Ask Amy: Apologies for Old Transgressions Don’t Always Deserve an Answer

Ask Amy: Apologies for Old Transgressions Don’t Always Deserve an Answer

Dear Amy: This year, several people from my past contacted me to ask for forgiveness. I write because I believe my decision will provide a different perspective to your readers.

The first letter was from two dorm mates jointly writing to apologize for their rude and hurtful behavior. I went to these two women for emotional support, believing they were friends, only to be told bluntly that neither of them liked me and only associated with me because that they thought I would help them with their papers or research projects. It was especially painful because it happened shortly after I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

I changed dorms at the end of the school year and never spoke to any of them again. It’s been almost 40 years.

The second letter was from a friend from my other college. She contacted me in 2008 and we started calling and emailing. “Call me anytime to talk,” she said. One night I did, and she exploded, yelling that I interrupted her late night wine and craft time and yelling that we had nothing in common because I’m not married, landlord or craftsman and leave her alone forever.

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

I read these two letters carefully and decided that my only response would be to shred them.

These three women are but bad memories, and why they sought, needed or wanted my forgiveness after so many years is a mystery to me. I don’t want any contact with them either. To err is certainly human, forgiveness can be divine, but forgiveness is also optional.

– Past completed

Dear Finished: I appreciate your perspective on this.

I believe the experience and isolation of the pandemic – along with the simple march of time – has caused many people to think about their choices.

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

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

I completely understand your reaction here, but I think you owe these people your gratitude: their impromptu pleas for forgiveness gave you the conclusion, as well as the final word.

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

We have wonderful, world-class food options where we live, and we’re grateful for that benefit of living here.

When we return home to the Midwest, we miss certain comfort foods offered by family restaurants and takeout.

Sometimes it’s a dive, other times it’s a chain restaurant that we don’t have.

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

If we want to go to our favorite grease spoon because of the specialty there (Wednesday is braise day), Annie will say, “I know what sounds good, let’s go to…Chez Louis” – usually somewhere that serves limited menus and elite cuisine.

It’s fine for a meal, but it happens throughout our visit and we don’t even stay at her place.

Sometimes you just want a local burger or pizza – not a filet, poached salmon or snail, you know?

How do we avoid these conflicts – short of not letting him know we’re in town?

– Stu in Baltimore

Dear Stu: It’s not about cooking. It’s just about being able to assert your own wishes when someone else is asserting theirs.

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

Here are some words to try: “We might eat ‘fancy’ one night, but we’re happy to revisit our favorite comfort foods the rest of the time.

Dear Amy: I was completely stunned by your response to “Charlie” who had old photos of his ex-wife in a scrapbook.

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

– Dizzy

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

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

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