• Other Friendship Advice

A young teen asks what to do after she hurt a friend

Published: January 21, 2016 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
What do you do when you make a mistake that you know has hurt a friend?



There is this girl in my class with whom I was friends who told me she does inappropriate things with boys.

We have become close but what I did today just destroys me and I don’t know what to do. That is the reason why I’m here. I need advice.

Here’s the story: Today in study hour class, a rather hyper boy I know sat next to me and started telling me “You can be my bitch.” He said it so many times that I started getting angry and without thinking told him “if you want a bl**job, you know who to ask”.

The hour after this, the boy told my friend and now she is extremely mad and won’t even listen to me. I know that what I have done is monstrous and I don’t even know how I could have done it. I wish I could go back in time but the problem is that I can’t.

So how could I solve the situation? I am scared that she will tell everyone else and now everyone will hate me. I know that I should have not done that but I just don’t know how to apologize if she doesn’t want to hear me.

I know that what I have done is horrible and I am scared that I will lose everyone around me. I feel empty inside, I feel like there’s no way out.

Signed, Brenna


Dear Brenna,

What a difficult situation. I’m glad you can understand that you were wrong because that’s the first step to a good apology.

First, I would let go of the judgment that your friend does inappropriate things” with boys. Teens (and adults) have different levels of comfort. What might feel wrong to one person may not feel that way to someone else. If she’s doing these things because she suffers from low self-esteem and wants boys to like her, then she needs your compassion.

A good apology requires acknowledging that you were wrong without trying to make excuses with phrases like, “I’m sorry but ______.”

Close with how you will do better in the future. Then it’s up to your friend as to whether she wants to forgive you, the timeline for forgiveness, and the conditions.

For example you could say, “Jill, I’m so sorry for the comment I made to Mark. I betrayed your trust and treated you unkindly. I have no excuse. If your forgive me, I will never, ever talk about you again. I know it might take a while to trust me and I understand.” Apologize in person if she’ll let you and then wait for her to respond.

I hope your friend forgives you but she may not.

In terms of the guy who made you angry, if there is a problem with boys harassing you and/or other girls, please talk to a school counselor or your principal. Girls and all students are entitled to an education free of sexual harassment, which is exactly what that boy did to you.

Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully we learn from them. If you are really upset about this, it might help to talk to an adult at home or at school.

Good luck Brenna, my thoughts are with you.

Signed, *Amy Feld

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Judge Judy says:

    “I am so, so, so sorry. That just came out of my mouth when he was bothering me and I wasn’t even thinking it. I have no excuse. I’ll never, ever do it again, I swear. PLEASE forgive me!”

    I think there’s a good chance she’ll forgive you if you go over there right now and just apologize all over the place. Don’t add on anything to justify yourself, either.

    If she’s still mad or tells you off, then that’s your punishment. Then just tell her you understand and you’ll be waiting and hope she changes her mind and decides to forgive you because you are very sorry.

    I’ve been told I’m a great apologizer and while there are no guarantees, in my experience, it usually does work.

    When you think about it, when you feel like someone has hurt you or wronged you, what do YOU want? Most likely a sincere, heartfelt acknowledgment that they wronged you and admit they were wrong. That they are very sorry they hurt you because you mean the world to them and they will never do it again, right?

    We ALL mess up now and then. It’s okay. Good luck.

    • Judge Judy says:

      P.S. Also, unless he’s too much of a creep to even speak to, also go to HIM and say you feel horrible about what you said about your friend, that you weren’t even thinking that and have no idea why you said it. If anyone else knows about it, say the same to them. That will most likely get back to her. If you aren’t sure they know about it, don’t mention it though because spreading the news just makes it worse.

      Private apologies don’t undo public disrespect. 🙂

  2. DCFem says:

    Yes, you should definitely apologize. But sometimes there is no making it up and the friendship is over. It hurts but the lesson for you here is to stop yourself before you say something so toxic it ruins a friendship. It’s sad that this happened but the main thing you can do now is to never let it happen again. And don’t worry about what the rest of the kids will think. They won’t think much of anything for long as something way more interesting will happen the very next day.

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