Ten Ideas for Rebuilding Friendship
When a close friend blocks you on social media, how can you restore the friendship?
Let's say Alice and Bob have been close friends for a few years.
They are both reasonable people.
After a couple of bad fights, Alice blocks Bob. What should Bob do?
1. Let time heal a bit
With more time, the negative experiences in the past move further away. And the pain eases somewhat. In any case, Bob needs to give Alice the time she needs. It is up to Alice to reestablish contact when she is ready for it, not the other way around.
2. Understand the need for blocking
At the very core, blocking another person is about safety or overload.
The relationship has deteriorated so much that safety has become an issue. Alice doesn't feel safe anymore around Bob. Bob's recent behavior deeply hurt Alice. She would rather suffer the pain of cutting him off than that of keeping in touch with him, not knowing what to expect.
Even if Alice still feels safe enough around Bob, she just cannot deal with Bob's recent behavior. She might have too much weight on her shoulders already to be able to deal with all the pain and negativity from fighting with Bob.
3. Understand the behavior that crossed a red line
Bob has likely done something—verbally or nonverbally—which seriously transgressed Alice's boundaries. With careful reflection—combined with an understanding of how Alice thinks and operates—Bob can usually make an educated guess about where he went wrong.
4. Understand what fueled the fight
Fighting with a friend is virtually always completely unnecessary. Fights are fundamentally about unfulfilled needs, and about misunderstanding and misapprehending these. Bob needs to identify the needs and the causes behind the communication failure with his friend Alice.
5. Get in the clear (part 1)
If Alice decides to extend an olive branch, Bob should use this to get in the clear. He should listen to Alice attentively and honestly evaluate his behavior toward her. After understanding her point of view, he should commit to doing better in the future and not repeating the same mistakes.
6. Get in the clear (part 2)
After promising to do better, Bob still needs to live up to his promise by acting consistently with kindness toward Alice and supporting her needs. And by asking for forgiveness at an appropriate moment.
7. Let the other person know everything you appreciate in them
By appreciating and focusing on the good in Alice, Bob remembers what made the friendship beautiful and worthwhile in the first place. And soon enough, vice versa.
8. Do something small together
Nothing too big. Maybe just a coffee. Or a walk in the park. A few lighthearted and fun moments together to rekindle the flames of friendship.
Little heals more than humor. By the time Alice and Bob can both laugh about the time that Alice blocked Bob, they have both fully forgiven each other and moved on.
10. Enjoy the remaining time together
After all, time on this wet rock is very limited indeed.