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Do you treat your friends with love and respect, but when it’s their turn, they let you down? Do you end up feeling resentful when your friends just don’t give into the friendship as much as you do?  

Knowing how to deal with this resentment in a positive way—or even better, avoiding it altogether—is an essential pat of mending a broken relationship or preventing your current friendships from being torn apart.

This article will give you a clear understanding of why you have built up resentment in the first place and how to prevent losing relationships you care about.

How Are Your Friendships Holding Up?

Since you are reading this article, we can assume that friends are very important to you—so much so, that you do your best not to hurt them in any way. You may be very surprised and end up feeling frustrated when your friends act in ways that are completely different than you would act towards them. This frustration and upset can cause you to reject any apologies they offer, feel a great deal of resentment and hurt feelings, and can even result in you ending the relationship altogether.

We are not surprised that you might react in this way, nor are we surprised that it causes you to feel resentful and anger. Most of us live in cultures that teach us to always identify who’s right and who’s wrong, who is acting appropriately and who is not. Because we are taught this at such a young age, when something happens we tend to immediately focus our attention on who’s "right" in the situation and who needs to be punished because they are "wrong".

"Right" And "Wrong" Thinking Creates Separation  

The biggest problem with this “right” and “wrong” thinking is that it creates separation and leaves very limited access for working things out. (Not to mention, it's one of the top causes of resentment.) You could ask 10 people if your friends behaved badly in a situation and you might be able to get all 10 people to agree with you that your friends should’ve acted differently. This might make you “right” (in your eyes and in the eyes of 10 other people), but does it make you happy?

When something happens and you have a conversation with another person when you believe that you‘re right (justified in your opinion) and that the other person is wrong (they are a bad friend and should have acted more appropriately), this usually creates an outcome where no one ends up completely happy. And not surprisingly, such discussions often lead to resentment and hurt feelings.

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life

Changing this scenario only becomes possible by making a conscious choice: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? This is by no means about you giving up on what’s important to you—it’s simply about letting go of your "right or wrong" thinking. If you choose to be happy—great! But to do this you need to understand that everything everyone does or says is always because they‘re trying to meet their needs, or support something they deeply value. Keeping this in mind frees you from the desire to react defensively and opens the door to sincere compassion for other people.  

It's Not About You! So, don't take it personally!*  

Next time you face a situation that upsets you, stop and decide to be happy. Consider other possible ways to interpret these situations. For example:

• You may want your friend to call you when you are sick, but your friend believes if they call they would be bothering you.
• You may remember all your friends' birthdays, send cards and call to say happy birthday, but one of your friends may have had very unhappy birthdays and would rather forget birthdays altogether.
• You may stop and talk to your friends even if you‘re busy, but when you call a friend and want to talk they may be very tired and want to get off the phone to rest.  

Does this make their actions “wrong“, or do they just need something different than you?

In these situations, if you only attempt to identify who’s "right" and who's "wrong" you limit yourself from discovering possibilities that could satisfy everyone involved.  

Do You Want to Be Right or Do You Want to Be Happy?

If you want to be happy and retain your friendships, it’s important to begin thinking about upsetting situations from a more detached place. From this place of detachment you can begin to explore the situation, identify what might be motivating your friend’s actions, and then come up with ways you can create mutually satisfying outcomes. To open yourself to this new mindset, begin by asking yourself questions such as:

• "What’s important to me in this situation?"
• “What might be going on for them that had them behave this way?”
• "What’s important to them in this situation?"
• "What strategies can we come up with together that might work for both of us?"

So, the next time someone says or does something and you find yourself with hurt feelings, STOP and remember—don’t take it personally. Be curious about what may be behind their unpleasant words or actions. Say things to yourself such as, "WOW, that seems like a strange thing to say, I wonder what’s going on with them?" Next, imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself, "If I said or did that, what might be going on with me?"  

Then, if you still want to talk to your friends about what happened, begin a conversation with the intention of coming up with ways you can resolve the situation that will work for everyone involved. When you begin having this kind of relationship with your friends you’ll start down the path to a much happier, more satisfying life filled with life-long friendships.

Think about taking another step to bettering your friendships by learning more about this personal growth and self-help techniques. Sign up for our free thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at: [Link Removed] 

This series offers useful tips on how to mend broken relationships and how to get the most satisfaction out of your current relationships with friends in both your personal and professional life.

Or visit our blog today by going to: [Link Removed] 

Beth, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 26, 2009
    • Good article! In the last 10 yrs or so I have tried to ask myself the above questions and decide which is more important. Most of the time if I let it go I am better off.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bleumoon wrote May 5, 2009
    • Unfortunately, I think this article doesn't address that oftentimes hurt feelings don't always go away so easily.

      When people in our lives let us down, yes, of course, we can choose to ignore their poor behavior and we might be happier in the long run, and in the short run, it can be hard to let go of the hurt.

      Maybe an additional article on how to resolve those feelings would be goo.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda James-Laville wrote Mar 7, 2010
    • Hm, I’m in agreement with the idea of trying to figure out what is motivating their behaviors but at the same time there are certain individuals that you may be associated with that are in constant pain, fear and sorrow and the only way they know how to handle all of it is to dump it on you.  Believe me, I’ve got 38 years of experience with someone like this.  Nothing I did, nothing I said, ever made any difference to this person.  The only thing that worked was capitulation.  That’s why I had to leave him, eventually, there was no where for our relationship to go and it wasn’t going to get better because almost nothing in 38 years ever got resolved.  Sometimes you do have to make the decision to cut your losses and move forward without them.  This can apply to family members and friends as well.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vstar wrote Mar 8, 2010
    • I liked this article to a point.  What I feel has been unaddressed is the fact that when a friend lets you down, you can ask yourself the motivation behind their actions and try to see things from their perspective.  Unfortunately when the friend repeatedly acts badly it gets to a point where you need some accountability.  I have a friend where it seems that I do all of the calling.  I have spoken to her about this as recently as last week.  She gives me excuses of how busy she is, as if I’m not as busy.  The bottom line is that when you cherish and respect a friendship you put the work in.  You invest the time, energy and whatever else it takes to continue that relationship.  When you have a person who makes excuses and the behavior does not change, you have every right to be irritated, as I am right now.  My girlfriend and I have been bestfriends for about 15 years.  We have gone through alot of ups and downs in our personal lives but she and I have always remained great friends.  I’m not going to dump her as my friend just because she’s stopped calling.  I do understand that there may be things she’s going through right now. What I will do will just back off and give her some time to herself.  If she really wanted to talk to me, she’d call especially when I have brought this to her attention.

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