- FORGET THE ARGUMENT. ‘Most conflict is over matters of little substance and often what’s at stake is pride,’ says communications expert Roger Darlington. Ask youself, what’s more important – the issue you feel out over, of your friendship? In order to resolve the conflict, let go of needing to be right. If you’re not ready to do that, then it might be too soon to try to repair your friendship.
- ESTABLISH RESPECT. If tensions are still high, the getting a third party involved can be an effective way of communicating how you feel. David J Lieberman, author of Make Peace with Anyone (St Martin’s Press, £9.99) advises picking a mutual friend and telling them how much you respect your estranged friend. Hopefully it will get back to them, and it will sound more sincere than if it had come straight from you.
- SHOW WILLING. According to author and psychologist Robert Cialdini, a leading authority on compliance, it is far easier to get someone to do something if you have already shown that you’re willing to do it – it’s a process called ‘reciprocal persuasion’. Make it clear that you are prepared to forgive and forget, and the other person should acquiesce more readily.
- BE HUMBLE. ‘When you are dealing with a person who feels threatened, self-deprecating behaviour is the optimal attitude,’ Lieberman says. Remember you’re trying to win the other person round, so trying to dominate the conversation will be counterproductive. Try sharing something about yourself that isn’t flattering, advises Lieberman as ‘it shows honesty and trust.’