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Knowing when to cut ties with a toxic or abusive friend, relative, romantic partner, or colleague is essential to protecting your peace as well as your mental health. At the same time, regularly disconnecting from people as a means of dealing with conflict is an unhealthy defense mechanism. All relationships will experience conflict at some point, but there are much healthier ways of dealing with them. Here are ten tips for meaningfully managing disagreements that will help to keep your friendships and relationships intact.

Share how you feel

So often, we write people off for the smallest offenses without ever actually giving them a chance to fix it or explain themselves. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to simply tell people how they may have offended you. While there are obviously jerks who walk around knowingly offending people, we all have moments in which we are absent-minded and as a result, not completely attuned to the feelings of others.

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Seek therapy

A highly qualified therapist can be a wonderful resource to help you work through issues you may be experiencing within your relationships. It’s extremely easy to see others as the problem in every conflict while failing to recognize the role that we play. Therapists can help you to improve your interpersonal skills by providing coping strategies and helping you to recognize your negative patterns.

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Give grace

We are all imperfect people, which means that we are all bound to mess up and offend or hurt the feelings of the people we care about. For any relationship to be successful, both parties have to be willing to show grace when people make mistakes.

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Remind yourself of the value of longterm relationships

When you’ve been in any sort of relationship with someone for a long time, you’re bound to experience a disagreement or two. However, the beauty of surviving these disagreements is that working through them can help to strengthen the bond and help you to learn more about each other.

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Accept the uncomfortable moments

All relationships experience rough patches and uncomfortable moments. During these times, it can be tempting to run in an attempt to rid yourself of those uncomfortable feelings. However, no relationship is going to be daisies and roses all of the time. Occasional moments of discomfort as a result of conflict are normal in relationships.

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Check your ego

To have meaningful relationships with friends, colleagues, relatives, and romantic partners, it’s necessary that we put our egos in check. Some offenses are, without question, worthy of a cut-off. However, there are also times that we rush to end a relationship in an attempt to prove a point and feed our egos.

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Assume the best

When a loved one offends you or hurts your feelings in some way, it can be easy to assume that they have done so purposely or had some sort of malicious intent. While that may be true for some people, it’s certainly not the case for all. When you truly know a person’s heart, sometimes you have to assume the best.

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Have empathy

When you have a disagreement with someone you care about, it’s important to try to understand things from their perspective. According to Berkley’s Greater Good Magazine, empathy is defined as “the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.” Empathy is essential to building and sustaining healthy relationships.

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Release resentment

Finally, when the hatchet has been buried in regard to a disagreement or offense, it’s important to let go of any grudges you may be holding against the person. Resentment is a silent but deadly relationship killer. Not only does it cause you to continuously build a case against your loved one in your mind, it can fuel a desire to seek revenge. Once you’ve agreed to mend fences, let that hurt go.

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