I love that saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” That’s why I have a 3 strikes you’re out rule–and then that person is permanently cut from my life.
Why have this rule at all? Because keeping people in your life who have no problem hurting you, is just dumb.
Why three times and not two? The way I see it, is that the first time could be an accident. We should all be able to understand that accidents and misunderstandings happen and be able to forgive and let go. The second time, you know it’s not an accident, because it had precedent. The third time however… the person has proven themselves… and not in a good way.
I have big rules for what makes a ‘strike.’ Most people never get strikes. For the ones who do however, it can take a really long period of time to get 3. A strike to me, is a behavior meant to purposely hurt me or someone I love, or a purposeful disregard for who your friend is as a human being.
A really long time ago, I had a friend who I had been close to for a long time. The first strike happened when she decided not to talk to me for a year, while doing anything she could to draw my circle of friends to her instead of me. She eventually came back and apologized (because she wasn’t able to draw them away from me? I still wonder). But I was warned….
The second time, was when her fiance of the time made pointed sexual advances to me and several of my friends. He told me that he didn’t see any problems cheating on her as long as she didn’t know. To me, as a good friend would, I let her know what he said. Instead of vilifying the guy, she vilified me. Another entire year of not talking to me. For a while I was sympathetic and supportive, but a whole year? Strike 2.
She came back and apologized again, saying she would never do anything to damage our friendship again. I told her that the last time was the second strike, and she should know I meant business – I wasn’t going to be drawn into more drama a third time.
Anyway, the third and final strike was when I was going through my divorce. She took the time to befriend my ex, and let everyone, and I mean everyone know what a sh*t she thought I was to get the divorce.
Strike 3, and you’re OUT. I was real about it, called her and let her know our friendship was over. She apologized again, and said she agreed with me 100%, and that she would never do anything like that again. Too d**n bad. Friends don’t stir up negativity behind your back, and they support you, whether they agree with your decisions or not. Being a friend isn’t about judging. Making me into a demon for something that was none of her business was absolutely out of line. I wasn’t going to stand by and be drawn into any more drama.
It took over a decade for that whole thing to play out. And you know what, I don’t miss all the fun we had through the years. Once you lose your trust of someone twice, there’s no reason to keep going there.
Here’s to not being someone else’s doormat.