Dear Straight Talk: I’m ashamed to say I was like "No Slut's" sister in a previous column. In addition to having a terrible reputation, which gave my younger sister a bad reputation, I did everything to make her life miserable. The few friends she did make, I drove away. I laughed at her when she was naked, calling her body “gross,” and found it funny when she cried. She begged to share a room with our younger brother, but our mom would not allow it. She thought my sister was exaggerating and brushed it off as sibling rivalry. I’m mature now and have changed. I feel terrible and wish like anything to beg for forgiveness and make it up to her. But I don’t know how to approach her or if the damage can be undone. We hardly see each other now except at unavoidable family occasions and she hardly speaks to me. — S.T.
Kira, 20: If I was your sister, I'd have a really hard time forgiving you. What you did was mean, horrible, and sad and it will definitely take multiple apologies and admissions of guilt. I would fight like hell to earn her trust back, but if she doesn't forgive you, you must accept that. You can only do so much before the ball’s in her court. Give the process time.
Jane, 20: My older sister said really cruel things and treated me roughly, too. I’ll never understand why. Later, she tried to repair the damage, but it was hard for me to trust her. She kept at it, though, and over time, I accepted her. Tell your sister how sorry you are and that you’ve changed. Ask her for the opportunity to show her how different you are. Your sister might not be willing, and it may take a long, long time, but I believe if you keep at it, you will eventually become friends.
Ochatre, 23: The best way to say you’re sorry is with a very sincere heart and mind. Start by acknowledging your wrongs without trying to justify why you did them. Avoid saying I was young then, or immature. It will just worsen the situation. Also understand that an apology won’t change things immediately. Your change of behavior will speak loudest.
Nicole, 23: If your sister is willing to talk, speak from the heart about how badly you feel. Own everything. Then be prepared to listen. In the meantime, work on yourself. People generally disrespect others because they don’t love or respect themselves.
Ryann, 16: Your sister has closed herself off as protection. To regain her trust, you need to prove that you won't hurt her again. Best advice: Never give up on it. Long-standing determination will show you've truly changed and truly want her friendship and trust.
Taylor, 16: At least give yourself credit for not turning it around and blaming her for not forgiving you. People do that.Bullying damage can last a lifetime.Constantly show her kindness. Tell her how much it would mean to you to have a talk. You sound sincerely sorry, so let that remorse come across. If it’s easier, write a heartfelt letter. There’s nothing like having a sister. Good luck rebuilding what you’ve lost.
Dear S.T.: I wish you the best, too. A common trap for people seeking forgiveness is to start fault-finding again if they don't succeed. Make sure to avoid this and stay humble. If she can’t forgive you, forgive her that. And by all means, forgive yourself and let yourself blossom into the good person you are today. — Lauren
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