July 29, 2013 - submitted by Jackson, United States of America

Q. Hello, Oracle. I have a very serious problem. I was talking with a very close friend of mine, and she began sharing one of her ideas for a book she wants to write (we are both writers). I was trying to criticize her idea, but it turned into insulting the idea unintentionally. She is currently mad at me, and I really want to apologize, but I don't know the best way to do so without high risk of injury. I wrote a letter of apology that I will give to her, but I really don't know how else to be sincere about it. I feel terrible. Is there anything else I can do? She's one of the best friends I've ever had, and I would like us to still be friends. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you in advance.

The Oracle replies:

Where you went wrong was to criticize instead of critique. Nobody like criticism unless it's constructive. Think how you'd feel if it was the other way around. Then think about how she could make it right. When you know what you'd need to hear, see if you can put that into words. Failing that just tell her what you told me. Send that letter!