An apology from my bully

My ex-best friend finally apologised for cyber-bullying. Should I reply to her email?

Our elder advises sending a brief response – and then moving on.


Dear EWC

My ex-best friend and I weren’t speaking anymore. I was in a toxic friendship with her for two years, she cyber-bullied me and spread rumors about me, and it finally ended but I found it hard not to think about her and I felt bad. It took me a while to really stop checking if she had sent me an email or if she was online, but after a few weeks, I stopped thinking about her. Five days ago, she sent me an email. After weeks of wanting her to send me something, anything, I was just angry to see her name in my inbox. She had sent me an apology. It was like three sentences and she made it clear she didn’t forgive me, but it was still an apology. Something I had wanted from her a lot. I haven’t answered yet. She ignored me, hurt me, insulted me, etc. and not answering her would make her feel my pain. But I can’t stop thinking about her again, and I don’t know if I should email her back, or what I should say. Let me know what you think. 


Kenti replies

Your hurt and anger at your former friend is totally understandable. After all, she cyber-bullied and spread rumors about you. Now she sent you a three sentence apology of sorts. Honestly, I am suspicious about why she would contact you again. Based on her short note, I suggest that you not re-engage with her. 

On the other hand, I think it’s fine, and actually right, to respond in some way. By not responding, you might think you would be returning the hurt she caused you. I really don’t think that’s good for your emotional health. Revenge lowers you to her level and could backfire. I am afraid your anger would end up hurting you more than her. Now I think it’s important for you to move on. Since you hadn’t heard from her for a long time, you began to heal. Your relationship is done and over. As a friend told me, “Don’t let her rent any more space in your attic (or your mind).”

So I suggest you simply let her know you received her email and hope she is doing well. By sending a brief response you will show your maturity and will also be making it clear that you do not want to engage with her again. I hope these thoughts help.

Article #: 460577

Category: Friendship

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