Ask Amy: Apologies for old transgressions don’t always deserve an answer


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Dear Amy: This year several people from my past have contacted me to ask for forgiveness. I am writing because I believe my choice will offer a different perspective to your readers.

The first letter was from two dorm residents who wrote together to apologize for their rude, hurtful behavior. I went to these two women for emotional support because I thought they were friends, only to be told bluntly that neither of them liked me and that they only dated me because they assumed I would help them with theirs work or research projects. This was particularly painful as it happened shortly after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

At the end of the academic year, I switched dorms and never spoke to either of them again. It’s been almost 40 years.

The second letter was a friend from my other college. She contacted me in 2008 and we started calling and emailing. “Call me to talk anytime,” she said. One night I did, and she exploded and yelled that I had interrupted her nightly wine and craft time, and yelled that we had nothing in common because I wasn’t married, a homeowner or a handyman, and that I was leaving her alone forever should let.

I immediately ended the call, deleted her phone number and blocked her email. This happened in 2015.

I read these two letters carefully and decided that my only answer would be to destroy the letters.

These three women are just bad memories, and why they sought, needed, or wanted my forgiveness after so many years is beyond me. I don’t want any further contact with them either. To err is indeed human, forgiving may be divine, but forgiveness is also optional.

– Past completed

Dear Graduate: I value your opinion on this.

I believe that the experience and isolation of the pandemic – as well as the simple passage of time – has caused many people to reconsider their choices.

They don’t say how these women expressed themselves, but these requests seem more like demands. (I also think it’s possible that Ms. Wine and Crafting is working on one of the 12 steps.)

In my experience, the fullest form of forgiveness is achieved in private and not in response to a request or demand.

I totally understand your reaction here, but I think you owe these people your gratitude: your unexpected requests for forgiveness gave you both closure and the last word.

Dear Amy: My husband and I were relocated from the Midwest to the East Coast 10 years ago.

We have wonderful world-class dining opportunities where we live, and we are grateful for the benefit of living here.

Returning home to the Midwest, we miss certain comfort foods offered by mom and pop restaurants and takeaways.

Sometimes it’s a pub, sometimes it’s a chain restaurant which we don’t have.

The problem is that our friend “Annie” fits into our plans and always insists that we eat at the expensive places she would rather go.

When we want to go to our favorite fat spoon for their specialty (Wednesday is pot roast day), Annie says, “I know what sounds good, let’s go to… Chez Louis” — usually a place that offers limited menus and elite cuisine.

That’s fine for one meal, but this happens throughout our visit, and we don’t even stay at her house.

Sometimes you just want a hometown burger or pizza — no filet, poached salmon, or snails, you know?

How do we avoid these conflicts other than not telling her we’re in town?

– Stu in Baltimore

Dear Stu: This isn’t about the kitchen. The point here is that you can easily get your own way when someone else gets theirs.

It’s your visit! You have the right to eat wherever you want to eat!

Here are a few words to try: “We could eat ‘fancy’ one night, but we look forward to returning to our favorite dishes the rest of the time.”

Dear Amy: I was absolutely stunned by your reaction to “Charlie” having old photos of his ex-wife in an album.

If his current wife of many years is bothered by these photos, then he should get rid of them! I can’t believe you actually suggested sending her to your ex. That would only create more drama!

– Stunned

Dear Stunned: The answer to my answer was a universal NO!

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

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