DEAR HARRIETTE: Two of my friends have been at a standoff for years, and I’m sick of it. I told each of them that I think it’s time to resolve their disagreement. Whatever they do, I don’t want to have to listen to them talking about each other’s faults anymore. It’s like they are stuck in the past, back when they hurt each other’s feelings, and they can’t let go of that. I know that it can be hard to forgive when bad things happen, but I would hate to see them go to their graves without getting over this. They were very close friends for more than 40 years. A big hiccup in their friendship has led to years now of tight lips. What can I do to help? -- Forgiveness
DEAR HARRIETTE: Have an old-fashioned “talking-to” with each of your friends. Tell them how much you love them and remind them that they used to love each other. Point out your concern that they could leave the planet without making up and how sad that would be. Suggest that they get over their disagreement and decide to forgive each other and move on. Beyond that, tell them that you are unwilling to be in the middle of their feud anymore.
Part of forgiveness starts with the person. They should try to forgive themselves first for whatever bad things they have done in their lives, for any hurt they may have caused others, for any unkind words they have expressed, for any inappropriate actions they may have taken without considering others' welfare. Doing this may soften them, allowing them to forgive each other for whatever transpired between them.