Fights in a friendship

We all know that friendship is one of the biggest blessings on earth. Countless philosophers right from Cicero to Aristotle to Ralph Waldo Emerson have elucidated so much on this subject. Yet we do not need to read all of them to know that fulfilling friendships are indeed great for one's mental and physical well-being, as a number of scientific studies have proven.

How do we choose our friends? Why do we become such good friends with some people? And finally how do friendships break?

The answers to the first two questions might be obvious upon a little reflection but the answer to the third question may not be so obvious. The reasons may be myriad and it might be complex. Friendships, like all relationships, need work to go into them, for them to flourish, grow and be enriching. Sometimes this work may come from just one person and that person might get tired of doing all the work. Sometimes the circumstances may change, the situations may change. Sometimes the people themselves might change.

If the friendship is a 'friendship of convenience' (for example I might be friends with a mother whose child goes to the same school as my child's. We might car-pool, share notes etc. But if my child changes school, the friendship may die) it may not last long. If the friendship is a 'friendship of shared interests' (for example you  might be friends with people who are at your once a week pottery class or you might be 'gym friends') then too it may last only as long as the interest lasts. Same is the case for 'office friends'. You might be friends for years yet when you change your job, your friendship changes too.

Then there are the 'childhood friends'. These days it is so easy (thanks to Facebook, Myspace, orkut and a multiple such sites) to connect with people from your past even if you do not want to. You might have been friends as children, but you may no longer be the same person that you were in school or college. You might have changed in a countless ways. As adults, when you try to recapture the same magic that you shared in college, more often than not, the friendship falls flat.

The best kind of friendship is that which is for a lifetime. The true test of any friendship is, of course time.

When two people are close, there are bound to be disagreements and there are bound to be fights. I would go a step further and say that if you have never had a fight with someone, then you obviously aren't close enough. It is only when we are truly comfortable with someone and we feel totally at ease and secure in a relationship, that we can 'fight'. Fights are needed for any relationship, including friendships, to grow. In fact how you sort out your fights can define the relationship and make it stronger and make your bond more solid.

But the catch here is that fights are scary things. Nobody likes conflicts.Each person has a different way of dealing with fights. Some people are terrified of conflicts and would bottle up hurt feelings and carry on like nothing has happened in the guise of 'forgiving'. Some people would shrink into a shell when confronted. Some people will just not 'hit back'. Depending on how the 'fight' is handled it can truly be the end of a relationship or it can cement the bond, fortify it further  and make it truly unbreakable.

The thing here is some people can take fights and some people just cannot. After a fight, some people can just put it behind them and completely  forgive and carry on (and I am one of such people)  and the friendship is even better than before.

But some people can carry the grudge for years and never truly forgive.On the outside they might be polite and civil but deep down, things have changed and the friendship can never go back to where it was. This is a sad thing but if one of the parties is not willing to 'make up', there is no point for the other party to keep trying. In this case after trying a reasonable number of times to 'make up' it is best to cut your losses and move on. It is going to be very painful, especially if you considered that person a close friend, but sometimes that is the only way. Sadly I have lost a few  friends like this.

I am fortunate that I now have friends with whom I can truly fight with! Sometimes, after the kind of nasty stuff I have said to them in a fit of extreme emotion, I think that either they must be mad to come back to me or they must love me very much. :-) (These are my closest friends, the ones whom I stay with and the ones whom I always meet, when I go to India). One of my closest friends said to me  "If you  dare not talk to me or try to ignore me, I will come there and gouge out your eyes." Another tells me "Fool--you act smart and I will kick your backside so hard you will be counting stars in your sleep--just wait and see." I smile in delight when I hear statements like these from my closest friends. ( Of course, If I hear it from someone I do not consider close, it would just be plain irksome) Statements like these, reaffirm our solid bonds and assure me that they are going to be there for life.

Th older one grows, the more one values good friends. If you have friends who you can truly fight with, hold on to that friendship with an iron grip. Do not let it die. Nourish it, cherish it, make it grow.

If you want to test your "Friendship Quotient"  take the Friendship Intelligence test designed by Mark Vernon who is an author and journalist. These are a set of 20 questions which I found very interesting and a lot of fun to do. (I scored a 78 out of a possible 100 which probably explains why my friends love me :-) ) .

If you aren't too shy or ashamed of your scores (*cheeky smile*)  you can share it with me. :-)
Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts about fighting in a friendship.


  1. Fighting with a friend right now, actually X-(
    I hate fights... Fights really hurt... ! Thats all I can say :(

  2. And MS--trust me on this! :)

  3. Hey, I scored 76 :) Not bad, huh!

    It takes real efforts and a willingness to go beyond the immediate fight for the sake of the friendship, mostly built over a longer duration. And, as we grow older, it is usually a disagreement over thoughts/ideas rather than "fights" as such.


  4. Palsworld: 76 is very good indeed!! You must be a conscientious friend. Did you too answer 2-3 for the number of close friends you have? (I did :) ) I agree that it takes a big effort to go beyond the immediate fight. But some friendships I think are really worth it.

  5. hmmmmmmmmmm, interesting timinig of you post.. had a kind of fight with one of my good friend few days ago.. let me do that test and get back to you with the score..

  6. 78 out of a possible 100!.. bit surprised to get same score as you! i knew i would get good score.. but as good as you was bit surprise...

