DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a group of friends. How do my friends and I make a friendship connection with a woman that we previously didn't really like? We want to be closer to her now because we realize that out of our friend group, she is the one who isn't really close to anyone. Her father recently died, and we know that she is sad. Even though we don't love her personality because she can sometimes be loud and a little mean, we feel that we should try to be there for her. How should we go about that? -- Ready to be Friends, Boston
DEAR READY TO BE FRIENDS: It is wonderful that your hearts are softening for this friend during her time of need. Reach out to her and let her know how sorry you are that her father passed. Either individually or as a group, invite her to do something social with you. Check in to see how she is managing.
It is possible that she could shed some of her presumed meanness if she believes you and your other friends are authentically interested in being her friend. If she falls back into mean behavior, tell her in the moment when something she says hurts your feelings. When she is loud, let her know. There's a good chance that she doesn't realize her volume.