DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently ran into an acquaintance at a mutual friend's party. Afterward, one of the guests pointed out that my acquaintance had been arrested for a serious crime some years back. I was shocked and didn't believe it until I read an article about the incident.
Normally, it wouldn't make any difference. She and I rarely see each other. But at that gathering she had said she hoped we could rekindle our friendship. Now I'm not so sure. It is true that her offense occurred years ago and has nothing to do with me. But what I learned about her behavior gave me the creeps.
Should I blow her off, ignore what I learned and befriend her again, or ask her about it? -- Unsure, Boston
DEAR UNSURE: Here's an example of how the past often catches up with the future. This woman is trying to live her life after likely trying to repent for her transgressions. If her past behavior could have a negative impact on you, then you may want to either not rekindle the friendship or ask her about it. However, if her past doesn't affect you in any way other than that you learned about it and it's unpleasant, keep it to yourself. I imagine you wouldn't appreciate someone bringing up any indiscretions from your past simply because the person learned about it.
You have the opportunity to decide whether you want this woman in your life. If you want to be friends with her, move forward by accepting her invitation. If you don't, keep things as they are, seeing each other from time to time but without any intimacy.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister and her boyfriend broke up a few months ago, and, according to her, it was really ugly. I suspected that he was a jerk, but he was worse than I imagined. The second that she lost her job, he was out. He was totally not there for her when she needed him the most. Part of me has wanted to reach out to him and curse him out, but my sister asked me not to say anything.
He called me the other day out of the blue. The call went to voice mail. He acted like everything was normal. I'm wondering if I should call him back and then curse him out or even just see what he wants. What do you think? -- Mad at My Sister's Ex, Detroit
DEAR MAD AT MY SISTER'S EX: He's given you your entree. Yes, you can call him back, but don't begin with a verbal assault. Find out what he has to say for himself. Listen. Before you get off the phone, tell him how angry you are that he was thoughtless and cruel to your sister. He has earned the earful that says he should be ashamed of himself -- but without the expletives.