DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend became good friends with a girl who used to pick on me in high school. I feel a bit betrayed, even though it was so many years ago. I almost feel a bit silly that feelings are so hurt about something that happened so long ago, but it still happened. This girl was so mean to me, and that’s all I can think about when I hear her name. I changed classes at one point because she was so nasty. I haven’t thought about her in a long time, but the memories are now haunting me, and the pain is back. Should I tell my friend how I feel? -- Old Bully
DEAR OLD BULLY: I understand why you would want to say something to your friend about this person. Of course, there is a chance that she has grown out of her bullying ways. Many children go through phases in their lives when they act out. Over time and as they mature, those tendencies can wane. But that doesn’t make your experience any less real. So yes, sit down with your friend and tell her you have something you want to share with her. Let her know that when you discovered that she had befriended this woman, it brought up a lot of disturbing memories.
Give your friend a few examples of how this person treated you back in the day and how it made you feel. Admit how it makes you feel now. While you should not try to get your friend to change her relationship with this woman -- that kind of demand usually doesn’t work anyway -- you can make it clear that you have no interest in creating a bond of any type with her.
If your friend tells this woman what you revealed, it may lead to a direct conversation between the two of you. That could be a good chance to clear the air and hear her out. If she apologizes, you can accept that and still keep your distance. It’s your choice.