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Old Friend Wants to Apologize for Friendship Fallout

Dear Harlan: My old friend and I were inseparable growing up. We were next-door neighbors who shared everything. In high school, we started to drift apart. When we were seniors, we had a major falling out. I started smoking pot and drinking with another group of friends; she was dead-set against this. She thought I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, and she started to act jealous of me. It all blew up when I kissed her ex without telling her. She found out through a friend and felt humiliated and betrayed. I was too selfish and self-absorbed to realize what I was doing. I said really nasty things to her. I should have apologized. We haven’t spoken in 10 years. I heard that she got married and had a baby. I miss the friendship we had, and know I’m responsible for its ending. What’s the best way to reconnect with her? I want to apologize. I know it’s a long shot, but I would like to see if we could be friends again. I feel terrible for what I did and how I behaved. Should I send her a note through Facebook? What should I say?

— Regrets

Dear Regrets:  Say what you feel. Teenagers can say or do selfish, immature and hurtful things. It’s part of being 17 years old. Say that you realize you were selfish, immature and hurtful. You want to apologize. Be honest with her. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry. The most important part of your apology is to remove all expectations. This means she isn’t required to say or do anything. Give her permission to respond freely. Use Facebook to get her information, but have a conversation, if possible. If you can’t call, write her a note. Tell her that you realize your mistake, and admit fault. Then, see if she is open to having you back in her life. Remember, she doesn’t need to forgive you. She doesn’t need to accept your apology. She doesn’t even need to respond to you. All you can do is offer, and see if she’s open to having you in her life again. That’s the respectful, loving and sensitive way to do it.

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