Note: Inspired by a recent conversation with my brother.
There is a common saying that states a person should “never burn bridges.” In other words, you should generally not leave your job or a relationship with someone at a drop of a dime or end it in a nasty manner. The idea being you never know when you will need to re-cross the burnt bridge in the future. This blog post is going to be about why I think that’s a bunch of horseshit and my own tales of burning bridges. Sometimes, burning bridges isn’t only okay, but necessary because as I was heading into my adult life, there was less room for everything in my past.
Before I get into better detail, I’d like to start off with why I think it’s a bunch of horseshit first. The biggest reason is because it comes off as self serving to me. When people use the term they’ll usually say something such as “You’ll never know when you’ll have to cross the bridge again” or “That person could be your competition or the CEO of a successful business” or “You need to have as many options as possible” etc. Not to sound like a self serving asswipe myself, but what the hell does any of that have to do with me? I can end up being the CEO of a successful professional wrestling business so what’s your point? So the only reason I shouldn’t cut off a relationship is because there just might be a chance the person could be of use to me in the future? Get outta here! People can call me a lot of things, but “fake” and a “liar” are two things Starchaser will never be. And while it’s true my actions and the choices I make will affect my future, I try not to make imprudent decisions so when I do burn a bridge I am someone who has NO intention of ever going back.
In life there’s going to be things that need to be cut off for good and loose ends that need to be tightened. To make another Yu-Gi-Oh! reference, Seto Kaiba literally burned (more like bombed) down his own adoptive father’s building because he’s someone who is more concerned with his present and future than his past. I want to have full control of my life and sometimes there are going to be opportunities and events that come my way when I will need to burn some bridges. The three aspects I’m aware of where it’s possible to burn bridges are your love life, job and friendships which are all three I will be going over.
I’m not going to front, this is the one I have the least amount of experience in. None of the jobs I had were ones which provided me consistent pay and I never felt the need to end them in a negative way because my bosses let me do whatever I wanted or I was my own boss. But the times I wouldn’t mind having a Typhlosion use Fire Blast on a bridge is when my employer and/or coworkers disrespect me, point blank and put a period on it. Disrespect can mean different things to different people so I need to explain what disrespect in a working environment would be to me. A big one would be if I was sexually harassed. If I was threatened to be a human sacrifice. Being called a derogatory term. Having my work schedule changed without notifying me first. These are some examples where I have scant patience and will go off on my coworkers and/or boss. Besides, if someone is leaving their job, I can only surmise they’re looking for a more fun and challenging job. And from what I’ve seen, employers seem to be more concerned with you knowing someone who already works at the job who can vouch for you than any of the references from your past job(s).
Again, this isn’t one I have much experience with. Lol, no, I’ve had a girlfriend and took women out on dates, but none of them ended with either of us screaming or yelling at each other. The quickest way I would break up with my woman is if she cheated on me. I know my value as a human being and as a man and I know I deserve the best in a woman because that’s what I give her. If I did know she was cheating on me I wouldn’t mind calling my favorite TV show “Cheaters” to help me solve the case, but Joey Greco isn’t the host anymore so I wouldn’t be able to meet one of the coolest guys on the planet so what would be the point? Well, it would make for a good episode I guess, but I want to meet Joey Greco! Another reason I’d break a relationship off is if she was keeping me from pursuing my dreams. My partner should be someone with her own aspirations and goals, not leeching onto mine! She also should be someone who supports whatever it is I’m doing, no matter how crazy it sounds.
Now we get to the good part, the aspect I have the most experience and knowledge in. To start off, I’ve changed a lot since I was a freshman in high school. The transition is nothing less than amazing and ever since then I’ve been making an effort to grow in all areas of my life. It’s a wonderful journey, but this growth has caused some of my past friendships to die off. Long time ago (it sure seems to be the case), trusted friendships that once felt unbreakable have now faded into a distant memory, only to be revisited through occasional stories such as this. The source which held us together and had our lives intertwined on a daily basis is no more and we’re now on progressively diverging paths. Losing a friend is always hard, but sometimes it’s for the best. There have been times where I struggled to let go, attempted to make efforts to re-spark the camaraderie, but it was all for naught.
Evaluating my Friendships
Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. – Oprah Winfrey
The company I keep around have to be people who are going to be supportive, motivated and inspirational. People who can change my life. My friends have been a major factor in my personal growth and in order to keep growing, I have to surround myself with the type of people I just mentioned. Once I moved to America and once I graduated, I realized I had to pick and choose who was worth maintaining a friendship with. Because we no longer have a common source (in this case, high school) where we can meet every day. The chances of us meeting up are now limited, but thankfully due to the internet and technology I can still keep in contact with the people I want to with the greatest of ease. Around the time I deactivated my Facebook, I got the phone numbers of the people I wanted to stay in touch with, but before I even deactivated my account I organized every single person on my friend list into a few categories:
- Friend – People who add value consistently, make me look at the world in a different manner, never questioned why I was friends with this person, are there when I need them, inspire me to do my best, would care if they died.
- Acquaintances – Someone I just have small talk with and spent some time on when I was in middle school or a freshman and nothing more. Would not care if they died.
- Unfriend – People who don’t add value or no longer do, take away value, I don’t know personally or whom I don’t want around.
Haha, it may not have been as sophisticated as the categories Aristotle did, but it got the job done. I feel like I should also define what “value” means to me in a friendship so here you go:
- Can have small talk and deep conversations with
This whole process led me to more questions and a better perspective on what I now call a “friend”. Questions kept floating in my head one after another. What do I want out of my friends? How can I be a better friend? Will I always be friends with these people? What type of people do I want to be around? After this examination I realized a number of things: most of my “friends” back in my freshman year and below were actually “acquaintances” or “unfriends”. This meant I was wasting time on them when I could be spending it on people in new relationships. Also, they didn’t have the value I desired.
So after it was all done, what exactly did I do? Well, I deactivated my Facebook! Besides that, I of course, burnt down the bridge!!! It just motivated me to go out of my way to thank the friends I have to this day for what they mean to me. I’m grateful and I will always express it and work on improving those relationships. Not spending enough time with loved ones will NOT be one of my regrets.
In the end, sometimes you need to move on from the past to open a new window of opportunity. You have to realize it’s time to move on from some relationships in order to invest more of your time and patience into the substantial ones. If the bridge is unsafe, dilapidated and useless, BURN THE BRIDGE!!!