DEAR HARRIETTE: A close friend who moved away a few years ago is now moving back to my town. We fell out of contact over the last year because she left. A few days ago, she came in contact, informing me that she was moving back. She never put in the effort to keep the friendship going when she moved away, so I stopped, too.
I have an established group of friends, and it is going to be tough to rekindle my friendship with this girl. Since she knows me, she wants to cling to me. I am not sure I even want to be best friends again. What is the best move? -- Distant Friend, Cambridge, Massachusetts
DEAR DISTANT FRIEND: You do not need to figure out the future just yet. Consider it respectful that your friend let you know she is moving back home. Don’t read any more into it right now. When it is convenient for you -- and she initiates the call -- agree to get together with her and hear her out. Find out what she has been doing over the past few years, and what brings her back. Let her know that it hurt your feelings that she left and didn’t bother to stay in touch with you. You can forgive her without agreeing to include her in your new friend group.
If you feel that a heart-to-heart will be heard, tell her that you have moved on and that you aren’t inclined to incorporate her in your new circle of friends. If you have any interest in rekindling a bond with her, you can agree to get together with her on occasion and see how it works. You may find that you want to be friends again. Either way, forgive her for not being as connected as you would have liked. Let the present unfold before you.