Sense & Sensitivity

Friend Upset When Busy Reader Forgot His Birthday

DEAR HARRIETTE: I forgot a friend's birthday. I have a busy schedule with work and kids, and my memory isn't as sharp as it once was. I realized my mistake six days after his birthday, and I sent over an apology. He told me that my forgetting made him feel sad, and he explained that my mistake was the reason why he hadn't been in communication with me, although I've been so busy I didn't even realize that. I'm struggling to determine if he is overreacting or if I really messed up. He did remember my birthday, but I feel as though it's not too much of a crime that I forgot. I don't think he accepted my apology. Should I leave the situation alone or continue to try and apologize? -- Missed Birthday

DEAR MISSED BIRTHDAY: Clearly, your birthday call is important to your friend. Your momentary memory lapse was not lost on him. If you think your friend is still feeling hurt, you can reach back to him and make it clear that you still love him and know that recognizing his birthday is important. Tell him one more time that you are so sorry that you missed him this year, then point out that this lapse in no way reflects a lack of caring on your part. After reiterating your affection for your friend, let it go.

To help yourself in the future, you may want to put alarms in the calendar on your phone to remind you of important dates. Technology can support you.

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