Saturday, January 9, 2010

Burning Bridges. Bridges Burned. (Jan 5, 2009)

(posted to Facebook, January 5, 2009)

After some light research, the proverb "don't burn bridges"
apparently has to do with professional situations, such as
when one leaves a job or is 'downsized.'

"No one ever knows where the next
client will come from. So, it is sound
advice in any field, including law firm
marketing, to not burn bridges with
former partners, associates, staff,
and the firm itself. Even if the parting
was less than cheerful on either side,
time heals all wounds."

(I'm not even going to start on the belief that time heals all

"Don't burn bridges when you leave a
job. You never know when you will need
a reference."

(References? Okay, so we can see how this saying relates to
the professional realm... what about one's friend circles?)

I've had my share of experiencing both burning bridges and
bridges being burned. However, in relation to a recent development,
I was reprimanded for my burn-the-bridge attitude. I have since
been reminiscing over every other burned bridge experience I have,
as well as reevaluating this most recent situation.

(It's funny... when people are critical toward me it really bothers
me... I suppose it's because I am quite the critical person myself)

(My advance apologies... the following cases are going to be
explicitly vague)

Case One:
Extremely long story short... the lifelong friendship was nearing
its inevitable collapse, which was compounded by the fact that
I was the only one that wanted to save it, or at least try. (see
One-Sided War) Once I finally decided to walk away (burn the
bridge?), we didn't talk at all for at least three months. Then we
were... okay. Now we're... I don't know. We're not anything,
really. We simply no longer interact. We have moved to different
circles that do not intercept.
Right choice?
Yes. The demise of the friendship was inevitable, I just made it
happen more efficiently. Otherwise, I would have been emotionially
invested in the (one-sided) fight for too long, causing myself an
undue amount of heartache.

Case Two:
A particular friend had become a negative influence and had
shown me this with lots of red flags of various sizes. We stopped
talking for a while. Then it was weird. Now we're okay and civil
and provide social interaction as opposed to influence.
Right choice?
Yes. The friend and the friendship itself was no longer providing
any benefit and, as selfish as it may sound, the purpose of a
friendship is to provide camaraderie and support and joy and, when
such fails to be provided, the friendship is no longer a worthwhile

Case Three: (the recent situation)
Acquaintance/Friend began to show their true motives and
attitudes and actions and personality and it was emotionally
draining to argue with them relentlessly, so I organized my final
statement so that I could have closure and have since not said
a word. Well, one, but that was purely a polite reflex.
Right choice?
Um. We weren't even that good of friends anyway and I wasn't
very emotionally invested at all, but a good friend of mine and
a mutual friend of ours was quite invested and has since chosen
to stick with it. Those in cases one and two were ones that I
considered to be bests.

Don't burn bridges... don't burn bridges...

I think that people should have an imagination when it comes
to interpreting things... sometimes. The advice of not burning
bridges in the business world is because one may some day need
that bridge for advice or a reference or some such thing, which
is clearly quite the selfish motive. However, when transferred
into the friend world, most interpret the act of preserving bridges
to be one of compassion... that a friendship should not be cut
off simply because one is tired.

Tired? Try exhausted.

But regardless, not burning bridges is a selfish thing to do and
that is why we should burn bridges.

Hm. I don't think that will go over well.

I guess... it's a personal decision and a conclusion that one must
come to based on how much is invested, how much is at risk, and
how much it hurts (or how much aggravation it is causing). Basically,
if a friendship is having negative consequences, whether stress or
heartache or incorrect influence or extreme frustration, it is time for
that friendship to be evaluated objectively and for a bridge to be
considered for burning.

So... if case three isn't giving you an unbearable amount of stress
or heartache or incorrect influence or extreme frustration, and you
have evaluated (because I know you have) and have decided to
press on... with my whole heart I support you.

Maybe you're just more patient than I am. I suppose you're also
more invested than I am, since your friendship in case three is
exponentially greater than mine had ever been.

One last thing... do not, in any way, ever interpret this to mean
that you should give up at the slightest sign of the smallest trial.

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