To for­give hurt­ful words or not isn’t up for com­mit­tee vote

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NWA OUTDOORS - CAROLYN HAX Chat online with Carolyn at 11 a.m. each Fri­day at wash­ing­ton­post.com. Write to Tell Me About It in care of The Wash­ing­ton Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. N.W., Wash­ing­ton, D.C. 20071; or email tellme@wash­post.com

DEAR CAROLYN: A year ago I met a girl in col­lege, we bonded and quickly be­came very good friends. In fact, I think of her as one of my best friends.

The thing is, a few days ago she said some­thing hor­ri­ble be­hind my back and the only rea­son I know is be­cause she was recorded say­ing it and this record­ing was sent to me.

She was quick to apol­o­gize for the way it sounded, in­sist­ing it was only meant to be a joke. The per­son she was with when it hap­pened does joke around with us a lot, so I kind of want to be­lieve her, but she hurt me re­ally badly and the few peo­ple I have con­sulted about this have told me a friend wouldn’t say that.

Af­ter we talked it out openly and hon­estly, I de­cided to for­give her for what she said, but I don’t know if I should lis­ten to oth­ers and stay away from her or just move on with our friend­ship as if she had done noth­ing. What should I do?

— A Con­cerned Friend DEAR READER: It’s hard to know what you “should” do in a tough emo­tional sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially when trust is in­volved. Count­ing on a panel of friends to be your tiebreaker, when they haven’t lived this friend­ship them­selves and when their feel­ings aren’t the ones on the line, can com­pli­cate as much or more than it il­lu­mi­nates.

That some­one (a) recorded and (b) re­ported this is a nasty wrin­kle of its own. (That’s the friend to dump, no?)

When un­der­stand­ably stuck on what you “should” do, I sug­gest just do­ing what you “can” — as in, can you “just move on with our friend­ship as if she had done noth­ing”?

If not, can you see this friend in a dif­fer­ent light and be her friend on dif­fer­ent terms? Can you be open to see­ing this as an im­prove­ment, given that you’re now bet­ter in­formed, and maybe a lit­tle wiser about the sharp edges to the way you and these friends “joke around”?

Or, if not, can you si­mul­ta­ne­ously keep your guard up and trust her with a sec­ond chance?

Or, if not, can you stay in your same gen­eral group and de­mote this friend to ac­quain­tance un­til you fig­ure out what to be­lieve about her?

If not, then you have your an­swer — no ag­o­niz­ing re­quired.

DEAR CAROLYN: I am throw­ing a baby shower for a dear friend. She opted for the tra­di­tional, ladies-only shower.

Many guests as­sume they can bring their chil­dren.

I am at a loss how to han­dle the few rot­ten ap­ples mak­ing me feel bad be­cause I won’t cater to their kids. To chas­tise me pub­licly for do­ing so is lu­di­crous. Is it not rude to as­sume kids are al­lowed? How do I han­dle this rude­ness?

— Seething Host­ess DEAR READER: Yes, it’s rude of them to as­sume, and chastis­ing you pub­licly is an ex­cel­lent way for these women to make asses of them­selves.

It hurts to be their tar­get, no doubt, but tech­ni­cally you’re ob­li­gated nei­ther to in­dulge them, nor feel bad for deny­ing them, nor apol­o­gize, nor keep them on the guest list.

So don’t. “This is a shower for adults only. Thank you for re­spect­ing my and the guest of honor’s wishes.”

Pe­riod.

Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group/NICK GALIFIANAKIS

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