Monday, 1 December 2014

Real Life Lesson - A fly in the pumpkin pie

If there's anything I've learned, it's that it doesn't matter how much you try to make up for being an asshole, the fact remains that you will never be trusted again. Ever. No matter how big or small your transgression.

This isn't a pity party, I'm sincerely giving you my thoughts based on my experiences.

If you have insulted someone, either by accident or on purpose because for half a second in your life you were an asshole, you can never repair that relationship. You will always be considered an ass and you can never make another mistake ever because forgiveness doesn't truly exist. People may say they forgive you but they will never forget how you made them feel. Even if you've made up for it time and again with good things, that one minuscule insult will stay with them forever.

Let's break this down because I can hear you saying, "Wow, she's got a chip on her shoulder over something." I don't. I'm just realizing some truths about my past behaviour and the revelation is there is truly nothing I can do to change someone's opinion of me once they have crafted that opinion in their minds.

Let's say you have some good friends among your coworkers but then you find another job and you move on. How many of them remain friends with you? I guarantee that if you have ever hit a rough patch with any one of them, those are the friends who will quickly become ex-friends. Why? Because people measure the effort it takes to maintain a friendship with how worth it you are to them...and your worth is brought down by any bad thing you have ever done. And by "bad thing" I mean something as little as not agreeing with the majority on an issue, like when everyone gets together for a "best pumpkin pie" contest and you choose not to participate because you don't like pumpkin pie. Well, now you're not a joiner. You're an outcast because you didn't participate and worse than that you have inadvertently insulted anyone who likes pumpkin pie. People will talk about that fun pumpkin pie contest for years to come and will always remind you that you didn't participate because you hate pumpkin pie. No no, you respond, I don't hate it, it's just not my favourite. Years go by and there's a potluck where you are asked to bring dessert but don't worry, says the organizer, you won't be asked to bring pumpkin pie. Ha ha ha. Isn't that funny? No, it isn't really.

Now you are labelled. The pumpkin pie hater. This is a simple example of how you can quickly become the outsider.

Now, you move on from that job and you try to invite friends over for dinner or out for drinks. They accept, initially, but after time they are less and less available. So you stop asking. And one day you find the only connection you have to them anymore is on your Facebook page, where God forbid, you post a picture of a pumpkin cheesecake and your old friend comments, "I thought you hated pumpkin". Face palm. This is the only comment they have put on your page in months because the only thing they remember about you is the one negative thing you did to them. Make no mistake, you did it to them, you insulted them without even knowing it.

In the end, you were the fly in the ointment, all because you didn't play along. Instead, you set your boundaries. And those boundaries will be held against you for the rest of your life.

And one day, out of the blue, you will discover that your old college friends have been having annual summer reunions that you have never been invited to...and you won't know why.

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