The other day one of my friends said he saw a guy we both new from freshman year of college who we’ll call Toby. My friend invited me to go out with him and Toby on Saturday night. Let’s give Toby a little background first. He was your classic entitled womanizing arrogant college asshole. On the surface, he acted like a nice guy but he’d always let you down in the end. Toby was the type of guy who only cared about himself and would throw you under the bus in a moments notice. Naturally, I couldn’t stand the guy so I answered “I hate that guy” My friend told me he’s not that bad anymore but I insisted that Toby was a piece of trash that my friend shouldn’t be hanging out with. We went back and forth until my friend finally said “people change.” At that point the conversation was going in circles so we called a quits and changed topics.
On my walk home I started thinking about what he said, how people change. At first, being the stubborn know it all that I am, I discounted the fact. People don’t change, shitty people just become older shitty people, right? Then I started thinking about myself. How much have I changed since the last time I saw Toby? The person I was had different values, had a huge ego, and a completely different view on life. Then I thought back to a couple of years ago and how much I have changed since then. Eventually, I realized I am constantly changing. Over the years I have completely reassessed my values and how I live my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from perfect but I’m definitely less shitty then I was five years ago.
I don’t want to push the whole idea of everyone deserves a second chance or forgive and forget. It’s important to form opinions based on past events, it’s called learning. As the saying goes, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” If you see a consistent pattern of behavior you deem unworthy of your time in someone than don’t waste your time on said person. However, in a situation where you have not seen a person for an extended period than be open to the possibility that you could be wrong. I think the more important point present is that if I could change over time why can’t others? If I’ve worked on myself and changed my values for what I believe to be the better that means that people do change.
Does hate stand the test of time? Sometimes you hate someone or something for so long that you forget the reason that hate existed in the first place and then you wind up hating them just because you’ve established in the past that you hate them. Sounds childish, doesn’t it? What’s the point of holding on to all of these old grudges? If we changed and we were able to become better than we once were shouldn’t we be humble enough to expect the same from others? All these questions and more filled through my head in the walk home.
Finally, I shot my friend a text telling him that I changed my mind. I decided to go out with them that Saturday night. Turns out Tobey’s still a piece of shit but my point still remains. It’s okay to give people the benefit of the doubt and see if they’re worth your time. Giving someone a chance says a lot about your character and ability to forgive. It’s important because admitting that it’s possible for others to change opens the door to the possibility that you have and are able to continue changing and better yourself. That they, like you, have changed and are not the same person that they were years ago. Some evolve into bigger or different assholes, some remain the same, but some may surprise you.
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