When I was “in-between jobs” I was able to spend more time observing the lives people created on social networking sites (that’s fancy speak for stalking people). I loved seeing the way people self-edited, showing the version of themselves that appeased most audiences and that they believed was most acceptable. It must be the psychologist in me; I found it fascinating. Over the months I started to see an increase in the number of young people quoting Drake’s “No New Friends”. People wrote candidly of how replaceable people were and how those who do not adhere to the arbitrary friendship rules they had created would be cast away, cut off and never spoken to again.
Cutting people off when they hurt us has become the norm. The problem I have with this treatment of people is that I feel that when we cut people off, we dehumanise them; humans become like commodities that can be dismissed instantly and we fail to see them for beautiful yet imperfect beings that they are. I do not believe good friendships come around every day or by mistake and for this reason I feel they should be protected and fought for. I didn’t always feel this way. I am prone to outbursts of impulsivity – which means that I often react emotionally to situations instead of rationally. In the past I have stopped speaking to friends without a second thought, only allowing myself to look back on the friendship to relive the moment they broke my precious (and weird) friendship rules. As I got older, I noticed that a pattern was emerging. A few months after we’d parted ways, there would always be a moment of clarity; the anger I had felt for so long would ebb away and I would be left with the pain. In the prior months the anger had often eclipsed the pain, so when the pain finally revealed itself, it was always intent on making its presence known. It was always a blinding pain that cut to my core and erupted throughout my body causing the tears I had kept inside to flow freely. In that moment I would realise that what these people had meant to me completely overweighed their indiscretion and how much time I had wasted being angry. I would look around and the people I had loved dearly were no longer around. I would do best at this point, I would call, text, whatever in order to try and save what I had lost. Some of these friendships could be salvaged. Others were not as fortunate; sometimes the bridges we burn are left in ruins and there is nothing that can be done to rebuild them, no matter the efforts being put it on both sides of the water.
So now I am careful. I don’t dismiss people and I do not dismiss friendships. If you mean something to me, I won’t walk away from the friendship that we built together. No, I will try and sort through our issues so at least I know that if we do not make it, it is because the foundation we built together wasn’t strong enough to survive the storm. I have come to understand that my life exists on the basis of second chances. I live because God chooses to forgive me irrespective of the many mistakes I make.
Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I feel as though it is my responsibility to give other people second chances too. There is a time to walk away, don’t get me wrong but before you do so be sure that it is a timely goodbye and not an impulsive decision that will be reviewed with regret in the years that lie ahead.