How to Fix a Broken Friendship (20 Ways)

Have you ever had a friendship that took a bit of a tumble? We’ve all been there—those moments when a once-strong bond with a friend hits a snag. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding, a disagreement, or life just got in the way.

Whatever the reason, the question is, where do you even begin to patch things up? Can you rekindle the magic that made your friendship great to begin with?

Fixing a friendship and getting through that rough situation might not happen fast, but step by step, you can rebuild what’s been broken. Keep reading to find out how to turn a corner and start afresh.

Acknowledge Your Faults

It all starts with a bit of self-reflection. Before you reach out, take a quiet moment to think about what went wrong. And I mean really think. It’s about being honest with yourself and identifying the role you played in the fallout of your friendship. 

It takes a strong person to admit they’re wrong, but it’s also the first step towards a solution. Be willing to:

  • Look back on your actions and words
  • Recognize the pain you might have caused
  • Understand how your behavior affected the friendship

Now, this doesn’t mean you shoulder all the blame—after all, it takes two to tango, right? But owning up to your share sets the stage for an open and genuine conversation. It’s like sweeping your side of the street clean; it’s necessary before you can invite someone else to do the same.

Offer a Sincere Apology

Apologizing is a delicate art. When you’ve recognized how your actions might have hurt your friend, the next step is to sincerely share your feelings of regret. 

A genuine apology comes from the heart and doesn’t try to justify your actions or shift the blame. It’s like saying, “Hey, I know what I did was wrong, and I’m really sorry I hurt you.

For instance, you canceled on your friend at the last minute, not once but a few times, and now they’re upset because they feel unimportant to you. 

Here’s how you can apologize: sit down with them, maybe over a cup of coffee, and say, “I realize how flaking on our plans at the last minute may have made you feel like I don’t value our friendship. That was never my intention, and I’m truly sorry for letting you down.

It’s not just about the words, though. Your tone and body language should echo your remorse. It shows that you understand the pain you’ve caused and feel it, too. Your friend will likely appreciate this honesty, which can pave the way for true healing and the possibility of a fresh start.

Initiate the Conversation

Alright, so you’ve done some soul-searching and prepared an apology from the heart. Now, how do you get this whole fixing-up friendship thing off the ground? 

You’ve got to bite the bullet and reach out. It can be daunting, I know. But, my friend, the risk is worth the reward of possibly mending a valued friendship.

When you’re ready to talk:

  1. Choose a comfortable way to initiate contact—text, call, or in-person
  2. Suggest a neutral place where you both feel at ease to discuss
  3. Pick a time when both of you aren’t rushed or stressed

This step is like setting up the stage before a big performance. Just like I mentioned earlier about apology, it’s about showing that you value them and the relationship enough to take that first step. 

It’s not about getting into all the gritty details just yet—it’s about opening the door to communication and showing a willingness to listen and understand each other again.

Practice Active Listening

When it’s time to have that heart-to-heart, remember it’s not just about you talking; it’s equally, if not more, important to listen. And not just the kind of listening where you’re waiting for your turn to speak—I’m talking about active listening. 

This means you’re fully engaged, making eye contact, and giving nods that show you’re processing what they’re saying, really trying to understand where they’re coming from. It’s about hearing their words and also catching the emotions behind them.

Active listening can look like this:

  • When your friend is speaking, focus on their words without interrupting.
  • If something isn’t clear, ask questions to clarify—it shows you care about understanding their point of view.
  • Paraphrase or summarize what they’ve said to confirm you’ve got it right.

It can be a relief to feel understood, and that’s what you want to give your friend. A listening ear can be your most comforting gift during a tough chat.

Respect Their Feelings and Perspective

Our perspectives can be as different as our favorite ice cream flavors, and respecting that variety is vital in any friendship. 

You might see the situation one way, but your friend has their own take, and it’s valid, too. So, when you’re both laying your cards on the table, remember to approach their feelings with the same respect you’d want for your own.

This means:

  • Don’t dismiss their feelings, even if you don’t fully understand them.
  • Avoid saying things like “You shouldn’t feel that way“—instead, acknowledge that their feelings are real to them.
  • Recognize that their experiences and emotions are their truth, and they matter.

This step is crucial. Showing respect for their feelings can create a safe space for both of you. It helps build a foundation where trust can be rebuilt, piece by piece.

Be Open to Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the bridge that connects the efforts you’ve made to fix things to the chance for your friendship to thrive again. It’s not just about them forgiving you, though—it’s also about you being ready to forgive them. 

See, forgiveness is a two-way street. It’s a commitment to leave the hurt in the past and not to bring it up every time there’s a bump in the road.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting; it’s about choosing to heal and not letting past hurts control your relationship’s future. It’s also a process—sometimes slow and sometimes challenging—but always worth it when you think about the value of a true friend. 

