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Harriette Cole: He didn’t know how painful his reminiscing was to me


DEAR HARRIETTE: I ran into an old friend from my hometown recently. He was good friends with my ex-husband. All he wanted to do during the brief time that we chatted was to reminisce about times that we had spent together with my ex.

My ex and I had a bad breakup, and he is about the last person I want to talk about. This guy probably doesn’t know that. I didn’t advertise what had happened between us, but that doesn’t change that bad things occurred.

It took everything in me not to spill the beans on how my ex had behaved as this guy was going on and on about how great he was. I just bit my tongue and let him talk, but I didn’t like it.

How could I have handled that without revealing our history and without having to endure his memories?

Moving On

DEAR MOVING ON: You could have stopped this guy and told him how nice it was to run into him after all these years. From there you could pivot and say something like, “I know you mean well, but my ex and I have been apart for many years now. I do not want to recall these stories now.” If he persists, you can walk away.

There is no etiquette rule that says you have to endure this man’s memories. You can remain kind but firm and remove yourself from his company.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is virtually a nomad. He’s always traveling somewhere, hanging out in exotic locales with interesting people. I hadn’t heard from him since the summer but thought nothing of it.

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