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DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a close friend group in high school that consisted of one group of girls and another group of guys. I maintained good relationships with everyone during my freshman year of college. Last summer, one of my friends and her boyfriend of three years broke up. Her boyfriend did not inform the guys about their relationship troubles, leading many of them to “choose his side.” As a result, the groups split, which was odd considering that our friendships were separate from my friends’ relationship.
One of the guys I was friends with has a little brother who goes to my college. We became good friends a couple of months ago. My old friend, his brother, is visiting and wants to catch up. However, we have had no contact since our friends broke up. Should I risk making it really awkward by addressing how upset it makes me that we do not speak anymore due to a situation that we had no involvement in? — Reconnecting Friends
DEAR RECONNECTING FRIENDS: Start by just getting together with your old friend. See where the conversation goes. Rather than initially confronting him, tell him that you have missed him. See where he takes the conversation. Talk about your college experiences and what you have learned since you last spent time together. Ease into your disappointment about how your friendship broke off. If he is willing to discuss the situation, go for it. If not, decide if you can resume your friendship without unpacking the drama from the past.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I got my associate’s degree when I graduated from 12th grade. I got a full ride to college that also included my housing for all four years, though I only need two. Now that I am in college, I realize that I want to switch my major. I do not think that I will enjoy my job later in life — or even the rest of my schooling — if I stick with it. My mother did not want me to get my degree during high school, and now she is putting up a huge fight regarding me switching my major. It is not her decision if I stay in school longer, because it is my life and she is not contributing financially. Do you think that I should push back and switch despite the big rift it will create between us? How do I explain that it is not her decision without being rude? — Family Disapproval
DEAR FAMILY DISAPPROVAL: Let’s start with how fortunate you are to have options, even if they come with family pressure. That you got your associate’s degree so young gave you the option to finish college two years early. Changing your mind about your career direction is common. Yes, that will mean you have to take more classes and extend your time in school, but it’s better to figure that out now, especially when you have a full ride to complete your education. The blessing is that she doesn’t have to pay for it.
As far as your mother goes, she wants the best for you — even if it doesn’t feel like it. Thank her for her concern. Admit that she may have been right about your associate’s degree, but you will prove to her that you are responsible. Tell her you are grateful for all of her concern, but you have to make this decision on your own.