  7. hey preeti, excellent post. I cherish and nourish my friends from childhood and college and am still in touch with them. No, not through facebook. Distance never mattered. I was in constant touch all through.

    Yes, I too have friends with whom i differ, argue and fight. Constructive criticisms come only from true friends.

    To ur convenience friend list i would like to add ' train friends'( we call this rail sneham in Tamil). You get closer to your train friends and it lasts as long as the journey.

  8. hey preeti,

    this motivated me to write something ...

  9. Sandhya: Nice post! Read and commented too! 74 is good!

    Asha: Sometimes destructive criticism too :P Thank U! :)

    Mihir: 78 is great! Seems to be highest so far..maybe someone will score higher--lets see! Hope the fight gets resolved soon.

  10. I got 74. By the way, I like this quote on friendship a lot -

    "I keep my friends as misers do their treasure, because, of all the things granted us by wisdom, none is greater or better than friendship."
    -- Pietro Aretino


  11. I scored a 76 :) I hardly fight with friends.

  12. Varun: If I was your close friend you'd fight! :P :D 76 is great!

    Maddy: not bad at all! :)

    Virgin author: Superb quote!There is indeed no treasure greater than a friend.

  13. nice of you writing this..few days back was thinking -is it just stop talking to ur best frnd at tims aftr a big fight..Bt now I know m nt wrong coz
    " trying a reasonable number of times to 'make up' it is best to cut your losses and move on." :)

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  15. By the way,got 69..I generally dont fight with friends but yes when I do,its really a bad one..

  16. i got 74 :) - wil drop by again...

  17. got a 76;-D

    And a lovely, thought-provoking, 'covering all angles pf friendship' post!!!!

    Oh I fight, I still fight...and they forgive me, still havent figured out why. I can be really mean sometimes;-(

  18. Reflections: 76 is great! They forgive you because you are so lovable and a radiator! :)

    Sulo Badri: thank you :) Nice score too :)

    Aish: I too usually do not find..but when I do they can be bad. Glad you found your answer :)

  19. hi preeti, nice thought-provoking post. i am one of those ppl who're not very comfortable with fights except for a few close ppl like my hus (whom i consider my best friend), n my mum maybe. i hv 2-3 close friends, its strange how u can know someone for a few mnths n they become ur closest friends sometimes, happened to me :-).

  20. hi preeti, nice thought-provoking post. i am one of those ppl who're not very comfortable with fights except for a few close ppl like my hus (whom i consider my best friend), n my mum maybe. i hv 2-3 close friends, its strange how u can know someone for a few mnths n they become ur closest friends sometimes, happened to me :-).

  21. I think I am an expert at fighting with close friends :P We always seem to fight and disagree. But the best part is even in our disagreement we respect each other's point of view :) and we really love our fights too!!

    Scored 75! :)

  22. Lovely article Preeti!!

  23. Scored a 78 :).

    There are very few people that I can fight with, but those are probably the only ones who are truly I allow myself to be vulnerable in front of them and just be myself....and each fight makes my bond stronger....

  24. 82.

    Nice post...
    Now I really need to speak to a childhood friend..its been sometime.

  25. Life begins: 82!!!! Wow!! I want to be your friend!! :) (and here i was preening about my score :) )

    Shachi: same here..I too can fight with very very few and i too value them more because of it.

    Dhanya: you changed your pic?! Thanks :)

    Mamta: 75 is good too! You must be like Purvi when you fight , i am sure :) (as you share a birthday) I can just picture you :)

    Aparna: I think most people are not comfortable with fights. Nobody likes conflicts.With my husband I too can fight :) i too have 2-3 friends only whom i consider 'very very close'..Others are 'good friends'.

  26. U may be right Preeti... But I rarely fight with my friends. The closer they are, the fewer the fights. I think I'm just scared that I will lose them. With people I'm not very close to, I'm quick to voice my differences and even criticise. With closer friends, I just give in silently. But u do have a point. We cannot love everything in our friends. And we cannot always agree. And a true friend will always let them know. So fights are the real test of friendship. But m not great at handling my fights. Once I have a good fight with someone, it is extremely different for me patch up with someone. And I really know how to hurt someone with words. So after a fight with me, I don't think even they would want to be friends with me again. I have grown out of friendships many times. Sometimes when I really get to know someone, I realise that they are not what they pretended to be. Then I just become withdrawn. I know thats not the best thing to do. But thats how Iam. But with few people I have fought many times and I have survived the fights as well. And fights can also cement ur bond. But I'm generally a peace-loving person... :)

  27. I got an 84 and I am shocked.

    High point i scored was for Q15, i answered self awareness and it says that self-awareness is not easily achieved. May be that explains why I am shocked at seeing my result..:P

  28. I got 74.

    I have a very close friend and we both are friends from LKG onwards. If I look back at the last fight we had it might be in 4th or 5th std. That too it used to be like we'll fight for some silly thing n in the interval we'll be together n after sometime we both realize that we were fighting and was supposedly not in talking terms n used to burst into laughter :) Now we both are in two different professions(she is a doctor n me engineer) n live in two different cities. Still we have managed to keep that friendship just like how it was back in school. May be if you know someone long enough you don't need to fight to make them realize ur point :)


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