While many of us agree that 2016 was rough, 2017 hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. Our nation has never been more divided, which is sad and painful to acknowledge.

The conflict can really sting when it becomes personal. Relatives, friends, coworkers, and even strangers seem to be arguing about every issue under the sun. While disagreements are a normal part of life, there comes a time when disagreements cross the line into incivility. If you feel like you are under constant siege, it’s probably time to make some changes in your interactions–particularly online.

Talk it Out

Has an issue been simmering under the surface that needs to be brought to light? If every time you see a particular friend or relative you think about hurtful things she’s said, you should probably give her a chance to explain herself. People often don’t realize the impact of their words, and sometimes a tactless remark slips out without us realizing it. Your friend, relative, or coworker may be unaware that you’ve been hurt by her actions.

Take a Break

Unless something truly horrible transpired, deal with an annoying friend or relative by taking a break. You can unfollow him on social media for a while and make a conscious effort to avoid interacting by text or in person. It’s possible that you are both going through a moment, and will be able to resume your friendship once things settle down.

Unfriend

If taking a break doesn’t work and you realize a friendship is causing you more harm than good, you may need to take the next step and unfriend the person on social media. Understand that this will likely cause a breach between you. Only unfriend a person on social media if you want them for an unfriend in real life as well. If a relationship is abusive, online or off, end the friendship, and block that person on social media as well. 

Forgive

Now is a time of great emotional upheaval and many of us have said things we regret. If a friend or relative seems truly sorry for hurting you, talk it through and consider letting the issue go and moving on. Your relationship will likely end up becoming stronger than ever.

We all deserve to have peace in our lives. We can’t block out everyone who disagrees with us, of course, but now is a good time to take inventory of our relationships and commit ourselves to those that are satisfying, enriching, and mutually respectful. Be patient, kind, and forgiving towards others—and respect your own boundaries and be a friend to yourself.