Saturday, November 28, 2020

Is It Too Late to Apologize?

apologizing, forgiveness, communication, friendships, wellness, mental health, growth,

This Guest Post graciously submitted by Rachel Simmons.

Hi Rachel,

I started college last year and met my friend who quickly became a best friend. The problem is that later on in the year a third friend popped up to make a threesome and I didn’t handle the situation as gracefully as I could have. I ended up making my bestie feel like she had to choose between me and the usurper. My best friend chose another friend over me. I know it was wrong of me to make her feel like she had to choose, but now i don’t know what to do. I’ve had a couple close friends but never really a best best friend like she was to me. It’s been half a year and I still really miss her, what should i do?


Hey Isabel,

Big ups to you for owning your mistake. You’re right: making a friend choose between you and another person isn’t okay. It’s called “relational aggression,” or using friendship as a weapon.

I’m a big believer in making amends for yourself and your own personal growth. That said, most of us (me included), are really, really hoping that we’ll get our friend back along the way. So get clear on the primary reason you’re apologizing: are you doing it mostly to repair a broken relationship, or because you feel a personal, moral obligation to own your mistake?

If you’re doing it to get the friendship back, ask yourself how you would react if she didn’t forgive you. Is it still worth it, or will you feel embarrassed and exposed? Figure this out before you talk to her. Asking for forgiveness is one of the most vulnerable experiences you can have with another person.

Ideally, you should talk to her face-to-face. But it’s okay to send an email, too. However you communicate, your letter shows you know what to say: acknowledge that what you did isn’t okay and say you miss her. I’d probably add that you realize things can’t go back to what they were, but that you’d love to be a part of her life.

Let me know how it goes! Good luck.

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to develop strategies to reduce bullying and empower girls. This article has been re-posted and originally appeared December of 2009; you can read more of Rachel’s work here.

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