Ask Amy: Crumpled friendship could be smoothed out
Dear Amy: I am a single male in my early 30s. After law school, I met “Judith,” and we became best friends. Judith and I were both competitive athletes in the same sport, the same age, and knew some of the same people.
The friendship was always strictly platonic. Honestly, I considered her my best friend.
We had a falling-out over something quite petty, on its face: After a fun party weekend in the mountains, I felt compelled to ask her (and her boyfriend) to pay for part of the lodging expenses. It really wasn’t about the actual money, but I couldn’t help but to feel used. It embarrassed me to ask her to contribute after the fact, when I had assumed that they would step up without asking.
Anyway, the resulting (text) conversation we had was insulting. She brought up topics from the past that were completely unrelated and out of line. I felt hurt and betrayed.
This happened over a year ago. She has reached out multiple times to apologize and try to mend fences. For the most part I do not respond.
Most recently, she reached out to ask if I considered the friendship permanently over. She wanted to invite me to her engagement party. I do think her attempts to reconcile have been genuine and she understands that she was in the wrong regarding our falling-out.
The thing is, I don’t want to be friends with her. I feel like once the paper is crumpled up, it can’t be perfect again.
I can forgive her for the petty argument, but I will never forget how it made me feel. The way I view her as a person has been forever altered.
Do I need to rethink my approach regarding friendship? Am I wrong to think it’s fine to move on from friendships when they prove to be broken beyond repair, regardless of all the positive memories associated with the friendship during an important period of life? — Disoriented in Denver
Dear Disoriented: In a perfect world, we would never need to smooth out a piece of crumpled paper in order to reread what’s written upon it; we wouldn’t need to accept an apology; we would never face the necessity of forgiving someone.
However, the world is not perfect. No one’s story (yours included) can be read on pristine paper.
I think it’s possible that “Judith” has changed. She is being honest, contrite, and apologetic. She is extending a hand. You have firmly anchored to your disappointment. I wonder if this is the kind of person you want to be.
In short, yes, I do think you need to rethink your approach to friendship (this one, and perhaps others, as well).
This re-evaluation doesn’t mean that you must re-enter Judith’s life, but most disappointments offer opportunities for growth. Judith may have grown. Have you?
Dear Amy: Today my English teacher told me about you. She suggested that I reach out for some advice.
My real concern is that I’m planning to go to college next year, but I don’t know what I’m going to study yet. I’m excited about studying, but the current situation within the pandemic is not the greatest.
I don’t feel ready to go to university.
What do you think is best? Should I make plans to go to college, or should I take a gap year? — Confused about College
Dear Confused: I like the idea of delaying college by a year, especially for younger students. (I started college at 17, and often wish I had waited).
I don’t love the term “gap year,” however, because it implies that taking a year between high school and college should be seen as a “gap,” or a void of some kind.
Maybe we should call this a “goal year” or a “grow year.”
I think it’s a great idea, especially now, to consider taking a year to work part time and have some mini-adventures (if your folks are willing to have you at home). Taking classes at your local community college will help you to zero in on possible courses of study.
Dear Amy: I appreciated your response to “No Words.” This was a woman who discovered that she was mistaken about the identity of the man she thought had fathered her child.
I agreed with you when you cut through the complications, and said that she had “done a lot of things right.” — Once a Teen Mom
Dear Mom: I was impressed by this woman’s total honesty regarding her challenging history.