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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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No do-overs

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Dear Ella,

I have lost a lot of sleep and have been exceptionally stressed over the last few days. I said a horrible thing to a good friend, and I’d do anything to take it back. I fear I’ve lost her forever. Steph and I go way back, and although at times she can be annoying, I love her dearly. She has been by my side and my rock through some very challenging life events.

The other day, we were out together when I got a call from my overbearing stepmother, whom I have trouble standing up to. She told me that my dad and her would be coming into the city and to please clear my calendar for the weekend, because they have some important things to discuss. I automatically said yes, even though I had already booked a short getaway for some much needed rest and relaxation with Stephanie.

After I hung up, Steph just stared at me, her head shaking and her mouth open. Before she could say a word, I jumped in first and yelled at her, “This is none of your business, so stay out of it.” I knew as soon as I said it that I had screwed up. Steph turned and walked away without a word, and I haven’t heard from her since. I’m so weak, I hate myself and I miss my best friend. Help!

Need a Do-Over

Dear Need a Do-Over,

Everyone has said or done something they wish they could take back. Life doesn’t come with mulligans. But you don’t have to let it eat you alive, either. You can be sure that Steph is not happy either, and more likely, she’s hurt and angry. You must mitigate the damage. There’s no easy way around this. You owe Stephanie big time for not only putting your needs above hers, but for dismissing her feelings so callously.

Clearly, you have issues with your stepmother, which you allowed to get in the way of your friendship, but what you also did is make your problems into Stephanie’s problems, too. You not only ruined her vacation, but you chose your stepmother over her and then yelled at her as if it were her fault. You did that because you were angry and felt a loss of control in that situation.

Besides a sincere apology, you owe her an explanation, and you had better come clean and be honest with yourself first. Your behaviour was caused by fear of saying “no” to your stepmom. What made you react this way? Search out that answer and fix it. Promise Steph it will never happen again, and mean it. Actions speak louder than words. You will have to prove to Steph that you have identified the problem and offer her concrete proof that you’re working on it. That, together with a heartfelt apology should be a good basis to begin to repair the damage.

Steph knows and loves you for who you are, so the two of you will get through this, but the ball’s in your court to make the first move. It may be difficult, embarrassing and humbling, but you owe her nothing less.

People tend to forgive, but it’s harder to make them forget. Too much time has passed already. Pick up the phone and make things right. Turn this situation into a positive life lesson. Go re-book your weekend with your best friend. It will give you time to talk and repair some of the damage.

 

Readers may submit their questions to Ella at The CJN, e-mail: ellacjn@gmail.com. But Ella is not a professional counsellor. She brings to the questions posed by readers her unique brand of earthy wisdom. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For serious problems, consult a professional.

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