people change. We may realize the chemistry in a friendship doesn’t bring us to our highest places, we may slowly out-grow one another. There’s also the scenario where a relationship begins to be toxic, or something like a trespass happened and ties are severed. Regardless of circumstances, sometimes after the dust settles and the hardest feelings pass, we still wish that person was close to us.
What do we do when reconnecting seems impossible, we have lingering resentment, or we feel too ashamed? How do we get up the courage to reconnect with friends we’ve lost touch with or had a falling out with? This article will help you make the leap back into closeness in a way that feels effortless, and that requires no ‘hard conversations’. It will fly in the face of what you’ve heard about repair, it will feel too simple to be true… But I promise you’re only one thought away.
It’s Worth Facing Your Own Mistakes
When we have a falling out with someone, typically we play a blame game. ‘They did this, so I feel that.’ But the reality is that we played a part too. And when the heat is up and we are in a low state of mind, we have a really hard time seeing our part, so we see mostly what they did, and blame. If you are serious about reconnecting with someone after a falling out, you need to approach the feelings you have about everything with objectivity and clear sight, from a better state of mind. If you want to move on, you have to get humble about how you participated, and focus only on that:
- Get real with yourself first, about what you may be ashamed for.
- Apologize to yourself for letting yourself get out of control.
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
- You’re only human, and you can’t hold yourself to a ‘perfect’ standard.
- Choose to let the thoughts about the past go. The only place they remain is in your mind, so if you want to truly move on, you might have to go first.
Listen on Wellness 3.0: Start with Intention | Chad Littlefield
Podcast: Start with Intention for Conversations That Matter
Listen to this interview with Chad Littlefield, a man on a mission to create conversations that matter, to learn what it takes to strike up a conversation with somebody on a bus or a plane. More importantly, learn how not to feel uncomfortable afterward. His advice: Start with intention to create connection and ask powerful questions.
They Didn’t Hurt You. You Only Ever Experienced Your Own Mind’s Story.
This is going to throw you for a loop. You may even think I’m ignorant or arrogant! I’m certain that if you can open your mind to accept what I’m pointing to here, you will instantly soften any resentment or hard feelings you may have left. The thing is, we think other people can hurt us. We think we feel bad because of what others say or do, but that’s not true. The truth is, we feel bad because of our own mind, and the untrue stories we are telling ourselves. When we feel bad it tells us about our state of consciousness and the clarity of our current thinking.
Has anyone ever insulted you, and it made you laugh? I’ll borrow a real example from my three year old nephew. He said to me, ‘You’re a cow!’ I laughed, imagining myself as a black and white spotted cow. I didn’t feel hurt, because what he said about me was so silly and ridiculous that it didn’t stick. I didn’t get offended because I didn’t have anything on it. That same thing could be said to someone else, and they could be completely offended, and yes, even upset with a three year old. So you see, the things people say to us mean nothing unless we have something on it. Eleanor Roosevelt perhaps said it best: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Your Mind Plays Tricks on You
Imagine a little protein receptor in the body that only receives a certain kind of protein molecule. Have you ever misheard or misinterpreted someone, and gotten very upset, only to find out that your mind played a trick on you? We have insecurities and thoughts about the past that tune our minds towards hearing certain frequencies, kinda like those receptors.
We hear what we are tuned in to, and might even distort things to those frequencies. Meanwhile we don’t hear the rest of the spectrum. This is especially true when we are in a low state of mind, we tend to reflect our insecurities out in front of us, and perceive others through that lense. The point is, we cannot always trust our interpretation of things. We have our own creative interpretations, and our perceptions outside are not usually clear if we don’t feel clear inside.
It’s Empowering to Know the Truth of Your Experience
You can breathe a little easier, and find a lot of humility when you don’t take your thoughts so seriously. You can relax knowing that your experience wildly fluctuates depending on your state of mind. Someone can say something to you that when you are in a low state of mind is upsetting, but when you are in a clear state of mind, it rolls right off you. You can empower yourself by taking yourself less seriously when you feel low, because you know you are likely going to distort the world around you.
