Respectfully Yours: Don’t be ‘the one that got away’
An former boyfriend I dated in high school contacted me online. It was great hearing from him and we spoke on the phone for hours, catching up on the last 30 years. He even put his wife on to say “Hello.” He considers me “the one that got away.” I don’t feel the same way about him. How do I gracefully bow out of these phone calls without insulting him or destroying what initially was a friendly reconnection?
Social media is a great tool to use when we want to reconnect with people from the past. However, with that comes personal responsibility and a mature attitude.
It is always nice to hear from old friends and relive fun moments from the past. But life changes, and a relationship that was nice 30 years ago might not be in our best interest today. Opening these old doors comes with a risk, and we might be better off leaving the past in the past.
To say you were “‘the one that got away” is disrespectful to his wife and to you. That says a lot about a person’s integrity and character. Disconnect yourself from this person before you jeopardize your own integrity.
I don’t believe it’s possible to salvage this friendship. Your old friend has crossed serious lines.
It’s best for your own dignity to speak up, then close the door.
I would simply say, “It was so nice to hear from you and catch up but it’s best for me to stop communicating with you.” Keep it short, sweet and to the point without blaming or insulting him.
Keep your dignity and grace. Bow out and disconnect.
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.
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