April 14, 2024

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Will Smith, Chris Rock: Psychologists Discuss Friendship Breakups

Will Smith, Chris Rock: Psychologists Discuss Friendship Breakups

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars in March 2022.
Robin Beck/AFP via Getty Images

  • Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2021 Academy Awards, sparking a public fallout between the pair.
  • Rock addressed the incident during his Netflix comedy special, Angry Eclecticism.
  • Dr. Frederick Smith told Insider it’s important to acknowledge the individual’s role in the argument.

It was a slap seen all over the world.

Three hours into the 2022 Academy Awards, Chris Rock was presenting the Best Documentary Feature award when Will Smith walked on stage and slapped him over comments about Jada Pinkett Smith on national television. The incident was preceded by a wave of criticism that prompted Smith to apologize several times.

“You know, if I stick around, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again,” Smith told fans in a July 2022 YouTube video.

Chris Rock and actor Will Smith attend the 23rd Annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2010.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

For his part, Rock has been relatively silent on the matter until he made his complaints public in a Netflix comedy special called “Selective Anger.”

“I’ve been rooting for Will Smith my whole life,” Rock said. “And now, I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him yell.”

The pair previously had a friendly relationship, having worked together on a 1995 episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the Spike Lee satirical “Torrance Rises” in 1999. Rock later worked with Pinkett Smith on the “Madagascar” franchise.

Friendships are complicated, and resolving them isn’t always a blame game, according to a psychologist. Dr. Frederick Smith, who He has been working in the mental health field for 15 yearstalk to Insider about what can cause a friendship to break up, how to deal with it, and knowing when to cut your losses.

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There are several reasons why a friendship has faltered, Smith said, but sometimes we have to acknowledge our part in the rift

Everything from moving cities to conflicting values ​​can strain friendship, Smith explained. The Smith and Rock case involved both sides feeling disrespected on the night of the slap. When this happens, Smith said it’s important to identify the source of the anger.

“Was the anger you felt towards the person related to them or something they did?” Smith said. “Or was it something else that was going on, and you took out your anger on that person?”

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Sometimes people can misplace their anger.

“Often, we won’t have a lot of stress and we’ll take it out on the person who least deserves it. That could be a husband, wife, family member, or even a friend,” Smith said. .

But this does not mean that friendship cannot be saved after a quarrel.

After a disagreement, the friends will need to decide if the relationship is worth repairing

Smith said that both parties must be willing to repair the friendship so that it can flourish again. This can include getting together to discuss the problem or getting third-party help from a licensed professional.

He said, “The therapist will help them re-establish that friendship by helping them look back at where it started. My philosophy is that we cannot focus on the present without looking back at the past.”

On the other hand, Smith acknowledged that friendships can take their course.

“It’s hard for some people to accept this, but some friendships will end. It’s normal,” he said. You will not be able to maintain friendships with everyone who comes into your life.

“A lot of times, we run into these problems because we’re trying to make seasonal people a lifelong commitment,” he added.

Smith said that learning to apologize and forgive properly is “extremely important” in friendships

According to Smith, honestly telling someone “I’m sorry” starts the process of forgiveness, which means the other person has the opportunity to let go of hurt feelings.

If all else fails, it’s OK to grieve a broken friendship, Smith told Insider.

“We don’t just grieve when we lose a loved one to death. We also grieve the loss of relationships — even if the person is still alive,” he said.

He added, “Sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last forever and that’s okay.”