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.

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