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home : columns : dear harriette April 18, 2021

2/5/2021 9:04:00 AM
Parent sorry after breaking daughter's trust

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter and I have a great relationship because it's always been just us. She tells me everything. When she was a teenager, she told me all the nitty and gritty, and there was a lot we went through; I can't imagine she left anything out. I trust her. But now she's an adult making her own decisions, never consulting me. I guess that makes me feel left out and jealous.

One day I went to her home, and she left her phone open when she exited the room. I don't know what came over me, but I picked up her phone and started swiping through everything. I don't know what I was looking for or expecting to find. A few seconds later, she came back into the room and caught me. Now she's not speaking to me. Why did I do this? I was frozen and had no words. I don't know what went through my head at the time. Maybe you could tell me why I would betray her privacy? -- Feeling Sorry

DEAR FEELING SORRY: You know why you went through her phone. What you need to do is tell your daughter and apologize. Be brutally honest. Reach out to her and ask her to talk. When she agrees -- which could take some time -- tell her how sorry you are for breaching her confidence by going through her phone. Admit that it has been difficult for you to step back as she grows into the woman she is becoming. Because she was so forthcoming with you when she was young and now she is not, you long to know more about her life. Be frank: You know that you should not have done that. Curiosity took over, and you started looking to see what's going on in her life. Apologize. Promise to respect her privacy moving forward. Ask for her forgiveness.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I have grown up together and stuck together through college. We studied similar fields but have different majors and degrees. We went to a job fair, and he met a recruiter and told me all about the job he was applying for. I was so amazed and couldn't help but feel like that job was a great fit for me. I searched around and got ahold of the recruiter for the position and got myself an interview. We both interviewed for a bunch of different jobs, but I think he wanted this job as much as me. Turns out, I got the job. Now I have to tell my friend, but I never mentioned applying for the job. I am going to be in hot water when I tell him. What should I say? -- I Stole His Job

DEAR I STOLE HIS JOB: This could be a dealbreaker for your friendship because it was clearly a breach of trust, and it was sneaky. You have to tell your friend, but don't be surprised if he cuts you out of his life for your dishonesty. Tell him that you got a job -- the job that he had told you about. Admit that you also interviewed for it after learning about it from him. Tell him the truth. Apologize for not being forthcoming. Ask for his forgiveness. Don't expect it, though.

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