We’ve been thinking a lot about second chances lately: when to give them, who to give them to, and how they’re earned. Second chances are complicated, because we all want to be one of those magnanimous, forgiving souls who write inspiring essays for O magazine, but at the same time, no one wants to be a gullible doormat. There’s a balance between forgiveness and foolishness; the trick is learning to walk the tight rope. Sometimes second chances are in order, and sometimes, in the cases of hipster bars or douche-y exes, it’s best to just cut your losses and move on. Here are 15 things that (almost) always deserve a second chance, and 10 things that strike out after one.
Things That DO Deserve A Second Chance:
1. Most people. Because, to quote Kid President, “We all mess up sometimes. The biggest mess up? Not forgiving each other’s mess ups.”
2. The vegetable you swore you hated when you were 10. It’s time to end the war on lima beans.
3. The therapist you didn’t quite connect with in the first session. Is it really her fault that you didn’t feel like talking about your mom that day?
4. A so-so first date. Inaugural dates can be marred by a variety of things: nerves, expectations, bad first impressions. If there was even a tiny hint of a spark, it’s worth another go.
5. The book you started writing four years ago and stopped because it was too hard. Whenever you’re ready, the world needs your book. Even if it’s Sasquatch erotica.
6. A two-piece swimsuit. No matter your size, you never know if you feel ready to rock a bikini until you try it on.
7. The vacation spot that you visited with your partner right before you broke up. Trust us, Maui looks very different without all the tears and silent treatments.
8. The workout you hated the first time. Zumba class #1: awkward and mortifying. Zumba class #2: “Hey this is kinda fun!”
9. The boots you decided not to buy but can’t stop thinking about. When you dream about a piece of clothing, it’s time to go back and get it.
10. The friend who was going through a hard time and treated everyone like shit. Give people a few month grace period to be assholes when they’re going through a hard time. Someday you’ll need it, too.
11. The trend that you got made fun of for trying in middle school. Your neon high-tops and bolo ties were just ahead of your time, girl.
12. The guy you dated in college who’s all grown up now. As long as he’s ditched the Baja hoodie, he deserves another shot.
13. The coffee shop down the block that just opened and didn’t have half & half. Give them a few months to work out the kinks, and realize that half & half is kind of important.
14. The book that you couldn’t get through your sophomore year of English. The specter of your tattered copy of Wuthering Heights will haunt you forever until you finish it.
15. Your new brother-in-law. Chances are he’s going to be in your life awhile. Make an effort to find something to like about him.
….And 10 Things That DON’T Deserve A Second Chance:
1. People who treat you like crap and show no remorse. Has there been an “I’m sorry” or some kind of awareness that they’ve been acting like a jerk? If not, move on.
2. The overpriced hipster bar that made you feel dowdy and old. They can keep their ironic fanny packs and $8 PBRs.
3. The job that laid you off. If they didn’t appreciate you, they don’t deserve you.
4. The girl who was mean to you in elementary school but wants to be friends as an adult. Give her a chance to show she’s changed, but if she starts calling you “Stinky Sally” again, cut her off.
5. The nut that sent you into anaphylactic shock. Best to not experiment with second chances when deadly food allergies are involved.
6. The high-maintenance haircut. If didn’t have the patience to flat iron your bangs then, you probably still don’t.
7. The guy who didn’t tell you he had an STD. Seriously, bro? Seriously?!
8. The restaurant with the food that looked like art and tasted like shit. You’re paying for a meal, not a sculpture. And meals should taste good.
9. The high-priced boutique that made you feel like you didn’t belong. Only exception: a “Pretty Woman” revenge moment.
10. The date who pressured you for sex or made comments that made you feel creepy. Not OK one time, definitely not OK a second or third time.