Well, unfortunately this is about an etiquette breach of my own that still haunts me to this day, and I need some advice on how to handle it properly without creating another one.
The story takes place when my two best friends (one male who I’ll call K, and one female who I’ll call M) and I were in first grade. I used to wear long, rather flowy dresses, and we used to make a game out of lifting the skirt part up and letting it float back down slowly (no idea why we thought this was fun, we were six). We liked to get each other in trouble as well, nothing serious, but we liked to tattle on each other for stupid reasons.
Anyway, though my memory is a bit fuzzy, one day K, M, and I were playing our usual game. At some point I guess M got bored of it and suggested that K snap my underwear as well (we were six so this didn’t seem that inappropriate). He did, and M thought it was hilarious, so she told him to do it again. I was getting a bit annoyed by this point and told M to stop laughing so hard or I would tell the teacher (I don’t remember exactly why I was annoyed, but for the record it wasn’t because I felt violated). She just started laughing harder so I marched over to the teacher to tell on them.
I was totally unprepared for the seriousness with which my claim that K, “Pulled up my dress and messed with my underwear” would be taken by the teacher (though I can obviously see why it was now). I expected her to tell K to stop it as she usually did whenever we tattled, but this was a whole new level. My parents were called, his parents were called, I think he was suspended, he had to handwrite me a two-page note about how sorry he was, and his parents called my parents to apologize. I was horrified at the time because he was my best friend (and my first and still only real crush), and I definitely did not mean to bring this upon him.
We stayed best friends up until fifth grade when he moved away. He would sometimes joke about the incident, but I felt so bad about it that I never really joined in. I’d since told my parents that it really wasn’t that big of a deal, and to definitely not be angry at K or his parents, but nothing was really done to make amends.
So, here I am, eleven years after the incident (seven years of which I haven’t been in contact with him), and he friends me on Facebook (wow, really showing my seventeen here, aren’t I?). I still feel really horribly about this incident, and kind of want to grovel at his feet and apologize profusely, but I’m not sure whether that would be good to do or if it would dredge up something that maybe he would rather forget about? This is where I’m asking for advice. What should I do? 0713-11
He’s made the effort to seek you out and befriend you again after a long hiatus. I’d say that indicates he has gotten past the incident and bears you no ill will. Accept his friendship request, begin to build a nice, new foundation of friendship with him and later down the road, if the timing is right, you can bring up the incident like this, “Remember the time I got you in a boatload of trouble when we were six? I still feel awkward about what I did.” It might open a nice discussion and if he laughs it off , accept his rather informal manner of expressing forgiveness, forgive yourself and move on.