I’m not quite sure how this came up – but I got to thinking. Everybody makes mistakes, right? Most of us are willing, in the right situations, to give someone a second chance…. but how many chances are too many? How many opportunities do we give someone to slip up again, and again, and again, before we cut them off? Where do we draw the line?
There’s no easy answer for this, and I sure as heck don’t have an answer for you. It’s a tough line to draw. If you give everyone only one chance and are never willing to give a second chance, you’ll come off as stingy, harsh, mean, rude, standoffish. But if you give people chance after chance, you’ll be letting people walk all over you, and that’s not good, either.
I suppose it’s all about reading the situation and how YOU react to it personally… but it’s also about knowing where to draw the line, which might be partly instinct and partly someone slapping you and going “Hey! YOU! That person has hurt you way too many times, stop letting them do that!” Sometimes you need that wake-up call, because you can’t see it yourself.
Sometimes it’s about the timing, too. If someone makes the same mistake three, four, five times in a short period of time…. it’s probably time to let them go. If they make the same mistake twice in a year – well, that might be more open to interpretation. If someone hurts you time and time again, maybe it’s time to let them go and stop allowing them to hurt you that way. It may be hard, but it’s the right thing to do.
I’m all for giving people a second chance. Most of the time, I’ll even give them a third chance…. sometimes even a fourth. I’m certainly one of those people who falls into the category of giving people far too many chances, but I think I’m learning my limits: protecting myself while still remaining open to giving people a chance. It’s not easy, and it definitely takes practice to know your own limits… to know when to walk away.
I will say this: most of the time, I’ve found, if you’re seriously questioning if giving someone another chance is a good idea – it probably isn’t a good idea. If you have to think about it that much, you shouldn’t really be thinking about it at all.