Wanting to make amends

Dear Annie: As a college student with no job, I made the foolish decision to sign a lease with a friend to move in together.

After she made the down payment, I realized there was no way I could afford it and backed out of the lease, leaving my friend about $675 in the hole. She was naturally upset, and my stupid and selfish act basically ended our friendship.

Now, over 30 years later, I want to make amends and would like advice on how to do it. I think I found her on Facebook.

Should I send her a private message and let her know that I want to send her a check or write a letter and send it to her place of employment? I want to make sure it is her, but I’m pretty sure it is.

I have hurt many people over the years with my selfishness, and this is one of the worst things I have ever done. Please tell me the best way to make it right. I plan to send much more than $675, by the way.

Thank you in advance for your help, Annie. This has been weighing heavily on me. — Making Amends

Dear Making Amends: So you made a mistake in college. Join the club! Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You refer to yourself as a “selfish person,” but it is obvious that you care deeply about others — and friends in particular — the opposite of a selfish person. Messaging her on Facebook and sending her a check would be a very kind and thoughtful gesture, and I encourage it. Try not to look for a response from her. If you don’t hear back, be satisfied that you have made amends. However, the likelier scenario is that she will reach out — in shock and surprise — and you might rekindle your friendship. Even if nothing happens, making amends is always important, in and of itself, when we are changing our behavior. There is a reason that it is considered an essential step in Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program.

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