10/01/2013 12:18 GMT | Updated 12/03/2013 05:12 GMT

How to Fix a Friendship - Five Top Tips

Friendships; where would we be without them! I find it incredibly sad when I hear of people who don't have any friends. How lonely it must be. After all, your friends, unlike family, are there because you want to be a part of each others' lives not because you're bound by blood.

A friendship breakup can be very painful. I've seen people beside themselves when they've learnt that their so-called friend has suddenly started acting unlike a friend and has in fact, become a stranger. The fact that people will seek out relationship counselling or relationship coaching to repair their friendship shows how very important fixing a friendship can be for some people. It can be like losing a member of your family when you're not on good terms with an important friend. Sometimes you realise that you have to bid them farewell and that this is the end of the road for you both. However, if you are still intent on fixing that friendship then here are five top tips:

Tip 1

Openly discuss your feelings about the situation, not your thoughts on who's to blame. Everyone views the world through their own subjective view and this then informs their personal feelings and resulting behaviour. Without genuine empathy for the other person's perceptions and feelings, you cannot build an understanding relationship between you. Think about the people in your life that just "get you". That's what brilliant relationships are made of. An exhilarating feeling of being deeply understood. That's also what soul mates are made of. Remember, a soul mate can exist in any relationship, not just a romantic one, and you can have more than one soul mate at any one time.

Tip 2

Express discontent for the behaviour, not the person instigating it. This way you are not insulting the person as they are not defined by their behaviour. It's just an action they have taken in that given situation. It's not necessarily who they are at their core. Consequently, they will become less defensive when listening to what you have to say.

Tip 3

Where necessary, acknowledge your own wrongdoings and sincerely apologise for them. It demonstrates your respect for the other person and the friendship itself. A simple sincere apology goes a long way. Giving someone 'lip service' can do more damage than good. Personally, I would rather someone not apologise than give me a fake apology as that then shows that person to be deceitful and disingenuous.

Tip 4

Over time, with your words and actions, you must always let your friends know what you expect and are willing to accept if they are to have a successful relationship with you.

Tip 5

Nip problems in the bud. Discuss how you will broach future concerns in a pre-agreed way so that you can easily instigate open dialogue about what's bothering you without feeling anxious about having to do so. A funny code word can help, e.g. bungle.

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