disagreement between two people

Having Clashing Values with a Friend: What to Do

Friendships are a wonderful thing to have. They’re there to support and comfort us, sharing our joys and sorrows every step of the way. However, there will always be times wherein conflicts arise. Miscommunications and differences in needs often cause these strifes, but they sometimes come up because of deeper issues: a clash of values.

Each of us has values that we hold dear—these deeply rooted beliefs guide our thoughts, behaviors, and the decisions we make in our everyday lives. Because each individual has a unique set of views, it’s almost impossible to have a friend that shares the same exact virtues we have. These differences can result in heated arguments and strained relationships.

What should one do when a good friend doesn’t share the same beliefs? Most of the time, there are good ways to de-escalate situations and reach agreements to maintain friendships despite differences in opinion. Here are some tips to help you manage clashing values:

1 – Acknowledge Their Positive Qualities

When we argue with our friends, it may be easy to get carried away and attack the whole person instead of addressing their beliefs. Arguments can be rather intense when it comes to clashing values, but it’s vital to remember that our goal should be to resolve conflicts rather than burn bridges.

Before barraging the other party with insults, it’s best to remember the friend we’re talking with—acknowledge their positive qualities and the things you share in common. These often help people reach agreements more quickly in values conflicts. You’ll be better equipped to negotiate a resolution with your friend, and you’ll explain your side more clearly without resentment.

2 – Choose What to Address or Dismiss

Some values conflicts are too petty to argue over and are not worth the stress of fighting or losing a friend. If the cause of the argument will not likely harm anyone, it might be best to simply agree to disagree. For example, your friend may value spending holidays at home instead of going out with other people—these types of issues are not something to end friendships over.

Although some value conflicts are easy to ignore, others need to be addressed. It’s best to listen to both sides of the argument and keep an open mind. Many of our beliefs are deeply ingrained in our personalities, but we sometimes learn things that give us new perspectives.

3 – Reach a Compromise

Having meaningful and respectful conversations with our friends regarding values can help us reach a compromise. Resolution can come in many forms—acknowledging mistakes, agreeing not to bring up specific topics, or putting things on hold until both parties reach an agreement. The best thing to do is find a solution that works for both of you.

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Our friends are often a blessing to have, and there are some people in our lives who we can’t afford to lose. Differences in values are a normal part of life, and arguments will often happen even with the people closest to us. However, we must not let these conflicts consume our well-being and mental state—it’s always best to keep an open mind and foster our relationships.

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