A difficult truth to cope with is the fact that friendships fade. Distance takes its toll, disagreements happens, priorities shift and change. Life adjusts course. As we grow, friendships are gained and lost, and although it may seem easy, maintaining healthy, lasting friendships take a lot of commitment and energy. Once a person stops working to sustain the relationship, it can begin to falter.

If a friendship of yours is beginning to head in the wrong direction or has already ended and you would like to make amends, follow a few simple rules to make things right.

Think. It's important to consider what made you lose touch to begin with. Was it the natural course of things? Did you both get caught up in the melee of everyday life? Or was it something more serious and painful? Remembering why it happened-and being honest about it-is crucial to how you approach the subject.

Contact. Do your best to contact your friend via email or telephone. Keep in mind that just as you're busy, so is your friend. Getting in touch and having a conversation may take some time. It's easy to feel discouraged when you're extending the olive branch and it's not being accepted immediately. Be patient.

Ease in. Have realistic expectations for that first conversation-especially if the last time you talked was 8 months ago or ended on bad terms. Have a friendly, open tone as you ask what they've been doing or how they've been. If things go well, carry on a light hearted chat.

Explore. If there are still hard feelings, don't be afraid to address them. You were friends for a reason; and given the right amount of maturity and handling of the initial problem, there should be no reason why it can't happen again. Don't be confrontational through the use of "I" statements, like: "I felt (this) when (this happened)" or "Looking back, I feel like (this) because of (this)." By using this method you're able to express your feelings without pointing the finger.

Be honest. As any relationship goes, honesty holds all things together. This remains true when trying to rekindle a friendship. Coming out and saying you miss your friendship is good. Being honest about your feelings shows transparency and trust. Most importantly, be honest with both your friend and yourself about what it will take to make things work.

Work. It will take work regardless of whether or not your attempt was successful. If you were not able to rekindle your friendship, it will take some work on your behalf to move on and leave the past in the past. However, if you both agree to move on with your relationship, it will require efforts on both your parts to maintain the friendship. Keep in contact periodically and try to get together. Friendships that are worthwhile can withstand the worst of disputes and rebound from the longest hiatus.