DEAR HARRIETTE: I accidentally put my foot in my mouth when talking to a woman I really hoped to become friends with. I was trying to be funny and make a joke, but it came out wrong, and she got offended. I felt terrible afterward, and I'm not sure how to fix the situation. I tried to backpedal and explain that I didn't actually mean anything by it, but it was too late; the damage was done, and our conversation fizzled out after that. I'm really kicking myself for saying the wrong thing, because I really liked her and we were having such a great time chatting. I know there are no second chances for first impressions, but is there anything I could do to fix what I’ve done? -- Foot in Mouth
DEAR FOOT IN MOUTH: Request an opportunity to see this woman again. If granted, go to her openly and tell her the truth. Perhaps because you hoped to become her friend, you were trying too hard to get her to like you, and you stumbled as you talked to her. Apologize again for offending her. Admit that you were trying to be funny, and obviously that didn’t work. You might explain to her that you feel a bit like a teenage boy who punches his love interest in the arm as a sign of endearment, and it makes the girl mad rather than starry-eyed. You messed up. You wanted to tell her because you really want a second chance to get to know her. You hope she will grant it.