A few years back as a student in an Indian university, my affair with a girl (call her A) and the subsequent break-up became a public affair. A had no role in this publicity and she had already graduated before the publicity happened. Unable to continue under the circumstances, I dropped out. A year later, I received a friend request from her friend (call her B) on a social network. We became casual online friends. This question is regarding communication with B, as I discuss in the following paragraphs.

I worked in the industry for a few years, but some fateful events brought me back to my university, and I recently completed my degree. Completing my degree was a poignant moment for me, a moment of gratitude. I thanked all the professors and office staff who helped me out in any way. I am now planning to go for a doctorate degree and am very happy to be back where I truly belong.

As this felt like a moment of closure for a somewhat sad past, I thought I needed to thank B too. She had unwittingly helped me (another long story). But telling her that she helped me meant traversing the events of my drop-out year. But I still decided to communicate this gratitude to her.

In an online chat with B a few months back, I disclosed this to B. She was shocked to know that I had dropped out, misunderstanding that I had still not forgotten the events with A, and was probably looking for a rebound. Before I could get to the point that I was thankful to her and that I was happy to be back in academia, the conversation ended and we disconnected on the social network.

Now, I am left with a feeling of regret of having sent the wrong message to B that I hold A culpable of my past circumstances, which is not the case. Further, she still respects me as an intellectual person (I had a good reputation as being the top of my class) and disconnected only because she didn't want to cause any further harm.

I am planning to send her a unidirectional email (i.e. with no obligation for her to reply back, ending our conversation on a positive note). In this email:

  • I want to apologize for our last conversation
  • I want to thank her for her (unwitting) help

How could I express gratitude without causing any further misunderstanding, with the hope of ending our friendship on a positive note?

  • 2
    Hello Rakt, posts on IPS usually require a set goal to achieve and especially shouldn't be either a phrasing request or a general "How to do...?" Sort of question. So you should explain us first, what is the problem with the aproach of just telling(/writing) her what you wrote us here? And if you explained that, we would see a clear problem and from that ongoing, you could ask us how to solve the specific problem you are facing. We can't tell you how to contact that person or what to write/tell when contacting. Thats most likely why you question is closed already.
    – dhein
    Oct 22, 2019 at 11:46
  • @dhein Thanks for your comment. I have abridged my long question and made the problem more objective. Could you point out exactly where I need to improve in this question at this point? I will try to refine it further tomorrow, as I am travelling right now.
    – Rakt
    Oct 22, 2019 at 13:57
  • Have a check on your edit history, your edit was in fact very good, but avazula made the question itself ontopic with their edit shifting it from asking how to do something into an ontopic goal to ask about. Try to adapt that for possible future posts and you should be fine :)
    – dhein
    Oct 23, 2019 at 5:04
  • 1
    @dhein Interesting edit by avazula. "From asking how to do something into an on-topic goal to ask about" : I will keep this in mind for future posts. How do we open the question now?
    – Rakt
    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:05
  • 2
    The community needs to agree on this now being a valid ON-topic post, by voting to reopen it. It needs 5 reopen votes to be reopened again. So far you obtained 3 votes. For further questions on how the sites mechanics work, feel free to check out META ( either interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com or meta.stackexchange.com )
    – dhein
    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:13

1 Answer 1


I read your story and your dilemma. I think you know what happened, i.e. B believed you wanted a special friendship with her, which she did not want and thus disappeared. You ask how to clear up the misunderstanding and also express your gratitude in an email for which you do not expect a reply.

I wrote a sample email that might serve as a draft. Feel free to use it in whole or in part.

Hello B,

I am sorry I was unclear in my last conversation. I do not blame anyone, least of all you or A, for my earlier difficulties. I have moved on, thanks in large part to your friendship, and have now graduated with my degree. I am proceeding to do my doctorate. All this feels very good to me and I wanted to express my gratitude to all who helped me along the way. This includes professors and friends like you.

I realize you have a full life and are very busy. I will not expect a reply but wish everyone well who helped me along the way.

Respectfully, [your name]

Mixing her in with others who helped you, and for whose help you are grateful, was intentional. This will diffuse the attention on her personally and help her feel less exposed. She will realize you are on a mission to thank everyone, not just her.

  • 1
    Thank you. The sample is succinct and very positive. This will be very helpful. And your "diffusing the attention" part is quite thoughtful. I didn't think of it in this manner.
    – Rakt
    Aug 3, 2020 at 13:38

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