Posts Tagged ‘forgiving a friend’

Or, Why Forgive and Forget Should Have a Well-Known Limit

This blog might make me come off sounding like an angry person. That might be because I am an angry person, but hear me out. I will try to keep it as neutral and logical as possible even though this is a topic that currently hits close to home.

The idea of “forgive and forget” is probably a healthy one. It’s good to not keep anger deep inside and to dwell on things and to constantly cut people out of your life for being idiots and/or jerks. HOWEVER…I get confused when people shame me for not playing “forgive and forget” after a metaphorical million times with the same person, or when I refuse to do it with someone who has done something I deem pretty unforgivable.

First of all, I’m confused as to why other people care enough to condemn me for holding onto my anger. Yeah, it’s not healthy, but neither is getting drunk and smoking cigarettes, and I don’t see them following around people who do those things and lecturing them. In fact, a lot of things are unhealthy. Eating a lot of junk food, staring at your phone for hours at a time, driving over the speed limit when it’s raining out… But apparently my ability (amazing ability) to hold a grudge forever is offensive.

But secondly, and most importantly, why should you continuously forgive and forget? I’m assuming there’s a valid reason why you were ready to cut them out of your life in the first place. To be completely honest, there are times I just meet someone or look at someone and just get this feeling that I won’t like them or won’t get along with them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about people who were legitimately in your life and they did something to make you mad and/or sad, and you’re ready to say good bye forever. The logical thing is to take a minute to take a step back and evaluate. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have many friends in my life. Most people make me angry at some point to some degree. It’s probably my fault. So I ask myself, is it worth staying angry over? Most of the time, no, it’s not.

So I’m not completely unreasonable, thank you.

But there are times when I make a mental list of reasons why I’m upset, and then try to factor in why I was friends with them to begin with and why it’s nice to be friends with them. If the “Why I’m Upset” side tops the other side, guess what…bye forever.

A friend of mine said that all of the time. Bye Forever. I think it’s hilarious. Another friend of mine would get angry about it and demand to know why it’s “forever.” But I digress.

It seems to me that there’s this idea that people need to have tons of friends and to be buddy-buddy with anyone that breathes. I find it confusing. Why quantity over quality? Yes, humans are social creatures by nature, but some like social more than others. I honestly find social to be exhausting most of the times. So it’s not hurting me any to weed out the crowd.

And I feel like it becomes a self-esteem issue at some point. Why should a person have to friends with someone who has treated them like dirt? Are you that hard up for friends? If you find yourself unable to have friends outside of people who treat you badly, you need to reevaluate a lot of things. Do you go out of your way to be friendly to other people? Do you try to find engaging and interesting things to talk about to new people? Do you make yourself approachable? Do you try to be controversial and make people uncomfortable for shock value? I feel like almost anyone can have good friends, but you have to try. I’m not exactly the most amazing person, but I have managed to find some truly genuine and great friends. However, there have been many scenarios over the years in which I constantly went through “friends” who were either psychologically abusive or just not good for me. Part of that was my fault. I constantly let their behavior slide and I told myself I just wasn’t worth having “cool” or good friends. And after each time that this “friend” would make me feel bad or make me angry or leave me disappointed, I turned on myself. So, to the people who think it’s unhealthy to not forgive and forget…which is more unhealthy? Refusing to forgive someone else and let them back into your life so they can inevitably upset you again, or constantly blaming yourself for the other people making you feel bad?

I’m not a certified psychologist, but I’m going to lean toward the latter on that.

You are worth more than that. In fact, when I do have an occasion of someone treating me like dirt and I feel awful, I think–and it’s probably true–I would rather be a little lonely than to surround myself with fake, terrible people. I’m not that kind of a person. Maybe they make good friends to other fake people, but that makes me feel bad. Why do it to myself?

So in summary, if someone gives you grief for refusing to forgive and forget, just explain to them that they don’t live your life and you didn’t ask for their opinion, so they can stop wasting your time. I like to be a little harsh at times. Deliver it with a wry tone and it makes them wonder if you’re mad at them now. That’s always fun for a while. But in all seriousness…you shouldn’t have to be friends with someone who treats you badly. Feel sorry for them because they don’t have a lot of friends? Feel free to tell them why you’re going to stop being friends with them. Give them some advice so they don’t screw up the next relationship. Or tell them to give you a call when they decide to stop being a bitch. Believe it or not, when I get to the point where I don’t want to be friends with someone anymore, I physically find it hard to even talk to them or look at them in the face, so I find this hard. But maybe it will give you some peace of mind. Some closure. But you have to remember: feeling guilty or bad for that person will not make them stop treating you like an object. It will just encourage it unless you step up and do something. Should you give them more than one chance? Yes, I think you should. But you have to choose where the line is. I personally advocate the “three strikes and you’re out” method. If you can list three “good” reasons why they are terrible…and I don’t mean like, they drive 5 over the speed limit and you don’t like that they break the law. But things like, they made me promise to go to this party with them that I really didn’t want to go to because I have social anxiety and then they stood me up at the last minute and I have to awkwardly leave by myself…or, you make plans to do something with them a week in advance and they make the decision to drink themselves drunk and stay up super late so then they are hungover the whole day you’re supposed to be having fun and they stop you from doing what you were doing to do…or, they constantly don’t trust you and talk about you behind your back…I feel like those can go on a seemingly endless list of “good” reasons.

Be good to yourself. Part of being healthy is being happy. Have good quality friends.


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