DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a falling-out with my best friend. I was so angry with her that I stopped all communication. She hurt my feelings badly when I was already feeling bad about myself.
A year has passed, and I miss her. I reached out to her the other day and left a message. She hasn't called me back. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm not sure how to proceed. What do you recommend? -- Lonely, Jersey City, N.J.
DEAR LONELY: It sounds like you never talked about what happened between the two of you to cause the chasm. I think that to move forward, you are going to have to address it head on.
Reach out to your friend again via email and invite her to have lunch or tea or something with you. Tell her you want to talk. This way she knows that you are being serious and friendly at the same time. It will be her decision whether to respond; you cannot make her come back into your fold.
Revisit in your mind what happened between the two of you and decide if you can forgive her. If you can, it will be easier to talk about your friendship if the opportunity arises -- what damaged the friendship and how you two can move on with greater ease.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I produced an event and got a ton of support from generous people. One person who said he was sponsoring my event came back afterward and told me that I owed him a lot of money because more people attended than we had anticipated and he couldn't absorb all the costs. This was never our agreement. I don't have the money he is requesting. I also don't want him to feel that I somehow swindled him. I didn't. I honored our agreement. How can I handle this so it doesn't escalate? -- Stretched, Chicago
DEAR STRETCHED: Thank this person for his support of your event. Tell him that you will do your best to make sure that others know how much he contributed so that it will benefit his business in the future.
Remind him of the agreement that you two made -- an agreement that didn't include you paying for his goods or services. I trust that you have something in writing that outlines your agreement.
If he has a valid point -- that the event's attendance far exceeded the numbers that were stated when he signed on -- you may want to do your best to absorb some of the costs. He may honestly also be stretched in his effort to satisfy the needs of your event. An offer of help would be a sign of good will that may prove worthwhile, even if you have to make a plan to recoup some of his funding over time.