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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Worthy grounds may mean it’s over

Carolyn Hax Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: An old friend moved back into town and was immediately welcomed by a clique of women of which I’m not a “member.” At first I was hurt, then I decided that “Sue’s” and my friendship stands on its own and doesn’t need anyone else’s approval. Then Sue made the mistake of writing in her annual family newsletter that she spent her 50th birthday at a spa “along with my dearest friends” – a party to which I wasn’t invited. I was stunned, confronted her, and got the “I had no intention of hurting you” reply, after which I crossed her off my list. Now she’s making overtures, and I’m confused. I feel all of the following: (1) Still angry and bitter with a sprinkle of vengeful; (2) Not awfully interested in her friendship; (3) A little ashamed at having “junior high school” feelings.

Can you help untangle? – M.

By your account, the spa incident itself didn’t change any of the fundamentals of your friendship: You still aren’t part of the clique; she still is.

Presumably, Sue herself hasn’t changed, and you make no mention of dramatic changes in your personality or circumstances.

So here are the reasons we have left that Sue’s spa trip will end your friendship: (1) You were OK with being excluded from the clique privately, but Sue’s public announcement now has you feeling exposed and embarrassed; (2) You don’t believe in hyperbole, and so are taking her at her word that these are her “dearest” friends – which means you are less dear to her than you thought.; (3) You don’t want to be friends with someone who talks about her spa trips in an annual family newsletter.

If any or all of these seem like worthy grounds to end the friendship, then the friendship has probably run its course. It happens.

But if none of these seems as important to you as her friendship, then you’ll probably regret screening her calls.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.
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