DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a big blowup with an old friend several years ago. We didn't speak for a period of time because I needed to focus on other pressing issues in my life. I am scheduled to spend a weekend with her this summer -- just the two of us. While a lot of time has passed since our falling-out, I'm wondering if I should bring it up and explain why I was so upset with her. Or should I just stay in the present? -- Clearing the Way, Racine, Wisconsin
DEAR CLEARING THE WAY: My first recommendation would be for you to stay in the present. Many friends go through periods of friction. You seem to have survived it, either based on time simply letting things die down or true forgiveness. Either way, it may not be necessary to discuss the past, especially if you both have moved on.
If, however, your moment of contention from years ago naturally comes up, be prepared to discuss it. Allow the time that has passed to let you be more neutral about the situation. Talk in fact rather than in emotion if you can. If the point of your conflict was emotional, though, state that as a fact. If you feel that discussing it will open old wounds to no good end, you can also express your concern and ask your friend not to go down that path or to agree to proceed with caution, knowing that it could be a relationship-breaker for you.