How to talk to your friends when they hurt your feelings

From planning out your matching Halloween costumes to having deep, late-night chats, good friends can have you feeling like you're on cloud nine.

But while friendships hold a special place in our hearts, our friends aren't perfect—and sometimes, they mess up.

Whether it be spilling that really embarrassing secret they promised to seal their lips about or forgetting about those plans you made weeks ago, confronting your BFF about a mistake can be, well, kinda scary. How do you tell someone who's so close to you that *they* hurt your feelings without hurting *their* feelings?

Don't sweat it, bb. We've got a few tips to let your bestie know they slipped up, minus the awkwardness.

Skip the text convo

We're all for getting the girls together via GC, but when it comes to letting a friend know how you feel, sending texts probably isn't the way to go. Texts tend to be really tricky because the other person has no way of knowing the tone of your message. In tense moments like these, your bestie might think that your super sincere paragraph is sarcastic or hurtful—and the last thing you want is for the situation to worsen over a miscommunication.

As nerve-wracking as picking up the phone or even seeing your bestie IRL can be, being uncomfortable for a little bit now can save your relationship from future issues down the road.

Fight the problem, not each other


Maybe you start to have that tricky convo with your friend but realize the two of you are starting to argue back and forth instead of reaching a solution. This can be frustrating, so take a step back before saying something hurtful. 

If you know you want to keep this friendship, it's important to remember that you and your bestie are on the same team. It might be helpful to think about the current sitch as the two of you fighting the problem together instead of pointing fingers at one another to decide who's in the wrong. Putting both of your brains together to find a solution and listening to one another's perspectives will help avoid a BFF fight and ultimately strengthen your friendship.

Use "I" statements, not "you" statements

Which sounds better?

1. "I felt really self-conscious when you started talking about the way my nose looked today. It really frustrated me because it's a big insecurity of mine, and I wish you wouldn't discuss other people's bodies."

Or, 2."You *insert curse word here,* how could you ever think to comment on my makeup today? You're incredibly rude and you don't realize it, and you make everyone annoyed all the time."

Spoiler alert: Number one is the way to go. Even if you feel like saying something like number two, you'll be way more productive and peaceful if you use "I" statements instead of "you" statements in your confrontation. 

Figure out if the friendship is irreparable or not

OK, so the confrontation ended, and you're going through all the things that you two said. Did your friend use phrases like "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I don't know why this is such a big deal to you?" Did they skirt around apologizing and instead focus on how *you're* overreacting?

No matter how hard you try, some friendships are just meant to come to a close, especially if your bestie won't take accountability for their actions. If you felt disrespected or like they did not listen to your warranted grievances, it might be time to end this relationship. We know bestie break-ups can be devastating (trust us, we've been there). But just remember: You do not deserve disrespect.

Forgive, but don't forget

If a problem was hefty enough to warrant a convo between you two, it must have been significant to you. Whether she hosted a party without inviting you or continuously treated you like a second choice to that other gal from theater, your friends' past actions are important to take note of for your future relationship. It's okay (and encouraged!) to move on from most disputes and return to regular life with your bestie, but try to keep those bigger mistakes in the back of your mind—it'll help prevent history from repeating itself. 

Slider image: @momonatamada
Top image: @mckennagraceful
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by Julia Szymanski and Annika Chaves | 9/2/2023