There shouldn't be a need for you to go to sessions of group counseling to gossip about your friends. Counseling is basically the same thing as talking to your friends - it is when a group of people take turns discussing similar challenges that they all have faced, while providing concrete feedback and unlimited support. It is better to hash out feelings and talk about possible differences instead of keeping it in and stewing in the negativity.

The first step is to sit down and write about yourself. Really knowing your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes can go a long way. Identifying what makes you happy, what stresses you out the most, what your pet peeves are - will make interactions and relationships more harmonious.

The second is to be vocal about your differences. Openly communicating about your feelings doesn't make you rude or demanding. It shows that you are direct and is determined to avoid misunderstandings. Be clear that you do not want to play the passive-aggressive game. That being said, every individual has different opinions and values. It is important to acknowledge and respect them. There is no way out from insulting a friend's choices. They will remember the hurt, you will remember your brashness and an emotionally-charged argument usually goes nowhere.

The third is learning how to listen. Do not let assumptions or your judgments cloud you from what your friends are actually saying. Do not twist their words or meanings into something you "think" they are saying, instead, really listen to see if they are having a bad day or they wanted to tell a story. A lot of the times we try to offer advice based on our own experiences, but sometimes all the other person wants to hear are encouraging words. A hug or a pat on the back will help too.

The fourth is learning how to let go of the past. Most of the times, friends will tell us right from wrong from the goodness of their hearts. Holding grudges from way back when isn't helping anyone. You will annoy your friend by bringing it up and you will seem petty for remembering unnecessary things. Worse comes to worse, you end up ending a friendship for some reasons.  However, you do need to realize that people grow apart, and relationships will ultimately change. If your friends decide to pull apart, give them the space they need, there is no point in constantly reaching out to them and creating more misunderstandings.

The fifth is to take a deep breath. Try to shed all negative emotions. Close your eyes. Take a walk around the room. Do everything and anything you think will help clear your mind. If you are faced with an incredulous situation, don't follow your instincts to get angry. Think through things. Sometimes it isn't as dramatic as it is made out to be. 

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