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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Non-apology welcome, but to be negated

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year, and as soon as I met him he wanted me to meet all his friends. I met the whole lot, and loved all of them … except for one – my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend.

She apparently wanted to date my boyfriend years ago, but he was never interested in her, so she turned to his best friend. For years, she kept a protective eye over my now-boyfriend, so when I came into the picture it didn’t matter how nice I was, she was going to dislike me.

I’ve made every effort with her, but she refused to acknowledge my existence for this whole year. By this I literally mean, if I said hello to her, she would turn away; if I asked her how her day was, she would start talking to someone else; if I walked into the room, she would leave.

All the while my boyfriend did his best to tell her to be polite; however, I felt he wanted to stay out of girl drama, so I did my best to remain kind.

Recently she sent me an email saying she was sorry if her actions “hurt my feelings,” but she was bad at relating with other girls.

I felt as though she wasn’t sorry at all, and was choosing not to practice common decency.

How would you respond to her lackluster apology in a dignified way while still nudging her behavior needs to be changed? Also, while not upsetting my boyfriend – who I’m sure will be forwarded a copy of anything I reply back to her.

GENTLE READER: We can agree the non-ex-girlfriend is unrepentant, but her non-apology is less potent than she believes. She hopes it will satisfy your boyfriend, while making clear to you it is your reaction, not her behavior, which is at fault.

Your message should negate those terms: “I appreciate your apology and look forward to your thinking of me as an individual, rather than only one of ‘other girls,’ once we get to know each other.”

If the behavior does not change, you will have done your best, and Miss Manners will second your taking the problem back to your beau.

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