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My friend hates me and won't tell me why.

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One of my friends has decided that she hates me. I have guesses about why she might be mad at me, but she won’t talk to me. I just want to know what I did wrong. How do I get her to talk?—Honolulu Girl, 15


Shayna Answers:

Dear Honolulu Girl,

The best thing you can do right now is give your friend the time and space she’s asking for. By avoiding you, she is indirectly communicating that she is either not ready to talk to you, or not able to talk to you. This doesn’t mean she’ll never talk to you again.
 
People take different periods of time to process their emotions. Even though you aren’t even aware of what you might have done, your friend is clearly not ready to talk about things.
 
I agree that not knowing why your friend is mad can be frustrating. But if you have guesses as to what may have happened, then you already have a leg up. Try to think about the situation objectively, and fairly acknowledge what you may have done wrong. We all make mistakes in our relationships, and because of the nature of sin we’re frequently hurtful to others—even unintentionally!
 
Be prepared to apologize for what you’ve done wrong. At the very least, explain your actions. In the meantime, don’t keep pushing your friend to talk by either changing your behavior or harassing her into changing hers.
Don’t call multiple times a day or send texts asking her what’s wrong or why she hates you. Instead, try sending a simple message like, “I’m really sorry you’re upset. I respect your space. So whenever you want to talk, I’ll be here.” Then, stop talking!
 
Don’t feel compelled to keep fixing the situation. Your message will communicate that you’re open to rectifying the misunderstanding, but that you’re willing to wait patiently until she’s ready.
 
Galatians 5:22, 23 reminds us that patience and gentleness are both fruits of the spirit. It’s not always easy to exercise patience and gentleness, but both are important during disagreements. Having patience with your friend will give her time to cool off and avoid saying something she might regret. It’ll also give her a chance to see the situation more objectively—she may even apologize to you for spaz-zing out unnecessarily!
 
As for you, Matthew 18:22 reminds us to forgive “seventy-seven times.” And the parable of the unmerciful servant, also in Matthew 18, demonstrates that if we want to be forgiven for what we’ve done wrong, we should be equally willing to forgive those who are hurting us.
 
It’s also likely that if you make a conscious decision to be patient and gentle with her, you’ll be better able to accept your friend’s words with the right attitude. The more we push people to operate on our time, the more frustrating it gets when they don’t. So let go of the situation by asking God to unify you and your friend. Then trust Him while you wait for it to happen.
 
No matter what your friend says to you, she probably doesn’t hate you. Strong friendships are tough enough to endure misunderstandings, disagreements, and outright fighting.  Hopefully, as your friend matures, she'll grow out of using words that aren't as definitive as “hate.” And, hopefully she won’t abandon your friendship over whatever has happened.
 


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