We all want our friendships to last. But each relationship involves two imperfect humans who were born with a sinful nature—that means hurt feelings are bound to happen. And if they go unaddressed, the friendship can be damaged. How do we avoid this common pitfall?
First, acknowledge that damage exists. This takes place the moment you say, “Something isn’t right. I’d like for us to find and fix the problem.” It’s helpful to work together to assess how the trouble began—perhaps it resulted from a misunderstanding, an unresolved conflict, one person’s busyness, etc.
After recognizing the problem, take responsibility for your part in it. Apologize without justifying your actions or blaming anyone else—doing so shows love and commitment.
An apology must be followed up with amends. Ask your friend what specific action you both can take to rebuild the relationship, and then be sure to do it.
Repairing a troubled friendship requires humility to admit faults, effort to fix the problem, and time to heal. Instead of waiting until a relationship is in trouble, wise friends will go through these steps as soon as they are aware of having hurt a loved one. Preventative care can soothe minor scrapes before they become serious wounds.