Thank ex for good deed - and let it go

The Baltimore Sun

DEAR HARRIETTE -- I let my ex-girlfriend stay with me at my apartment when she traveled to my city recently for a job interview. We did not sleep together.

On the day of her departure, I had to leave earlier than she to make it to work on time. When I returned that evening, she had already left for the airport, but she had fully stocked my refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. There had to have been about $500 worth of groceries. I appreciate the gesture, but should I send her the money or something?

Timothy, Queens, N.Y.

Dear Timothy --What you should do is recognize that your ex-girlfriend is a true, conscientious friend. Moreover, you are also a friend to her. That neither of you attempted to cross the line from friend to romantic partner shows that you have matured to a point where you can see beyond romance. You can see to the space of true friendship.

I would consider this realization a blessing. Your ex thought kindly enough of you to stock your shelves. Unless you believe she had ulterior motives, I would consider that she decided she wanted to show her appreciation for your hospitality. How great is that?

Instead of sending her a check, which she would likely consider an insult, write her a note saying how thoughtful you considered her gesture to be, and how much you appreciate her friendship. No doubt she will appreciate that.

By the way, leave it there. Unless you have a sense that more romance is on the way, don't bait for some.

DEAR HARRIETTE --I hosted a birthday party for my wife and invited many of her friends and co-workers, perhaps 20 people, all of whom RSVP'd "yes." But no one showed - not a soul. My wife got all dolled up; I'd catered it and hired a disc jockey. It was pretty bad. She is heartbroken but doesn't want to say anything to the folks who didn't come. May I?

Alexander, Philadelphia

Dear ALEXANDER --I think many people's worst nightmare when hosting a party is that no one will show up. It's tricky what to do next. In regards to your wife's co-workers, leave that alone. She has to continue to work with these people.

If there is a "best friend" in the bunch, I would probably reach out to that person to ask what happened. If a friend calls the house and you answer the phone, ask why that person couldn't make it. I absolutely believe it's OK to express your disappointment to these people.

Given that no one came, I also wonder whether there was some other reasons behind it. Are you sure you sent the right date? Did your wife have a falling out with anyone? These questions are worth contemplating.

Life coach and author Harriette Cole is the creative director of Ebony magazine. You can send questions to

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