Lately, several people in my life are going through dramatic life changing events. Many people very dear to me are making decisions that will affect them-- most likely for the rest of their lives. As a result I have been spending a lot of time thinking about life in a very literal sense. I've posted previously that people are very different, and currently, that could not be more apparent.
So, I have come up with a few general points that I genuinely believe have helped me remain a good friend in extremely devastating times, a neutral party when two friends are at blows, and level headed when you are the target of malicious mistreatment. I try to keep these simple things in mind and the outcomes of these situations have been better than could have been predicted.
1. If you are fighting with a close friend remember one thing: You know who that person is. You know how they will react to the way you verbalize your feelings. Keep it in mind at all times. If the situation requires you to be more sensitive, adapt. If you are dealing with someone who is generally more aggressive, take their words with a grain of salt-- for the most part they're unaware of how hurtful they could be.
2. Be patient. There may be something that you are burning to tell someone that runs the risk of offending them. Wait for the right time, keep in mind number one, and you will be able to say what you need to say in a way that they understand-- which is ultimately the point.
3. In the event that you find yourself caught in the middle, there really is no reason for the opposing parties to know that you already know what is going on from the other side. Relaying "he said she said" will only make a situation worse.
4. The things these people are telling you are a crude version of what they ought to be saying to each other. Listen. Remain objective. Sometimes people need to verbalize their feelings in raw emotion, and the third party is perfect for that.
5. Give advice, but do not react negatively if your advice is not followed. Advice is simply that. It is not an order or a set of rules. It is a suggestion. The choice is ultimately up to the person involved in the activity, not you.
6. No matter the situation, if the person is important to you "I'm sorry" is probably true (even if you don't yet know why) There are always two sides to a story and chances are the other person feels like the victim just as much as you do.
7. If its a lost cause-- move on. Some people quite simply are not good friends. Don't waste your time attempting to repair a relationship if the other person is not willing to reciprocate. Trust me on this one.. just like fire, drama ridden people need fuel, omit yourself and you will not get burned.
8. If you are being attacked, do not insult the other person. Instead get in touch with the way you are feeling. "I felt that you could have been more sensitive to my situation" will get a much better response than "You are so insensitive"
9. Be grateful. Rarely do we take the time to stop and actually thank the people who remain steadfast friends. Appreciate them even when their help is dormant. Good friends ought to be cherished.
10. Don't seek credit. You don't lend an ear for praise, being the bigger person doesn't work if you brag about it, and announcing what a great friend you are is usually a sign that you are not. Humility is priceless.
These things have helped me feel more balanced in situations where I've have little control. Perhaps there is a situation in your own life where these tips could be practical? Best of luck.