DEAR HARRIETTE: A girl who used to go out of her way to be rude to me is now trying to be my friend on social media. I’ve never been one to hold a grudge, but I do remember how awful she used to make me feel for no reason at all. Do you think she may have ulterior motives by trying to befriend me all these years later? Could it be guilt? — Friends With Old Bully
DEAR FRIENDS WITH OLD BULLY: You do not have to befriend this woman. At the same time, you can take a look at her social media posts to get a sense of what type of person she has become. What are her posts like? Is she kind and thoughtful? Mean and snarky? Extremely outgoing? Thoughtful? What is her online persona like? Get a sense of who she is and how she inter- acts with people before you make a decision.
I say this because kids do grow up, and sometimes their bad behaviors do not make the journey to adult- hood with them. I know this firsthand. There was a girl at my school when I was a child who was very mean to me. She teased me all the time about every lit- tle thing. I felt like I was her target, and I didn’t like that. I moved away and built my life, and all was fine. Then I realized that she had become good friends with my sister. I couldn’t believe it at first. As I observed, I saw how she had become a very kind, upbeat and thoughtful woman. Chances are, she doesn’t even remember how she used to treat me. While I will not say that she and I are friends now, we are friendly. And we are “friends” on social media. I never had to say a word to her about the past.
Evaluate your situation as an adult. That will help you to decide if she should be allowed to join your online friends circle or not.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve made it very clear to my boyfriend that I do not want a gun in my home. I have two small children, and although they’re with their dad every other weekend, I don’t want a gun in my home when they’re not here either. As my relation- ship with my current boyfriend has progressed, he’s felt more comfortable bringing his belongings to my house. He left in a rush the other day and left his gun on the bathroom counter. Thankfully, my kids were not there, but I’m still furious. I told him he’s not allowed in my home any more after breaking such an enor- mous rule. Am I overreacting? Boyfriend Broke Rule
DEAR BOYFRIEND BROKE RULE: That breach is enough to close the door and lock it. Clearly, your boyfriend did not heed your request that he stop bringing a gun into your home. To leave a handgun on the counter is reckless and extremely dangerous. Too often, we hear stories in the news of children who happen upon weapons and shoot themselves or others — some- times fatally. That was a dealbreaker. Make sure that you change your locks after you break up.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.