Basically, if you feel down, angry, upset, depressed, or numb, remember that you are just stuck in a loop of low quality thinking. The beautiful thing is, your state will always shift. At any moment you can take your thoughts (and yourself!) less seriously. You’re not creating these shitty thoughts, it has nothing to do with your truth. You can pivot. You can trust that when you return to a clear state of mind, your thinking will be lighter, and you will be less bothered by whatever had you. This is important if you are to return to a relationship without feelings of being victimized. You can make empowered choices in the future with a fresh start in this relationship.
“Basically, if you feel down, angry, upset, depressed, or numb, remember that you are just stuck in a loop of low quality thinking. The beautiful thing is, your state will always shift. “
What Upset You Long Ago Doesn’t Have to Be an Issue Today
As time passes, our bad memories fade, and we can begin to remember the good times. After all, aren’t grudges just carried out of stubbornness and untrustworthy memories? Most of us don’t even know why we fought in the first place! It takes quite a bit of effort to hold a grudge, especially when it’s based on thinking we had when we were in a low state of mood. It takes very little effort to simply get humble, get over ourselves, and forgive all involved. This is so healthy for your heart, I promise you will feel amazing after dumping the bad-feeling stories.
Fabriq: Communal by Nature | Friendship
This One Skill Will Make You a Better Friend
How often do you say “I hear you” and really mean it? Truly tuning into a conversation shows people you care and strengthens your connection, so if you’re looking to keep someone close, you’ve gotta amp up your active and empathetic listening skills.
You Don’t Need to Talk About It
I know, this flies in the face of what every therapist says, but it’s true. If you know you have a rat’s nest of thoughts, but you know those thoughts are mostly untrue, do you really think it’s worth the effort to untangle it? Since the stories you have were based on untrustworthy thoughts, perhaps theirs were too. This means you don’t have to talk about a single detail of your stories, or about what you think happened. Why not just wipe the slate clean? You’ve both changed, who are you today?
We Don’t Want to Be Rejected
What if you make the step forward with outstretched hands, and they turn you down? Well shit. That could happen. Is the fear of rejection so big that you would trade it for the possibility of a fresh start? Being open and available for reconnection can be vulnerable. Going inward and taking a hard look at yourself can be hard, especially with no guarantee of the reward of a renewed friendship.
“Is the fear of rejection so big that you would trade it for the possibility of a fresh start?”
You Don’t Have to Run off and ‘Do Something’ Now
There’s likely going to be a rush of energy towards that person, and that’s really beautiful. It feels so nourishing, especially if things have felt hard for a long time. Maybe you just can’t stop the enthusiasm with a message of “Hey, I love you!” But there’s a trap that we can fall into with our minds, it feels anxious and it begins with the words: “I should…” Don’t should yourself into actions that come from a sense of obligation. Let life move you. Rest, enjoy your space and warm feelings. The beautiful thing to remember is when you free up your mind, and life is coming through, magic happens. You may just run into them.
What’s More Important, Being Close or Being Right?
In conclusion, I’ll sum this all up simply with a quote from a great guy called Michael Neill. “When you’re drowning in negative emotion, it’s a terrible time to trust your thinking.” Our problems are always the result of a simple yet fundamental misunderstanding. We think we are experiencing reality, but we’re actually experiencing our thinking. Put another way, “we think we have a reality problem, when in reality we have a thinking problem.” There’s no problem between you and your loved one. There really never was. There was a confusion in each of your own minds. And it’s not that important now. Getting over yourself and your personal thinking will liberate you in every area of your life. Other people will no longer have any control over how you experience life, how you feel, or think. This is a radical way of living, it takes tenacity to be self responsible. So beware, because you could just pop out of your misery and have no excuses to not live the life that you dream for yourself.
About Sarah Louisignau
Sarah Louisignau loved her digital nomad lifestyle, once she realized that she didn’t HAVE TO grow up, settle down, and buy a house. Travelling the world creating art and relationship coaching with her Norwegian husband Kjetil Odin has been a source of awakening. She’s grateful both for the freedom and joy it allows, and also for the absolute shit show it can be dealing with things like immigration, lost passports, and forgetting things everywhere. She values clear seeing, wholeheartedness, and being part of world culture. If you want to check out her painting or coaching offers, check out her website.
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