DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that high school never ends. Years after graduating, one of the “mean girls” in my grade reached out to me. She was asking about my experience volunteering at an organization and wondered if I could recommend her. I haven’t responded yet, and I am unsure if I should even bother. Do I give this mean girl the benefit of the doubt? I haven’t even seen her in years. -- New Leaf, Towson, Maryland
DEAR NEW LEAF: This simple call has clearly unnerved you. Before you do anything, take a moment to observe how you feel after having been reached by a “mean girl” from your past. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable recommending her for anything. This would require you being able to speak to the woman’s character, given that you wouldn’t know about her work ethics.
Finally, do you feel capable of confronting her about her behavior toward you when you were younger? If you do not feel strong enough, interested enough or prepared to stand up to this woman, you should leave it alone. I can tell you, though, that if you are able to have an honest conversation where you claim your power as an adult and do not let her get under your skin, you will have the opportunity to tell her how rude and mean she was during your youth, how you didn’t appreciate her behavior toward you and that you need to know more about who she has become before you would ever consider recommending her for anything. Just be sure to listen after you state your case.