The Art of Second Chances*

*Alternatively known as, sometimes you’ll wish they choked on a piece of cake, a burrito or a cookie but don’t worry you’re still a good person for offering a second chance even though nine times out of ten you’re a moron for doing so and everyone knows it (including yourself).

Do what makes you happy. While in pursuit of said, “happiness”, finding a friend or significant other who genuinely listens, understands and is supportive of your choices can help uplift your overall mental "marshmallowness". Responsibility, change and stress can have a funny affect on people though. It sometimes becomes difficult to see the happier aspects of life when you’re bogged down in the thick of it; it can be a quick sidestep to selfishness.

Here’s the thing, friendships and relationships are two way streets. Kindness and respect are a privilege, not a right. Sure, everyone makes mistakes and is guilty of being an asshole at one point or another. I mean, for real, have you met me? I’m forever apologizing for acting like a tool. Those of you reading this who have received aforementioned apologies from me are probably chuckling right now; you get it. (I’m fairly certain I wrote the exact same thing about myself in a different blog even… but I’m too lazy to check.) Everyone has ups and downs in life. It’s all about knowing when to roll with the ebb and flow versus standing up for yourself and turning away from a significant situation.

The difference between genuine friendships/relationships and selfish ones is whether you admit to making a mistake or if you feign ignorance and continue being selfish. Say for instance, someone purposely breaks your camera and then spray paints, “Nancy The Slut Wheeler” on the town movie theater marquee. Your gut reaction is to think, “Fuck. That. Psycho.” What if that person, turns around and cleans off the spray paint though? Tracks you down to apologize, then assists you in some crazy, unbelievable hunt to kill a monster? Buys you a new camera? Do you give that person a second chance? Of course you do. They’ve admitted fault and tried to genuinely rectify the issue; they’ve rebuilt your trust in them.

“Oh! Steve! We LIKE Steve! But we don’t LOVE Steve.” Uhhhh… yeah man, we DO love Steve. We love him for his weaknesses and desire to be better. We love him for his willingness to understand and help others. We LOVE him because he’s a fictional fucking character written to be a flawed but ultimately kind and respectful person. I mean, Steve’s face exists on a tee-shirt!

In real life though, if someone like Steve broke your camera and spray painted humiliating and hurtful things, you’d file a police report and attempt to get a restraining order against him. In real life, if someone like Steve cleaned the graffiti, apologized and bought you a new camera, he’d be a manipulative, mentally abusive dickhole.

Now, that we’ve established why television and other forms of fictional entertainment make us want to (delusionally) give second chances, let’s move on to the crux of this blog. Encountering a selfish situation, successfully breaking away from the person and having the person eventually return to tell you they’ve learned from their mistakes and want to be part of your life again.

First of all, as I said earlier, do what makes you happy. If you want that person back in your life, let them back into your life; ultimately… it’s your choice. However, don’t make the choice to prove a point, don’t make the choice for your OWN selfish reasons, don’t make the choice for revenge and don’t make the choice to make THEM happy. All decisions in life will end badly if you don’t make choices with the best of intentions and even with the best of intentions, it can still sometimes turn into a shitshow, right quick.

Second, if you’re offering another chance, make a point to discuss the previous situation so that both people understand.* Then, make like Elsa and, “Let It Go.” Start fresh. Don’t be the douche that continually brings up mistakes which have already been forgiven.

*Side note: If they don’t want to discuss the previous issue before moving forward, that’s a major red flag. Should this situation occur, simply open the door, tuck, then roll out of the moving vehicle. You’ll be fine.

Third, genuinely forgive but don’t forget. Some people honestly change, most of them don’t. Once the same mistakes begin repeating themselves, don’t turn a blind eye. Ask yourself if the friendship or relationship is worth keeping, should things stay exactly the same. If your answer is NO, then cut your losses. You cannot change another person, you can only change yourself.

Last, but not least, be strong enough to permanently walk away. Hurting now or being angry will still hurt less than dragging shit out and hurting more later.

There is a phrase known as, Escalation of Commitment also referred to as the, Sunk Cost Fallacy. Essentially it’s the irrational belief that time, effort or money have gone into an emotional or financial investment for so long that it will eventually pay off (when it never will), making it difficult to grasp the option of walking away with losses.

Here’s a quick mental picture of the spectrum for you.

If your attempt at giving a second chance didn’t pan out so you cut and ran early on: It means you didn’t get to try out the amazing bbq place that you were promised.

If you continued to dump kindness, respect and emotional support into the depths of murky waters in which you were drowning: You end up crying on a random Wednesday night and apologizing (technically to your phone) for shit that isn’t relevant to the original upset.

Seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it?

Then there is the true art of a second chance:

Giving someone a second chance and after time has passed, realizing it seems improbable there was ever a stretch of time when they weren’t around. Recognizing that you can no longer imagine your life without their friendship, makes all the other second chance failures worth it.

Do what makes you happy guys. Just don’t step on other people in the process of getting there.

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