Live Better. Love Better. Work Better.

Should I Give Them a Second Chance?

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC 

           You can probably think of a situation where a person just bugs you. Maybe you just don’t see eye to eye on things, and every time you have a conversation, your blood boils. The sad thing is that when you first met this person, you really thought there was a connection there. Before you make the decision to cut off all communication, maybe you end up in a situation where you are forced to sit next to them. They end up complimenting your new shoes, and you end up chatting. Maybe you then realize that this person isn’t so bad after all and you completely misjudged them. What you thought was them being judgmental and self-centered was actually just them being a bit more shy and introverted.

           This is one of those situations that teaches us that we can incorrectly judge others and sometimes miss out on opportunities to enrich our lives. Sometimes we make misjudgments that might lead us to get taken advantage of. However, sometimes we can be too harsh, which can prevent us from getting to know people who might actually be good for us.

           Whitbourne (2016) offers six reasons to give second chances:

  1.     You’re missing out on expanding your horizons.

It can sometimes seem hard to relate to people who seem different from us, especially because of stereotypes. However, getting over these stereotypes about people can help you learn from someone who might have a different social background, nationality, etc. from you. You’ll also be better able to work through your social biases when you interact with people who may differ from you.

  1.     You might end up surprised.

If you open your mind up to giving someone a second chance, you might realize that you were wrong about the person all along. As discussed earlier, sometimes someone’s shyness can be mistaken for them being conceited. And if you too are a more introverted person, it turns out then that you have more in common than you thought, and a great friendship might emerge.

  1.     You were in a bad mood when you decided to give up on the other person.

A study done by University of California Davis’s Justin Caouette and Amanda Guyer in 2015 found that your mood can greatly affect the way you perceive the way others feel about you. For example, if you are sad or angry around the time you meet someone, you might draw the wrong conclusions about them because of your negative mood. Trying to be in a better frame of mind the next time you interact with the person could give you a whole different perspective about them. 

  1.     It was jealousy that led you to reject the person in the first place.

Envy and jealousy are tricky, partially because we often don’t want to admit to ourselves that we feel this way about others. However, if you are envious of someone who you think is better than you, it might lead you to distance yourself from that person rather than lean into the reasons why they might be great. Try remembering that it is entirely possible for you AND that person to both have great qualities!

  1.     It was someone else’s negative intention that led you to reject the person.

Unfortunately, sometimes there are situations in which someone wants you to see another person in a negative light so that you will pay more attention to them. Or sometimes people just take pleasure in putting other people down. Try to form your own opinions about people.

  1.     You are putting yourself at risk if you don’t.

It’s not helpful for you to reject people who you need to get your job done, enjoy your social life, or even your family life. At work this might lead you to being left out of potential opportunities for professional advancement.

If you find yourself struggling with knowing how and when to give people second chances, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our therapists at Symmetry Counseling. You can contact Symmetry today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors 


Whitbourne, S. (2016, January 30). Six reasons to give someone a second chance.

Symmetry Counseling Recent News Image 4
Recent Posts

When to Go to Couples Therapy? When You Notice These 3 Sign

Apr 30, 2024

Zoe Mittman, LSW If you’re asking the question “when to go to couples therapy”, you are in the right place. I am going to spend some time talking about 3 signs couples therapy may be a good fit for you.…

Read More

Healing the Heart – Tips for How to Get Over a Breakup

Apr 23, 2024

Breakups can be extremely difficult for both the heart and the mind. Grieving the loss of a relationship is taxing both mentally and emotionally. Whether you initiated the breakup or are the individual being broken up with, the pain and…

Read More

Surviving the Holidays: 5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Apr 16, 2024

Paula Gonzalez MA, LPC, ADHD-CCSP, CIMHP                                                                                         The Christmas holiday season can be filled with “tidings of comfort and joy!.” It can also be filled with lots of invitations to holiday parties that will have you “rockin’ around the Christmas tree…

Read More