You've Got Five Days To Make Up With All The Friends You Fell Out With In 2014. Here's How...
The Debrief: Do you want to start 2015 with bad friendship karma? No, no you don't...
If there’s one way you don’t want to spend December 31st, it’s sitting alone by candelight, clutching a piece of cracked parchment upon which you have written a list entitled ‘THOSE WHO HAVE CROSSED ME.’ When we’ve been spending time with friends and family, it’s weird to think about our enemies. But every end of year round up will have you counting your own personal highs and lows of 2014. And as you wonder whether Chris and Gwynnie managed to survive the season without pushing each other into a Christmas tree, or if Katy Perry has just decided to stay at home having heard Taylor will be at a mutual friend’s New Year party (‘That bitch better not shake it off into the punch!’) you might start to consider your own friendship failings of 2014.
We’re not saying that you need to start the New Year as a doormat, welcoming everyone who has been mean to you in the last 365 days for another round of muddy footed abuse. But the end of the year tends to trigger a wave of perspective, and it’s time to work out whether you want people out of your life for good, or if you still want to be on non speakers, given it’s been eight months since the drunken row with your best uni mate and you’re still not entirely sure what it was about.
Life coach Annie Houghton explains ‘It’s not necessarily about picking up where you left off with people - if you’ve had an argument and it isn’t resolved over weeks or months, you’re going to cause serious damage to a relationship. It will take a long time for things to get back to normal - and that might not even be possible.
‘But it doesn’t feel good to begin a brand New Year filled with resentment and cross about old tensions. There have even been studies showing that holding a grudge is bad for your health. Even if you don’t completely reconnect with your old friends, you can move forward with a clear conscience if you’ve tried to make amends with them - and it means you’re better equipped to begin new relationships too.’
Lottie, 26, an admission officer said ‘This time last year I was miserable, because two of my best friends weren’t speaking to me - I’d got really, really drunk at one of their birthday parties, and it took me a long time to understand why they were so angry. All year, I’d bitched about how badly they overreacted, but I missed them badly and desperately wanted to make up. I spent New Year’s Eve stuck with my family, sulking. My little sister came home hammered from her night and vomited everywhere, and I suddenly realised what a shit friend I had been - and also, that it wasn’t unusual for me to be the ‘drunk friend’ and my friends were really fed up.
‘I cried for ages, and then wrote them a really long letter - I wasn’t sure whether they’d reply, but I wanted them to know how sorry I was. It’s still tentative but we started hanging out again this year, and I’m so glad I swallowed my pride and made an effort.’
29 year old PR manager Hanne knows that the longer you leave a fight to fester, the harder it is to resolve. ‘I had a huge argument with a good friend about three years ago. We’d been working together, and we were really close - I really valued her friendship and felt like I’d known her forever. But it all went wrong when I slept with a guy she’d been seeing. She claimed she didn’t mind, and then stopped speaking to me. For ages I was really defensive about it - she was overreacting, it was just casual, we were both officially single and everyone was fair game. But the same thing happened to me a couple of years ago, and I can finally empathise with her. I’ve spent so much time regretting my behaviour, and even if we can’t be friends again, it would be nice to think she didn’t think badly of me. I saw on Facebook that she moved to Sydney for work, so she’s out of my life entirely. I’m hoping this is the year where I’ll get the guts to apologise.’
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going to move forward, you have to do it wholeheartedly - you can’t come to your mate with a passive aggressive apology and then demand they take the blame too. Karim, a 25 year old retail assistant explains ‘I’ve made enough bad apologies to know that sometimes you just have to suck it up, and make a judgement call. Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy? So many arguments arise from genuine misunderstandings, and it’s usually always worth swallowing your pride.’
Annie says that the medium is as important as the message. ‘Once you’ve decided to do it, you might think your apology should be delivered in person, or at least, over the phone. But you can’t assume that the people you’re apologising to are necessarily ready to listen to what you have to say. Writing it down gives the recipient a chance to decide how they’re going to deal with it - as well as giving you the opportunity to edit it for anything that sounds aggressive or angry.’
We hope that you fix all your friendship fails in time for 2015. Hopefully you’ll manage to make everything better before the clock strikes midnight, but as long as you make the first move before the year ends, you’ll definitely have a better 2015 than you would have done had you kept hanging on to old grudges. Good luck - and remember, it’s much easier to make new friends when you’re at peace with your old ones.
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Picture: Eylul Aslan
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