I am wondering about this situation: One of my friends, Alex, was offended by another of my friends, James. In the process of working their way back to each other (and I was present for this), James also pointed out how Alex was partially at fault for their tensions and conflicts. I agree with James. Yet, Alex refuses to believe that he has done any wrong at all. How can we convince Alex that he is partially at fault?

The short answer is that you may not be able to convince Alex. I do think it is a good idea to point out, gently, Alex’s complicity in the tensions. Yet, his acceptance of this is his call. He seems to need time and may be in denial. Denial as a psychological defense can take time to weaken. If he feels even slightly guilty, then this is a good opening for him to explore the possibility of his contributing to the conflicts. If both James and you realize that denial takes time to dissolve, then your patience may pay off in a restored relationship.

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