At the tone, please don’t leave a message

“I lost touch with an old friend about eight years ago. I wasn’t sad because we had gone in different directions and I didn’t find the friendship very pleasant anymore. She has recently found me (she lives across the country now). I am finding I don’t really want to re-establish the relationship but: don’t want to be rude, don’t want to cut off what could be a chance to mend old wounds, don’t want to be a coward.

“I don’t have time or energy for the drama I experienced in the past, but maybe she’s changed? What do you think I should do?”

Ideas? I suspect this is a common problem, given that we’re all so much easier to track down these days.

— Carolyn Hax

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