Got asked to write about second chances, which is an excellent topic no matter what sort of personality or opinion you may have. Life is a series of choices and chances and working out how to manage this in your relationships can have profound effects on your life and wellbeing.
So, as an INFJ this is complicated. On one hand we are people-pleasers, so trivial mistakes people make we forgive easily to resolve conflicts. However, we have something called the “door slam” which is where you cut someone out of your life entirely and permanently. Bit extreme right? The thing is, we don’t like being in limbo, an immature INFJ type may well be there for a while agonizing but mature INFJs will be much more likely to just be straight up with people one way or the other. Less complicated that way.
Here are my top tips for deciding whether to give someone a second chance or not.
1. How severely have they hurt you (physically/emotionally) and how often?
Sometimes human beings have a lapse of judgement and make mistakes. This is life. If you spot this “mistake” or several “mistakes” over and over and over again though it isn’t a mistake anymore. It is intent to hurt, toxic and incredibly damaging and dangerous. Walk away completely if you feel this person is jeopardising your safety and do not feel guilty about it.
2. How many chances do I give if this person doesn’t have many other people to support them? I feel guilty?
If this person doesn’t have many people, they still have a handful of people to lean on so don’t let that stop you if you feel walking is best. They can reach out to someone else other than you. If they have NO other people point them towards professionals, encourage them to take up some sort of social activities to network and meet new people. Ultimately they have to be prepared to accept help to truly start to change their actions on a regular basis. Plus if you’re someone’s close friend or big part in their life, then they should be treating you with the upmost respect because they don’t want to lose you. They should be putting in the effort to keep you happy and safe because they respect you. Remember that.
Warning: People who are regularly manipulative and abusive love to make you feel like you’re the only one who can help, and make you feel alone. This creates power for them and is an attempt to stop you from asking for help from others. Guilt is a powerful motivator and can mean you put up with more than you should.
3. What value does this person add to my life? What positive things have come out of this relationship?
Forgiveness and second chances is far more likely if there are positive experiences from the past to build on and great outcomes awaiting you if you keep them in your life and work toward this together. List all the positives and negatives, assess their willingness to have a conversation with you and truly act on any suggestions. If struggling to find a good reason to keep a person in your life that tells you all you need to know.
4. If I forgive, does that really wipe the slate clean?
For me, no it doesn’t, I forgive but I do not forget. Why? Because no person is a clean slate, we are all a series of mistakes and life lessons and successes. Relationships are about whether those life lessons can carry you forward if you work together, mistakes and all.
5. Is it possible to build an even better relationship with someone if they’ve hurt you in the past? Or will the relationship always be tainted by it?
Again, it depends on whether the hurt caused has been turned into some lessons and positive actions or not. Two people have to actively set ground rules for any relationship to work, then if someone oversteps the mark or makes a mistake they have to put it right for the relationship to continue to go from strength to strength. This is absolutely possible but requires serious communication skills and individual ownership of whatever mistake was made. No blame, just acceptance and action to put it right. If that action doesn’t materialise, or another mistake is made, then yes, that pain in the past will serve to weaken the relationship.
In short, people are complicated. Forgiveness is a powerful tool when used thoughtfully and carefully and shows your good natured character. Equally, you need to notice and take action when someone is intentionally trying to hurt you or no longer walks the same path as you in life. Surround yourself with people who value you. Find the strength to walk away from what no longer does you any good.