DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine passed away recently. She was loved and very popular, so a lot of people have been devastated by her loss.
Some people have chosen to grieve publicly, but I have not.
A lot of people that are publicly mourning my friend were not close with her while she was alive, so it feels as if they are using her death for sympathy or attention. I hate watching it happen, and I know my friend would have hated it, too.
Should I start calling out people about their fake mourning?
DEAR FAKE GRIEF: Don’t be so quick to judge these other people and how they are reacting to your friend’s death. While they may not have been close to her the way you were, it is quite possible that they felt a connection to her or what she represented for them.
When people die, it triggers a wide range of emotions. I often hear of people who will admit that they weren’t close to someone even though they were dramatically affected by the person’s passing.
Stop focusing on those other people. Focus inward instead. Allow yourself to grieve for your friend. Remember the good times you had with her and what made your bond special. Don’t begrudge others for what they are claiming or feeling.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend group made up of about five people. I realized the other day that I’m not particularly close with a certain friend in the group, and we don’t really spend any one-on-one time together. Whenever we are alone, it gets awkward.
How do I connect with the friend in the group I’ve never bonded with?
DEAR SUPERFICIAL FRIENDSHIP: There are often varying degrees of closeness in groups as large as five people. That is natural.
Think back on how the connection began with them. Who brought them in? What are their interests? Do you share any of their interests? Could it be that they are truly a peripheral friend rather than a bestie? Whatever is true is fine. You just need to figure it out so that you engage them accordingly. Maybe it’s best if they show up only when certain other members of the group are present.
If you want to get closer to this friend, that’s fine, too. You will first need to think of what you two share that is worth bonding over. If you want more than a superficial relationship, consider carefully what you want to build upon. Ideally it would be something positive, not gossiping about others or getting into people’s private affairs in any way.
With an idea in mind, reach out to your friend. Get together and let them know that you realize that you two do not talk as much as you would like. Ask if they would like to spend more time together. Suggest an activity that you think you might bond over. And see what happens. If you don’t naturally grow closer, that’s OK. It’s perfectly fine for you to be part of a group friendship but not a one-on-one bond.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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