DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who did some time in jail. She hasn't really talked about it, but I know it happened, and now she's OK. She is rebuilding her life, and it's going all right. Recently, though, I overheard some of her so-called friends talking about her like a dog. They were gossiping about her past, guessing at why she went to jail in the first place and saying mean stuff about her. She served her time. Why can't they just leave her alone? I feel bad for her. Should I tell her what people are saying? How can I be a friend to her? -- Gossip Hater, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR GOSSIP HATER: Rather than telling your friend what these people are saying, just be there for her. Be a good listener. Be kind to her. Let her know that it is safe for her to confide in you.
As far as the people doing the gossiping, do not participate. If you are ever in their company again when you hear them, speak up and say that you think it is unkind of them to talk about her like that.