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DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend “Molly” and I were both injured in an accident, and her family is blaming me. Molly and I are both college seniors. A little while back, we were driving to school in the middle of the day when we were rear-ended by a drunk driver. It was a scary accident, to say the least. Molly sustained a concussion and two broken ribs. She got the worst of it. My injuries were much milder. Obviously, I felt terrible that she had been hurt so badly while I was driving.
Her family has not spoken to me since the accident. Molly told me that they are “too upset to speak.” To me, this means that they blame me for what occurred, at least partially. I’m so hurt that they would think that I did anything to put my friend in harm’s way. The driver was arrested right then and there, so that should tell them who was in the wrong. How do I handle this? — Misplaced Anger
DEAR MISPLACED ANGER: It may take more time before your friend’s parents come to terms with what happened to their child. They are upset because Molly was badly injured. Their anger is currently all-inclusive; it’s not necessarily rational, but it’s real, nonetheless. As hard as it may seem, you need to accept their state for what it is: grief over their child’s injury. You must also remember that it wasn’t your fault. Drunk driving accidents are among the worst. Thank God you are both alive!
For now, have compassion for them. You can send them a note expressing your thoughts and prayers for Molly’s full recovery. You can continue to talk to her to ensure that she is all right, and you can pay attention to what happens to the perpetrator. Follow up to make sure they are charged with and convicted of their crime.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to an event the other day with a work friend. Afterward, he invited me to hang out and go to dinner. When the bill came, he asked me to pay for it. He said he had planned to go to dinner with another friend who didn’t show. That friend was supposed to pay for the meal, but he didn’t come; therefore, he wanted me to pay for the meal. What kind of sense does that make? Plus, he never asked me to pay for the meal until the bill came. I refused to pay for his share. I paid half, and that was that — but now he is mad at me and throwing shade at work. How should I handle this? — Trying To Get Over
DEAR TRYING TO GET OVER: Your work friend is a con artist. You have to watch out for people like that. Good for you that you didn’t fall for his plan to convince you pay for his meal. It would have been different if he had been honest and asked you upfront to pay for dinner with him for whatever reason, but that’s not what he did.
Ignore his antics at work. You are perfectly justified in not wanting to pay for his dinner. When you see him, smile and keep it moving. One day he will likely sidle up to you again. You can choose to act like nothing ever happened and keep it moving — or tell him never to try to get one over on you again.