We focus on relationships at The Counseling Hub, but when we talk about relationships, we’re not specifically talking about romantic relationships or intimate partnerships. The term relationship implies relationships of any kind. And, much like with partnerships, relationships contain their own set of problems.
Here are three things you can do if you have a friendship with somebody who is currently driving you crazy (colloquially speaking).
- Tell the friend.
This might seem crazy (it’s not), but you could just talk directly with your friend. Of course, this is very much dependent on the situation and your relationship, but it’s completely doable. If you say it in the right way, then it’s feasible that your friend says, “You know what? You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ve had so much on my own plate that I can’t even think outside of myself.” Okay, so that response is doubtful, but you know you did what you could, in terms of saying things in a nice way (i.e. focus on your feelings and experience, not on shaming, blaming, or criticizing your friend).
- Let it ride.
This might sound silly, but sometimes people get in funks. You’ve been there, I’ve been there, they’ve been there - we’ve all been there. Sometimes, it’s really more about letting things go than addressing them. The hard part is figuring out which is which, but be mindful of what’s going on in your friend’s life. If they just lost their job, are going through a divorce, and have a three year old, then it’s probably life stuff. If nothing has changed and they’re seemingly suddenly rude to you, then it might be something else. With all that said, life stuff doesn’t give people permission to be dicks (or abusive), but it does give us more context
- Be angry.
Here’s another funny sounding option. Just be angry about it!! I’m not saying be angry, build resentment, blow up on your friend, and expect everything to be better. What I am saying is that you can be angry or upset when people treat you poorly. There’s a difference between allowing yourself to be treated poorly and giving distance but feeling angry. Angry doesn’t equal you have to say anything or bring it up. Angry usually signifies a perceived injustice or unfair situation, and that’s perfectly healthy.
Long story short is that there are a multitude of ways that you can address this and only three of those ways is listed above. And the reason you decide to choose one or another way should be based on your relationship with that person, your level of hurt, the situation/context, and anything else I’m not listing here (although I’m sure there are plenty of other factors).
It’s also worth noting that I’m hardcore speaking in generalities. Having a specific situation, one where I could ask some questions to get clear, would be more useful here. With that said, this is just a general guideline - it’s definitely not the be all end all of addressing things with a friend. Think of it as a start.