As you go through life, you’ll likely encounter situations that result in your relationships with others being impacted. Whether those relationships are with friends, co-workers or family members, the negative repercussions of the situation causes a rift between you and can leave a gap in your life.
There’s always that feeling of being incomplete when you’re at odds with someone you were once close to. And running into them at this stage tends to be very uncomfortable.
What can you do to mend this rift and set things right again?
- Be honest about the part you played. Sometimes, mending a relationship is harder than it needs to be because you may not have looked at a role you played to break it in the first place. I’m not saying that someone’s unacceptable behavior is your fault, but it is important to see what if any role you played.
- Play the situation back in your mind. Look at how you responded to the point of view of the other person, and how much effort you put towards resolution at the time. Could you have responded differently now that you’ve taken a step back?
- Turn the tables and ask yourself how you would feel if you were the recipient of your responses to their behavior. Would you feel hurt? Offended? Be honest with yourself.
- Avoid feeling justified for any wrong you did in the situation. That keeps you rooted in the same spot. If it’s wrong, it’s just plain wrong.
- Consider forgiveness. At the end of your assessment, you may realize that the other person did or said hurtful things. And while they may not have apologized, it’s important that you consider the willingness to forgive them – even if that word “sorry” never comes out.
- Forgiveness isn’t based on someone’s apology, it’s based on your inner desire to be at peace with yourself and someone else. It’s about getting those emotional weights off your shoulders. It’s letting go of the power the pain has on you.
- Remember that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to forget or reconcile with the person. It doesn’t make you weak, a pushover and it’s not a “setup for it to happen again.” It’s you realizing that forgiveness sets YOU free.
- Open channels of communication in stages. If the relationship means a lot to you, a good idea would be to try and open the channels of communication in several stages. You don’t have to move any faster than you’re comfortable. Take it one step at a time to thaw the ice instead of chiseling away and trying to break it.
- Perhaps you can start with a quick note or e-mail to say, “Hi, you were in my thoughts so I thought I’d send you a quick hello.”
- Gradually, you can move on to phone calls, group outings, and then eventually one-on-one sessions.
- Get support. It doesn’t have to mean sitting in with a professional. The right group or friend can help just as well. It could simply involve getting to the root of the issue to find a solution that’s acceptable to both of you.
Not all relationships can be mended and not all of them can be mended in the same amount of time. However, it’s possible that they can improve with intention and a plan. For the relationships you consider worthwhile, it’s worth the effort.
Founder, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute