DEAR HARRIETTE: I was married many years ago to a nice man, and I did not treat him well. I have never felt good about my behavior. Even though a lot of years have passed, I still think about that period in my life from time to time, and I cringe. As we get older, I keep thinking that I want to apologize to him. I don’t want to upset his life, though. He has remarried and has a family. I have not seen him for decades. If I can find his address, do you think it would be appropriate to send him a note of apology? Life is short, and many people I grew up with are dying. I don’t want either of us to die before I express my apology. -- Making Amends
DEAR MAKING AMENDS: Think carefully about what you want to say to this man. Do you believe that he will appreciate a sincere apology from you, or do you think it will just stir up old negative emotions? I ask that because it could be that you need to apologize in order to cleanse your soul, but he may not need to receive your apology. Sit with that for a bit to determine what your heart says.
If you believe he will value your apology, do your research and find an address for your ex. Carefully write your note. You may not need to go into details. Again, rubbing his nose in old wounds could be cruel. Just express your regret. Tell him you are not asking for anything. Instead, you just felt it was important that at this point in your life and after much reflection, you let him know how sorry you are for any pain you caused him.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a client who is so cheap. No matter what the project is, she always nickel and dimes me. Whatever my fee normally is for a job, she demands that I give her a discount. Sometimes the discount she requires makes the job not worth doing. When I stand up for myself and tell her that I can’t go that low, she digs in. I have been passed over a couple of times for projects because she wouldn’t budge. At a certain point, I feel like I have to walk away if she is being too cheap. I have done the math, and some of these projects would equal less than minimum wage if she paid by the hour. That’s not fair. How can I get that across to her? Or should I even try? -- Cheap Client
DEAR CHEAP CLIENT: Take a hard look at the projects you have scheduled for this year and how important this client is to your bottom line. Ideally, you should work hard to replace this client. If she refuses to pay fair market value for your services, you would be better off finding clients who are willing to pay a fair wage.
For now, stop fighting with her. When she invites you to do a project, negotiate the best fee you can. But spend minimal time haggling with her. Pivot to soliciting new business for 2020!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)