Dealing With a Friend Who Has Hurt You: 13 Steps

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Dealing With a Friend Who Has Hurt You: 13 Steps
Dealing With a Friend Who Has Hurt You: 13 Steps

Sometimes, no matter how close you are to a person, they can still say or do something that hurts you. It's usually not intentional (however deliberate it may be), but the action has more effect when it comes from a friend. Learn to control your reaction and communicate better with your friend to fix the relationship and move on.


Part 1 of 3: Controlling the reaction

Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 1

Step 1. Keep your composure

We are not always able to control how we feel, but we can control how we react. Be careful what you say during a tense moment to avoid an explosive discussion.

  • Identify the anger. You need to recognize how you're feeling if you're hoping to move on with life.
  • When speaking out of anger, chances are good of hurting the other person. Recognize your thoughts and feelings so you can dose them and not overdo it.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 2

Step 2. Detach yourself from the situation, even temporarily

Going out for a walk will help you unwind and calm down. Your friend can also use this time to relax and think about how you hurt him.

  • Speaking and acting out of anger can lead to nervous arguments and no turning back. Remember that you cannot take back what you say during a tantrum, in which case it may be better not to say anything.
  • Inform your friend that you will be out to calm down, but that you will be back. If you leave without warning, he may think he is simply leaving.
  • Leave only if it's safe! Do not get out of the car in the middle of a highway or in a place that has no sidewalk or shoulder, for example.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 3

Step 3. Try relaxation techniques

If you can't go for a walk, remove yourself from your friend's presence for a few minutes and take the time to put some relaxation strategies into practice. Don't think about the situation; focus on overcoming it as soon as possible.

  • Try deep breathing. Breathe in through your diaphragm (below your rib cage) instead of through your chest to establish a slower, more relaxed breathing pattern.
  • Think of relaxing and fun things to stop focusing on the frustration of the situation.
  • Repeat relaxing mantras such as "The breath will calm me down" or "This won't matter in a few months" to move away from anger and resentment.

Part 2 of 3: Dealing With Your Friend's Behavior

Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 4

Step 1. Discuss the behavior directly

After calming down, call your friend to sit down and discuss what happened. Control hostility and don't turn the conversation into a confrontation. Sit down and talk directly about what happened.

  • You have to be completely calm when sitting down to discuss the incident.
  • Say what was said hurt you.
  • Avoid absolute sentences. Always speak in the first person singular, with phrases such as "I was very insulted by what I said" or "I felt I was disrespected when I said that".
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 5

Step 2. Identify harmful behavior patterns

Perhaps your friend has behaved like this in the past without you realizing it. In many cases, even he doesn't realize what he's done. Behavior takes many forms, but there are six main and common categories. See if his behavior fits one of them:

  • Defamation: Generalizations used to define a person negatively all the time.
  • Abandonment threats: Using threats and harmful phrases to show disinterest and make the other person feel useless.
  • Invalidations: generalizations used to invalidate the other's thoughts and feelings.
  • Threats of exile: telling the other person that you don't want them in your life (similar to threats of abandonment, but more serious).
  • Hostile challenges: questioning the other's ability to think, feel and behave in a certain way (including frequent and excessive use of sarcasm).
  • Preaching: Trying to use an unquestionable and absolute source to prove your point of life and belittle the other.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 6

Step 3. Confront repeated behavior

It doesn't matter whether the friend has hurt you with words or actions, the result is the same: shame, alienation and resentment. If you recognize any of the above patterns, talk to them right away and tell them you can't keep doing it.

  • Analyze the surroundings. If there is any possibility that your friend will resort to violence, do not confront him. Take care of your safety first at all times.
  • Remember that repeated incidents can scar a relationship. Over time, you will feel more and more resentful towards the other person.
  • Ask how he would feel if someone he loves (for example, one of his parents) saw him doing what he did. Would he be ashamed?
  • When he calms down, indicate the other times he has behaved like this. He needs to know that this pattern of behavior is negative and needs to be changed if he values ​​your friendship.
  • If it happens again, remind him of the conversation they had. Explain that you will not accept this behavior passively and that he needs to control the problem if he wants to maintain your friendship.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 7

Step 4. Let him respond

Dialogue is critical to conflict resolution. Put yourself in his shoes: how would you feel if he continued to hurt you without being able to respond?

