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How Can I Make Things Right With My Friends After I've Let Them Down?

How Can I Make Things Right With My Friends After I've Let Them Down?

Dear Sugar
About a year and a half ago all of my friends decided to rent a summer house on the shore. The cost was $2,000 per person (very reasonable for the area) and I agreed to join them. However, about a month before the last payment was due, I backed out because I realized that I couldn't afford it.

My friends were very upset with me and told me that they couldn't understand how money could be so tight when I make the most in our group. They wanted me to ask my parents for the money since my parents are extremely wealthy.

Since my parents would have said no if I asked them, I just decided to stop talking to to my friends. I wouldn't answer their calls or e-mails. They threatened to take legal action against me, but I found out that this wasn't possible since all we had was a verbal agreement and they are the ones that signed the lease.

After this I basically had a mental breakdown. There were other things going on in my life at the time, and I was severely depressed. My eating disorder was at its worst and I was finally having a major breakthrough in therapy about my rape six years ago that I was suppressing. I was suicidal. I don't think think I told them extent of this but they all knew what happened to me.

A year and a half have passed since then. I am in a recovery period and have been involved in deep psychotherapy treatment. I have so many feelings of guilt and I get nightmares about the past. I'd like to write them a letter of apology but I am scared. I tried to apologize a few months ago but they wouldn't accept it. Should I try to apologize again or should I move on? In A Mess Tess

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear In A Mess Tess
I am happy to hear that you know what you did was wrong. It wasn't a nice move on your part. You backed out of the share house in the eleventh hour and left them on the hook for 2K. Most likely they were scrambling around to find someone else to cover your share and your costs or else they were left to cough up of the rest of the dough themselves.

To make matters worse you hid from them. That was really selfish of you. If they were good friends, you guys could have tried to work something out. You could have paid half at the beginning and half at the end of the summer, or you could have paid half and then helped them find your replacement. Instead, you completely ignored them. No wonder they didn't want your apology a year plus later.

But at the same time, I'm not sure that I'm getting the full story here. It seems a little bit aggressive that they would try to take legal action and sue you. Had you done something like this to them before? Had you been acting selfish because of your own, heavy issues that you were dealing with?

I think that you should apologize again and let them know that you are very sorry and that you regret what you did to them. Also let them know how much emotional pain you were going through at that time, but since then, you've sought out therapy and are in a much healthier place.

Hopefully they will accept your forthcoming apology and are happy to see you in your present positive state. If they are standoffish, rude or unaccepting, then close the book on them and move on. You'll make new, better friends who will love you for the wonderful and mature woman that you are.

Join The Conversation
lexichloe lexichloe 10 years
Hey, it's okay...You may feel like this is a big deal, and that your friends are still dwelling on it, just like you are. But, more than likely, they're not. You need to focus on your life in this moment, today...As long as you're on the road to a happier, healthier you, you'll see a brighter day. If they're truly your closest friends, they'll respect you when you come out of this. In the meantime, be open to meeting new people, and trying to forget those memories that keep you up at night. Good luck, and I promise things will get better.
Aracelly Aracelly 10 years
If I were any of your friends I'd be pissed. Chances are they talked smack about you throughout the entirety of the vacation.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
i would forget about these "friends" and move on. it's only money, and it was for a vacation at that, not some one's kidney transplant. to me, this sounds like a bunch of spoiled rich kids ignoring the really important things in a friend's life (eating disorder, rape, etc). you have probably been through more in your life that all of your "friends" combined. you can't reason with people who have no life experiences, they have no point of reference. forgive yourself and then move on. i see no reason to apologize for having a mental breakdown or for tolerating unsympathetic friends. you deserve better, so go out there and find some real friends :)
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I agree with Sugar there is definitely more to the story. I have a feeling you have done this in the past. You do need to try to make ammends and repay whatever your last payment amount would have been.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
scribe 85, that's good added advice.
Scribe85 Scribe85 10 years
Sugar provided some excellent advice. I add only that you ought to pay the money you owe your friends. I am sensing that a breech of trust ocurred, and it may or not be repairable. However, if you repay what you owe (and what you owe is the full amount of what you committed to pay), AND apologize, at least in the future, you will know in your heart that you attempted to right the wrong. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, so that you are able to heal the wounds that bring you so much suffering.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
The same thing happened to me, but I was on the other end. We had planned a girls get-a-way for at least 6months. One of them decided at the last minute that she couldn't afford it. I couldn't understand how she wouldn't save up for it like the rest of us did. The difference is we expressed how disappointed we were that she bailed out last minute and that it was prideful of her to not say anything. Of course we would have helped her out, but she was just to insecure to admit to her need. Honesty and vulnerability go a long way in friendships. I'm suprised that your friends haven't tried to get in touch with you to reconcile the situation. After all, isn't friendship more valuable than money?
LaylaCams LaylaCams 10 years
Great advice dear. I do believe the shadiest thing that you did was ignore them. If you had simply explained your situation I'm sure the anger wouldn't have lasted so long. That's in the past tho, so you most def need to apologize. If you try and they ignore it, then at least you tried. Glad you are doing better.
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