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Be Patient and Give Space

Sometimes, fixing a friendship doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like planting a seed—you water it and give it plenty of sunlight, but it still takes time to grow. The same goes for friendships on the mend. 

After laying all your cards on the table, give your friend time to process things. They might need space to think, forgive, or miss you. Patience here is indeed a virtue.

When you’re in the waiting game:

  • Remember that everyone processes emotions at their own pace. You may be ready to move forward, but your friend might need a bit more time.
  • Stepping back a bit can actually be a sign of strength and respect. It lets your friend know that you understand their need for space.

It’s tough, I know. You might be itching to get back to how things were, but healing is a process.

Address the Elephant in the Room

Let’s be honest: there’s probably a big, uncomfortable reason your friendship hit a rough patch. Dancing around the issue won’t do anyone any good. You’ve got to face it head-on to heal properly.

Facing the elephant in the room looks something like this:

  • Once you’ve heard each other out, acknowledge the big issue that’s been keeping you apart.
  • Talk about it openly and honestly, without pointing fingers.

This conversation will probably be a tough one, and that’s okay. Sometimes, the healing comes after the hard parts. 

Show Consistency in Your Actions

If talk is cheap, then actions are golden. It’s one thing to apologize and make promises, but those words need legs to walk the talk. 

Be consistent in how you treat your friend and the commitments you make moving forward. This might mean showing up when you say you will or checking in regularly just to see how they’re doing.

And remember, this doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. We’re only human, after all. But your effort to show up consistently—to be reliable and trustworthy—can do wonders for your friendship’s healing journey. It’s these actions over time that will prove, beyond any spoken apology, how much you value your friend and the bond you share.

Set Boundaries Moving Forward

In any healthy relationship, boundaries are key. Think of them as guidelines that help each person feel safe and respected. After you’ve addressed issues and started to rebuild your friendship, it’s crucial to agree on what’s okay and what’s not. 

This isn’t about building walls between you; it’s about laying out a clear path that allows both of you to walk side by side without stepping on each other’s toes.

Here’s an example: If you’ve had issues with communication in the past, a new boundary might be establishing a regular check-in schedule. Agree on a time that works for both of you to catch up.

Setting boundaries helps prevent repeat issues and shows that you both are taking this second chance seriously. Just be sure those boundaries are reasonable and reciprocal.

Be Transparent About Your Intentions

When working on fixing a friendship, being clear about your intentions is crucial. It’s all about ensuring that both of you know what you want from this reconciliation process. No hidden agendas, no reading between the lines—just the plain truth.

Being transparent might involve:

  • Discussing what you both want to change about the friendship.
  • Sharing how you plan to address issues differently this time around.

Remember earlier when we talked about offering a sincere apology? That’s where transparency starts. It’s about continuing that honesty throughout your efforts to reconnect.

Make an Effort to Reconnect

Now that you’re on the path to mend things, it’s time to actively strengthen the connection. Don’t wait for your friend to make all the moves. Show them you’re invested in this friendship by reaching out to hang out or even just sending a funny meme to lighten the mood.

This step is where patience meets action. It’s not enough to just say you want to make things right; you’ve got to put in the work. Your commitment to reconnecting will speak volumes to your friend. 

Here’s how you can make an effort to reconnect:

  • Share experiences or interests that brought you together in the past.
  • Suggest new activities or hobbies you can explore together.

Commit to the Process of Healing

Just like recovering from a physical injury, the process of healing a friendship can be a journey with ups and downs. It’s important to commit to this process and be aware that it might take time and effort from both sides. 

Here’s what committing to healing might involve:

  • Recognizing that setbacks are part of the process, not reasons to give up.
  • Celebrating small victories and progress within the friendship.
  • Staying focused on the goal of a restored, healthier relationship.

This commitment asserts that you’re in it for the long haul, conveying to your friend that your efforts aren’t fleeting but are grounded in the desire for lasting change and growth within the friendship.

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.

– Akshay Dubey

Provide Mutual Support

Friendships are, at their core, about mutual support. It’s about being there for each other, not just when the sun’s shining but also when the rain pours. 

Providing mutual support looks like this:

  • Celebrating each other’s successes and being a cheerleader for their achievements.
  • Offering a shoulder to lean on during the tough times, even if it’s just listening to them vent.
  • Sharing resources and advice, or just being present in moments of need.

It’s a give-and-take dynamic; support flows both ways. It’s also a reaffirmation of the trust and respect you’ve been rebuilding—you’re showing that the friendship can once again be a source of strength and positivity for both parties.

Agree to Disagree on Certain Issues

It’s a given—no two people will agree on absolutely everything. And hey, that’s perfectly alright. Friendships involve diverse perspectives; sometimes, agreeing to disagree allows you to accept each other’s viewpoints without causing conflict. 

This doesn’t mean you disregard important values or beliefs, but rather that you recognize some differences can coexist without damaging the friendship.

