Apologies can pave the way for second chances

Published: March 30, 2011 | Last Updated: March 30, 2011 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

My best friend Lila started hanging out with this other girl Jenny. At first the three of us were friends. Then Jenny offered to take Lila on a cruise. The next month, the two of them were always together, talking about me and spreading rumors behind my back.

After they returned, Lila acted normal, talking to me as if nothing had happened before. Lila and Jenny haven’t talked since they got back from the cruise. I don’t know if they got into a fight and I’m Lila’s backup friend, or if Lila was using Jenny to get the cruise.

Lila has never apologized or spoke about what happened  between us. I haven’t been ignoring her but I haven’t been acting completely normal around her either. What should I do? Why do you think they suddenly aren’t friends? Should I listen to my mind, which is telling me that Lila has been so mean to me and that I shouldn’t be nice to her now, or listen to my heart, which is telling me that she deserves a second chance?



Hi Carole,

Your best friend was insensitive to your feelings. If Lila isn’t usually like this, perhaps she was influenced by Jenny or by the excitement of being asked to go on the cruise. Regardless, the way Lila treated you was unacceptable and I can understand how you would feel uncomfortable around her now.

Coincidentally, I just read an article in New York Magazine (Hating the Same Things, April 4, 2011, P. 13) that described a relevant study by a researcher at the University of Florida. Psychologist Jennifer Bosson found that two people become closer when they demean a third person to each other. Perhaps, Lila and Jenny were doing this. While that might explain their behavior, it doesn’t excuse it.

Now Lila wants to reconnect. Perhaps, she’s not saying anything about what happened because she’s embarrassed about how she acted or is clueless about how she made you feel. But if you and Lila are to get offer this hump and remain friends, you have to let her know how disappointed you were. If you don’t, your hurt will seep out in other ways.

When a friend apologizes and takes responsibility for doing something wrong, it helps both people move past the hurt. Hopefully, after you initiate the conversation, Lila will realize she owes you an apology. If she doesn’t, I don’t see how you can feel close or trust that she won’t do something similar again.

What happened between Lila and Jenny on the cruise really isn’t your concern. However, you also need to consider whether you want to have any type of ongoing relationship with Jenny.

I hope this works out for you.



Prior post on The Friendship Blog about apologies and second chances:

A bad ending to a good friendship: Are there second chances?

Owning up

5 Not to simple rules for mending a broken friendship


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  1. Gigi says:

    People bonding over negativity towards another is so warped. Why not join Hitler, the KKK, or a street gang? With friends who act like that, who needs them?

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