  • Let him explain and be open to what he has to say.
  • Your friend may have said what he said out of nervousness and with no ill intentions. The whole situation could also have been a misunderstanding. Think about the possibility that you have misinterpreted your friend!
  • Let him process what he just said and respond. Trust him to change from now on.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 8

Step 5. Keep compassion

As you discuss the behavior, remain calm and compassionate. He's your friend and you probably have a long history together; you don't want to put everything to waste by an incident, right?

  • Give the benefit of the doubt and don't hold a grudge!
  • Don't ignore comments and actions, but respond calmly and compassionately.
  • Remember that people often hurt others when they are hurting. When you look at it that way, it's easier to feel bad for the person who hurt you.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 9

Step 6. See if you can keep the friendship going

Depending on what happened, you may be thinking about severing the person, but remember that this can be an extreme reaction to what happened. Only you can decide what you can overcome, but many people agree that a little time and patience is all it takes to forgive a friend.

  • If the friend hasn't done anything devastating or threatening (such as an act of physical violence or actual emotional abuse), consider reconciling with him.
  • Identify symptoms of emotional abuse. Real friends must not curse, yell, belittle, threaten or control each other. You are better than this! Do not accept abuse from anyone, especially friends and partners.
  • If he threatens you in any way, back off! Violence must not be tolerated.
  • If you believe that he will not be able to correct the behavior and will continue to hurt him, consider the real possibility of putting an end to the relationship.
  • Let the decision settle for a while. Just as you should avoid talking in the heat of the moment, you should wait a few days before you officially end your friendship.
  • Avoid it for a few days to see if the friendship deserves to be saved or not. After a while, discuss your plans with a trusted person and go clarify the situation with your friend.

Part 3 of 3: Moving Forward

Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 10

Step 1. Reflect on the situation

If you've already taken time to calm down and discussed the situation with your friend, now's the time to think about everything that happened. Obviously, you shouldn't dwell on your hurts or mentally replay the situation, but rather reflect for a moment on what happened and try to understand the situation better.

  • Think objectively about what happened. Forget your feelings; just think about what was done or said and your friend's possible intentions.
  • Analyze your reaction. Did you handle the situation well? Was it possible to better control your feelings so that the conflict would not evolve?
  • Think about how the conflict may have affected your life, including your well-being and self-esteem.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 11

Step 2. Let go of the hurts

You have to make a conscious decision to do this. You can stew through the anger and pain or let it go and get on with your life. Obviously, you don't have to ignore your pain, just acknowledge it and decide not to live in the past.

  • By deciding not to dwell on the past and the pain, you will begin to recover from what happened.
  • The conscious decision to get over the hurt can create a sense of control in you. It will help you recognize that you are able to choose what controls your life.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 12

Step 3. Stop seeing yourself as a victim

This can be very difficult as the hurt remains even after the anger and resentment is overcome. It's very common to see yourself as a victim when you're hurt, but this kind of mindset just keeps giving control of your life to your friend and the situation.

  • Seeing yourself as a victim will only maintain that status. Your friend (or ex-friend, depending on the case) will continue to be the dominating presence in the situation.
  • When you stop defining life by the way you've been hurt, you'll feel better. Obviously, this can take some time, but it's worth the effort.
Deal With Friends That Hurt You Step 13

Step 4. Forgive and move on

Forgiveness isn't easy, especially when you're really hurt. Strive to move on after painful experiences to find happiness and peace.

  • Forgiving does not mean forgetting! The idea is to stop dwelling on anger and resentment.
  • Forgiveness is the logical step after overcoming hurt and victimization. Without forgiveness, you can never get over the pain.
  • To forgive a friend you have to forgive yourself. If you played a role in what happened or said you regret in the heat of the moment, get over it!
  • After forgiving everyone involved, you will be able to move forward. It doesn't matter if the friendship continues or not, you will be able to get through this experience.


  • Dismiss minor insults with a laugh. If the situation recurs, be serious and say calmly and firmly that you have been hurt.
  • Remember, there's a reason they're friends. Don't let an isolated incident ruin your friendship.
  • Be honest with yourself. If he's not a good friend, leave him.


  • Do not tolerate physical or emotional abuse. Don't let a friend keep hurting you. If that happens, end the friendship for its own sake.
  • Never speak out of anger.
  • Do not resort to violence or aggression. Never respond with angry words! Take it easy and discuss the situation in healthy dialogue.

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