For example, maybe you have different political views. Instead of debating every news event, you focus on what unifies you, like your shared love for hiking or old movies.

Accepting that disagreements are a part of life—and not letting them overshadow the good in your friendship—is a way to maintain peace and mutual respect. It’s about embracing the richness of your differences and allowing them to add depth to your relationship, not strife.

Celebrate Each Other’s Successes

One of the joys of having friends is sharing triumphs together. When your friend reaches a milestone or achieves something, be their biggest fan. Celebrating their successes not only strengthens your bond but also contributes positively to their self-esteem and happiness—and yours, too!

You can:

  • Send them a congratulatory message or call them to express how proud you are.
  • Take them out to celebrate, whether it’s a coffee date or a fun outing.
  • Give a thoughtful gift or a simple card that commemorates their achievement.

These actions remind your friend that their accomplishments are recognized and valued. After going through a rough patch, this positive reinforcement serves as a lovely reminder of why your friendship is worth all the effort.

Engage in New Activities Together

Trying out new hobbies or activities together is a fantastic way to add fresh energy to your rebuilt friendship. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s something simple or something that takes you way out of your comfort zone—what’s important is that you’re doing it together, creating new memories to share.

Here are some ideas for new activities:

  • Join a class or workshop that interests you both, like pottery or dance.
  • Plan a weekend trip to a place neither of you has been to before.
  • Start a two-person book or movie club.

Stepping into new experiences can help reshape the dynamics of your friendship in a positive and exciting way. You get to learn more about each other, and you both grow in the process.

Remind Them of Your Appreciation

A simple “thank you” can go a long way, especially when it’s heartfelt and specific. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget to express our appreciation for the people who matter to us. 

Reminding your friend how much you value them is essential, especially when you’ve been through tough times together.

For example, you could say: “I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you always being there to listen. You’ve got a knack for making rough days smoother.

It’s about making them feel seen and valued for who they are and what they contribute to your life. This kind of affirmation is crucial when you’re working on fixing and strengthening your bond.

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.

— Dalai Lama

Seek Mediation if Needed

If you find yourselves stuck in the same old arguments or unable to move past a certain point, seeking mediation could be a wise decision. 

Mediation doesn’t mean you’re failing; it actually shows a strong commitment to the friendship by involving a neutral third party who can help guide you through the rough patches.

Consider these points:

  • Think of a trusted mutual friend who understands you both and can offer an impartial perspective.
  • If the issues are deeply rooted, a professional counselor can facilitate dialogue in a structured environment.
  • Group therapy sessions or conflict resolution workshops might also be beneficial.

Mediation offers a conducive space for both parties to communicate effectively, and sometimes, having someone guide the conversation leads to breakthroughs that might not have been possible alone.

Remember the Good Times

While fixing a broken friendship involves addressing the negatives, it’s equally important to remember the positives. Recalling the good times helps remind you why the friendship is worth repairing in the first place. 

Sharing a laugh about a past adventure or an inside joke can breathe life back into your bond. You can also:

  • Look through old photos or messages to reminisce on fond memories.
  • Bring up those hilarious and heartwarming moments during conversations to lighten the mood.

These memories are the treasures that make your friendship special and can often reignite the connection that brought you close together—it gives you something bright to focus on even when things seem dark.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a broken friendship ever be the same again?

A broken friendship has the potential to recover and even grow stronger if both friends are willing to put in the effort to understand and forgive each other.

The friendship may change in some ways, but these changes can often lead to a more mature and resilient relationship.

If my friend isn’t responding to my attempts to communicate, what should I do?

Give them space: Continuing to reach out can sometimes be overwhelming. Stepping back respects their need for time.

Reflect on your approach: Consider if there’s a better way or time to reach out.

Stay open: Let them know you’re available to talk when they’re ready.

How long does it take to fix a broken friendship?

The time it takes to repair a broken friendship varies greatly. It depends on the depth of the hurt and the willingness of both parties to work through the issues. It could take days, weeks, or even months. Patience and commitment to the process are key.

How can we prevent future misunderstandings in our friendship?

Communicate regularly and clearly: Regular check-ins can help ensure both friends are on the same page.

Set expectations: Discuss what each of you expects from the friendship.

Practice active listening: Really hear what your friend is saying, and ask for clarification if something isn’t clear.

Be honest: Share your feelings openly to avoid harboring any resentment that could lead to misunderstandings.

Resolve issues as they arise: Don’t let small problems fester and grow into bigger ones.

Final Thoughts

Remember that fixing a broken friendship isn’t just about what you do but also about what you’re willing to give: time, understanding, and a bit of your heart. Each step—from saying sorry to trying new things together is a piece of the puzzle that can help bring a lost friendship back to life.

Think of the joy that a good friend adds to your days. That’s what you’re working for—a friendship that’s stronger and richer because it’s been through the tough times and come out shining on the other side.

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Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.