DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a huge argument with a woman who used to be a very close friend. I stopped hanging out with her a few years ago because she was growing increasingly more negative, talking badly about everyone in our friend circle. I ended up speaking to her the other day, and it was awful. She went on a rant about me, telling me all the reasons why I am a horrible person. She dredged up stories from my past that only a good friend would know, and she used them against me. I felt horrible. I admit that I have made some mistakes in my life, but this woman is not St. Peter or Jesus. I feel like she overstepped her bounds by chewing me out the way she did. Should I say anything else? In the moment, I told her that I was sorry if I ever hurt her or anyone else, but I was done talking about it. My fear is that she is blabbing this old stuff to anybody who will listen. Do I confront her? -- Stop It, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR STOP IT: The best thing you can do is walk away. Your angry former friend is stuck in the past. There is nothing you can do to lure her into the future. For whatever reason, she feels she has power by holding your past indiscretions over your head. Since you cannot control what she says or to whom, let it go. Live your life honorably. If you are confronted by others about what she has said, respond on a case-by-case basis. You do not have to explain yourself to people. Live your life.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, 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.)