Red Responds: She Needs an Apology

Mary in Elmont writes:

I have a complicated situation about a friend who I have been estranged from for almost two years. The problem is that although I am deeply bonded to her, and want to forgive her, she hurt me very deeply, and hasn’t stepped up to the plate to apologize. I know her very well, and know she isn’t one to admit she’s wrong, but without an apology, I don’t know if the friendship can ever be the same or better. I feel I have forgiven her for my own sake to be able to move on and eventually let her go, but haven’t really let go yet since my greatest hope right now is to have my best friend who meant so much to me, back in my life.

I wonder if she’s grown up enough to admit she’s wrong, appreciate me, and be a better friend in the past two years? If not, how long will I have to wait for her to be ready to reunite? My heart wants this, but my mind is telling me she should apologize and grow up a little first. Would I be wrong to reach out to her first, thereby, giving her the opportunity to apologize? If not, what’s the best way to approach the situation?

Dear Mary,

If you really want your friend in your life, then take the risk and reach out to her. Before you make that decision, you must first decide if your forgiveness of her runs deep enough to move forward in this relationship, if you don’t receive the apology you have been waiting so long to hear.

Your friend can go from zero to defensive in a millisecond. I strongly encourage you to be prepared for the initial contact to be rather chilly. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can go back in time, and revive the same level of friendship you once shared with her.

Sometimes growing up means growing apart. Your friend isn’t the same person you remember her to be, but she hasn’t changed to the point where she is a total stranger. If having her in your future is more important than the perfect apology, then go for it. The two of you can open the lines of communication and keep in touch.

It doesn’t seem as if your friend is capable of accepting total responsibility for her part in your falling out. The best you can hope for is a partial apology. I think your friend would rather have a root canal than own up to her faults and flaws. Only you can decide if a partial apology is an acceptable foundation for trying to reestablish this friendship.

Best wishes,
Ext. 9226

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