Dear Abby: I was bullied from second grade all through school. In junior high the abuse was both emotional and physical, and it happened on a daily basis. My parents’ response was that maybe I was the problem — and if I wasn’t, people would stop picking on me. (That’s a letter for another day.)
What would have been my 10-year high school reunion was two weeks ago. Needless to say, I didn’t go. Since the reunion, however, I have received more than 30 messages via Facebook from former classmates. It seems I was the main topic of conversation at the reunion, mainly because everyone apparently wanted to apologize to me.
Abby, I don’t know how to respond to these people. While I don’t doubt the sincerity of their apologies, I truly don’t want to have any contact with them (even on Facebook). At the same time, I don’t want to be rude and just ignore them.
So far, I haven’t replied to any of their messages. I want to know if I must, and if so, what I should say? To be honest, I’d like to tell them all to go to hell, but I’m trying to be nice.
Lost for Words
You do not have to say anything to any of these people, and you do not have to be “nice.” Silence sends a strong message, and it is the one I’m recommending.
Understand that by apologizing they are trying to make themselves feel better. It’s also possible that maturity has caused them to realize what they did was wrong. However, you are not obligated to accept their apologies if doing so will make you feel worse.