I have a habit of burning bridges. I don’t believe people can change, but some can be more careful about hiding their nature the second time around. My test is to be kind to everyone and watch how they respond once cordialness is unnecessary. The ones who are worth keeping are the ones who show respect; I don’t believe in fighting for friendship. I can be vulnerable to those who show false appreciation because that’s kryptonite to me. I’ve gotten burned a few times because I’m loyal to a fault.

Friendships, however, are stronger by forgiveness. We’re supposed to survive our fights and allow pardon to reinforce our understanding. I’ve been forgiven by many friends, but when it comes to me forgiving them, I tend to walk away and never look back. I suppose I have an impossible expectation for people. I want them to be cordial and polite; I want them to be loyal and I selfishly want them to be on my side. I fear isolation amongst company and I fear being the weak link.

Throughout my life I’ve survived bullying. It’s made me seen the worst in people. Some can relate to what I’m saying, but many can’t. I’m always looking out for signs of disrespect. Some people are just assholes and they tend to ruin things for others. I focus too much on the assholes in my life. I expect everyone to be like them even as I’m willing to give everyone a chance. I’m just not generous with my second chances. Once you fuck up with me, it’s over; I’ve got a one strike policy — but it’d take a lot to get to it.

A part of me believes I should change. The other part reminds me of Charlie Brown’s football. I want to be a good guy in a bad world, but some people confuse kindness for weakness. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost patience for bullshit. It’s harder to keep friends this way, but then again, if friends were this easy to get, friendships wouldn’t mean much. People come and go like a revolving door; that’s the sad reality of life. I suppose I can be more forgiving if apologies felt real and they weren’t mere reactions to the guilt trips I’ve given. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I’ve been burned too often. Maybe I’m just a complicated individual who gives too much and expects too much in return.

But I’m trying.