BFF or NRF Friendship Truth #6 – Jessica Speer

In BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships, I share nine “friendship truths.” These truths help preteens and teens (and adults) navigate relationships with more social awareness. I’m diving into the Friendship Truths in this series of posts. Here are the posts about Friendship Truths #1, #2#3, #4, and #5 if you missed them. Now, let’s explore Friendship Truth 6:

Friendship Truth 6: Everyone makes mistakes

Yes, of course, everyone makes mistakes. We are human, after all. But, mistakes in our friendships and close relationships are sometimes difficult to navigate and repair. They may take a toll on trust or make us question the friendship. 

Maybe a promise is broken, a secret is shared, or you feel mistreated by a friend. Regardless, mistakes, especially big ones, lead to conflict. To heal the rupture, the situation needs to be addressed. This is where a sincere apology comes in. 

Sincere vs. Insincere Apologies

We’ve all heard insincere apologies. Flippant and ingenuine apologies make matters worse. Sincere apologies, on the other hand, lead to healing. 

Sincere apologies include several components. First, they express regret and clearly state what you are sorry about. Sincere apologies also take responsibility for your actions. They explain what hurtful or offensive thing you did and own it. Then, they share how you will do things differently next time and express genuine intent to do better

Here’s an example. “I am sorry I spoke to you like that. I was way out of line. From now on I’ll try to recognize when I’m worked up and calm down before reacting.”

Time to Heal

Your friend may or may not be able to accept your apology right away. Mistakes and ruptures in friendships sometimes take time to heal. Your friend may need time and space to process their emotions. 

Qualities of Close Friendship

According to Lydia Denworth, author of Friendship – The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, close friendships are defined by three things. They are lasting, positive, and reciprocal. Despite cultural differences around the world, close friendships share these three essential qualities. When the positive aspects of the friendship far outweigh the negative, friends are more likely to heal ruptures and use mistakes as opportunities for growth.

Sometimes mistakes that are not addressed or handled well contribute to friendship changes, and that’s okay too. Mistakes and misunderstandings might expose different expectations and needs in relationships or reveal a friendship is not a good fit. Our social world is constantly evolving. 

Friendship Truth 6: Everyone makes mistakes

So yes, everyone makes mistakes, even in our friendships. Mistakes are opportunities for growth and important reminders of our shared humanity. Owning mistakes and sincerely apologizing is the first step in reconciliation and healing. And when you mess up, be sure to forgive yourself too! 

About Jessica Speer

Jessica Speer is the award-winning author of BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships (2021) and Middle School – Safety Goggles Advised (August 2022). She has a master’s degree in social sciences and explores social-emotional topics in ways that connect with kids. For more information, visit JessicaSpeer.com

Jessica Speer, Author

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