Monday, January 22, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Volatile friend's implosion was likely inevitable

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Try one last apology to friend despite her reaction to email

Q: I really hurt my friend of 20-plus years when I backed out of a group vacation at the last minute. I emailed what I thought was a truly apologetic explanation, offering to try to make it up. I should have called, but I feared a bad reaction on my friend's part, which is exactly what happened.

She flipped out and became very emotional, quickly sending a very raw email and voice mail that frightened me in their intensity. I've apologized again, asked to get together to talk about what happened, tried to have some light communication, but I'm being shut out.

It's been six weeks. This vacation excepted, I have always been there for her through many trying times. Now I'm the one who's hurt by not having my appeals for forgiveness accepted. Am I still in the wrong, or is my friend being irrational?

Friendship Rescue?

Carolyn: The email was a truly terrible idea, as you say, and "light communication" was probably a "don't" as well.

Her refusal to hear you out, especially after all those years of friendship — that's on her.

I'm not saying this to minimize your loss, just to put it in context: The implosion was probably inevitable, unless you somehow managed to do and say all the right things in perpetuity around this volatile friend.

So while I can see why you feel hurt, I think that misplaces the blame. "Hurt" suggests she's harming you personally, with intent, where I'd argue she is simply unable to get over herself.

I do think a one-last-time call is appropriate. Explain to her (i.e., her voice mail) that you regret emailing, since you should have called; that you're sorry you let her down on the vacation, though you didn't do it lightly; that you value this friendship; and that you believe the 20 years you and she have shared warrant at least one chance for you to say your piece. Say you hope she'll grant you that much, and you'll gratefully take her call whenever she's ready.

Anonymous: Good rule of thumb, people: If you have a good reason to be terrified of someone's response to bad news, then that is NOT a person you want to have a close relationship with. Period. All too often, people keep coming here and saying, "How can I stop X, who always reacts badly, from reacting badly?" Simple. Stop interacting with them unless you absolutely have to.

Carolyn: I've advised (probably too) many times that predicting how they'd handle a breakup is a great way to screen potential romantic partners — but you're right to extend it to friendships, thanks.

Anonymous 2: Sadly, it seems to me that many people put more energy into maintaining those high-standards friendships. It really bothers me when people assume that because I don't throw a hissy fit, it's okay to cancel on me. So don't choose friends who punish you … but also don't be someone who needs the threat of punishment to do the right thing.

Carolyn: So right: Show some extra love for wheels that don't squeak.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Opening up on the residual effects of abuse

Q: I’m in my mid-thirties and in a relatively new, but so far amazing, relationship. I really can see myself with this person long-term.I’ve been in a couple of abusive relationships before that have taken their emotional toll (occasional nightmares ...
Published: 01/21/18
2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

On Saturday, the kids get first crack at the booty from the pirates at the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, the annual alcohol-free party on Bayshore Boulevard. To kick off the season of Jose Gaspar, the fictitious marauder whose legend has...
Published: 01/18/18
You can buy the balls from Amalie’s Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

You can buy the balls from Amalie’s Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

More than 100,000 people showed up at Amalie Arena in 2016 to frolic in a huge ball pit. It was a sea of 1.2 million white orbs so vast that grown men could belly flop and remain afloat. Almost two years after the Beach Tampa packed up, some 15,000 l...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: FaceTime offense lands sister on the outs

FaceTime offense lands sister on the outsQ: When does FaceTime become an intrusion?My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Year’s Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: Cousin’s husband pursues young sisters

Cousin’s husband pursues young sisters Q: I just found out that my niece’s husband has made inappropriate comments/propositions to both of my daughters, one still a minor (17). I have to tell my niece, right? I don’t want to hurt her.Broken HeartA: Y...
Published: 01/18/18
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend   Gasparilla Children’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasn’t a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportionsQ: I’m a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but they’re no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearI’m 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18