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Harriette Cole: I’m ashamed to tell people I forgave my childhood friend

Harriette Cole: I’m ashamed to tell people I forgave my childhood friend

DEAR HARRIETTE: A few years ago, I was deeply hurt by my childhood friend. During that time, I confided in my loved ones about my decision to end my friendship with this person, explaining the details of the situation and vowing to end the friendship once and for all. Everyone close to me was proud that I’d decided to cut this person out of my life.

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Over time, I found it in my heart to forgive my friend, understanding that people can make mistakes and change. My friend and I have since made up, and I continue to spend time with them, but I feel slightly ashamed of myself for forgiving them. I find myself hiding our friendship from the loved ones I confided in about it.

I am questioning whether this makes me a hypocrite or if it is acceptable to move past this person’s mistakes. I’m not even sure why I feel the need to hide this friend that I’ve reconciled with.

Am I wrong to feel ashamed? How do I move forward?

Reconciliation

DEAR RECONCILIATION: Do some self-reflection to assess your reasons for distancing yourself from this person in the first place. What did they do to you? How impactful was their behavior on your mental health? It’s great that you have forgiven them, as that helps you immeasurably. Holding on to grudges is unhealthy for you.

Go back to what happened and where you stand today. If you feel that it is worthwhile for you to be in a friendship again with this person, drum up the courage to tell your loved ones. Be ready to support your decision with real reasons. If you are clear, they will come around eventually, after checking to make sure your new old friend has earned back your friendship.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have distanced myself from an industry that I once really wanted to work in, but I made a few great friends while working in that field. I bonded with one friend in particular, and we have kept in touch regularly even after I decided to explore new professions.

Over time, I have taken it upon myself to introduce this friend to gigs and opportunities that I’m offered but am no longer interested in. Even though he takes the jobs, he’s not super grateful for them.

The problem now is that I don’t have any other acquaintances suitable for these opportunities. What should I do?

Ungrateful

DEAR UNGRATEFUL: Given how helpful you have been to your former industry members, they will always remember you for your resourcefulness and generosity. Tell them honestly that you no longer have immediate contacts who are interested in their offers, but you hope to stay in touch with them. Continue to nurture the friend bond with them. You never know when their connections may be valuable to you, not just to your acquaintances.

If there is the potential for you to reenter that space, don’t sever those bonds. Instead, consider how your current interests may overlap with your past. Very often, people have created bridges between one part of their life and another. Why can’t you?

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Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.