I was playing 4 square when my friend Sheldon caught the ball, breaking the rules of the game. We tried asking him to get in line and let the next kid go but he refused, telling me that he was still in. Then, some other kids and I got so annoyed with Sheldon, we told him he needed to follow the rules or leave the game. I think Sheldon felt unwanted so he quit the game, taking the ball we were using, so I got a new ball and continued. A couple of minutes later, Sheldon came back saying he wanted to join and give the ball back. We told him no. I got a new ball and no one else wanted to deal with Sheldon’s sharp temper. At lunch recess Sheldon got a ball and started playing by himself. I wanted to join but he told me he wanted to play alone, which is kind of interesting considering 4 square needs four people. Anyway, this made me really mad. I started yelling many cruel things that made him start crying. A teacher came over and he told on me, now I have detention for the next four weeks. I still have not come to terms with Sheldon and I feel terrible about what I did. Owen, I need help! What should I do?
Dear Lonely Louis,
What a dreadful disaster! I can understand how bad it feels when you hurt your friend’s feelings, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Every friendship has its highs and lows, I can almost assure that you and Sheldon will realize just how good of friends you are.
It is important to understand the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt helps you understand and grow while empathiz
ing for others. Shame is when you cut yourself to the core emotionally. In other words, guilt helps you grow while shame makes you feel terrible about yourself.
It’s good that you feel bad because now we know that you value Sheldon’s friendship and you want to make things right. What I think you should do is go right up to Sheldon and apologize. I doesn’t matter if he rejects it, just do it. If he accepts it the first time, great! If he doesn’t, try again the next time you see him (not too much or that will creep him out) and then do this routinely. If this doesn’t work, try to forget about it for a while then out of the blue say to him, “Hey, I’m sorry for the time I yelled at you! I really am!” Hopefully, one of these solutions works and you can be friends with him again.