How to Argue With Friends in a Respectful Healthy Way

When two people are in a relationship of any sort (romantic, business, or friendship), there may come a time when they argue. Arguments are actually a sign that you both want the best out of your friendship. If you never disagree, it can mean that one of you is just giving in repeatedly, which will damage the relationship over time.

People are unique and sometimes they don't see eye-to-eye on things. Arguing is actually a natural part of developing a strong bond with your friend. The closer you become, the more you get to know each other on a deeper level and the more likely you will disagree.

Have Respect

Two friends arguing
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There might be a time when your friend treats you badly and as a result you want to retaliate. But before you speak words you'll regret later, take a deep breath and think through what you want to communicate. When you're ready to talk to your friend, focus on the issue at hand and avoid sweeping statements like "you always" or "you never." Don't pin a motive on your friend, either, because you can't read his or her mind.

Instead, focus on what happened and why it bothers you. For example, instead of saying:

"Why are you always late? I hate sitting here doing nothing while you take your sweet time."

Instead, say:

"Was there a problem getting here? I get concerned when you're late because I wonder if something happened. I also feel dumb sitting here by myself."

In another example, instead of saying:

"You can never just be happy for me, can you? It's all about you."

Say instead:

I was hoping you would have told me congratulations on my promotion. It means so much to me to know you support me."

Agree to Disagree

While you should never avoid an argument just because you don't feel like fighting, there are going to be some instances where it's okay to disagree. Generally, these are issues where your opinions are both strong but different. Things to avoid giving negative energy to include:

  • Politics: If you cannot have a civil discussion about things, agree that you won't ever see the subject the same way.
  • Religion: Rather than trying to change your friend's mind, let your life and the way you handle yourself be the prompt that nudges your friend to question his choices if indeed he is meant to do so.
  • Life Choices: If your friend is doing something illegal or immoral, speak up. If not, try to understand his choices rather than argue.

Know When Your Friendship Has Reached an Unhealthy Level of Fighting

While occasional arguing is normal, repeatedly fighting about the same issue over and over could mean that your friendship is in trouble. One sign that your friendship is in an unhealthy place is when you feel that you can't be yourself with your pal.

The National Communication Association says that "the process of conflict and arguing allows us to see things from other people's points of view." One thing to keep in mind is that the goal of any argument is to come to an understanding, not to have your friend change their opinion.