Communication is Key: Saving struggling friendships

Puzzle pieces

Puzzle pieces

Anger and frustration fills the mind of Sombre Carleton as she cannot come up with words to say to her friend about their awful behavior. Over and over again, she builds up the courage to break off of her leash and confront her friend.

Even though we all had these moments, Elayna Kapelka, human development and family studies major, shared her frustration with her friends’ time management skills and how she feels as if she cannot send a message they would understand.

“For me, I am time-oriented,” Kapelka said. “I want to know what time we are going out, so I know how much time I have to relax, get ready and go.”

On the weekends, Kapelka heads up to Cleveland where her friends live. She spends her time going out, eating at restaurants and doing other activities.

When making plans with her friends, Kapelka said how the plans are always mixed together and it is hard to know what they are going to do.

“I just feel sometimes as if they do not understand how I perceive time,” Kapelka said. “In order for me to process what plans he is trying to come up with, they are always so jumbled, so I have to stop and process it.”

Over time, she said, it got easier because she took a minute to breathe and comprehend what was going on.

“I started to stress over little things and I stopped having fun,” Kapelka said. “That is when I decided to switch it around and care less about my looks and getting ready and more about having fun with my friends.”

Whenever Kapelka confronted her friend about the stress it causes her when he does not know plans, he told her he would try to get them figured out before he told her. That way, she can be less stressed and have more fun when going out.

Communicating with others can be difficult when feeling awkward or embarrassed. Even when it is with your friend, it can still be tough to gather the courage to talk to them. There are many online tips that give ideas about how to communicate with one another.

Sometimes, we all experience issues with friends that are hard to discuss. Carleton, an interior design major, said she had an issue with her friend’s vulgar language that made it hard to talk to her.

“It was hard for her to understand the message that you could not speak so inappropriately in front of people’s parents and other strangers,” Carleton said.

She remembered telling her friend to stop speaking that way every once in a while. It was so awkward because time and time again, her friend was not understanding, Carleton said.

“Whenever she came over or we went to our friend’s house, I had to remind her to not swear in front of my parents or theirs,” Carleton said. “I did not want my parents or my friend’s parents thinking that she was a bad influence.”

Upon confrontation, Carleton said her friend would tell her she understood, and she would not swear. A few minutes later, instead of swearing, she would bring up something inappropriate, and sometimes her friend’s parents heard.

“It all came with a consequence,” Carleton said. “We had to stop inviting her over when we went to some of our friends’ houses, especially if they had strict parents.”

Carleton had trouble inviting her friend places because of how vulgar she was. She had to work up the courage to talk to her, but it took some time.

“Sometimes she would do well, but it did not last long,” Carleton said. “Instead of saying, ‘hey, you can’t come because of your vulgar language,’ we had to be more specific and tell her it was more than swearing. We had to tell her it was other topics, describe them and tell her she can’t talk like that.”

After the long talks, Carleton said, the part that was not being communicated effectively is what exactly she should not be saying at their friend’s house or out in public. All of Carleton’s friends had to sit down and have a long talk with her so she could understand why it was embarrassing for them.

When feeling like you cannot communicate with a friend, check out this online source for more tips on how to handle communicating with one another.

This is part of a Communication is Key series.

Cassondra Siaus covers relationships. Contact her at [email protected]