The Burning of Bridges


My dad had a philosophy when it came to leaving jobs - never burn your bridges; you never know when you may have to go crawling back one day. And when it comes to my jobs, I have done exactly that. Or rather haven’t done that, whichever seems proper. I never left in a huff and always kept a door open in case I wanted to return and in a few cases I did go back and work for several more years.


The same should go in the pursuit of your dream, especially if it is one in the arts. We network and mingle, hoping that we’ll gain support or a point the right direction. To burn a bridge here may mean long hours down bumpy roads that take you several years longer to reach your destination. And for what? A few moments of temper tantrum silliness that may have felt good at the moment, but which you could regret later one day. It’s not worth it.


Now, I’m not saying I never burn a bridge, because I have and probably will again. However, they have not been the bridges that I may one day need to cross in order to reach a goal. If I burn a bridge it usually has to do with friendships that I am over. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t do this lightly. I actually value friendships and have been on the outside enough to know what it feels like to be the odd person. So I tend to give people I normally would not associate with the benefit of the doubt and try to make things work. After all, you can’t have too many friends, right?


Well, actually, you can, but that’s another post for another day. Suffice it to say you cannot have an abundant of intimate friends, because there simply isn’t enough time. I have several friends and then a tight few who mean the world to us who are around all the time. My parents had these types of friends as I grew up, those who, when I think back on my years as an adolescent, were always around. Pauline and Sam. Mr. & Mrs. T. Shirley and Fred. Betty Jo and Jim. They knew my screw ups before my spanking had subsided. The girls and I have a few like that as well.


However, there are others who have crossed our paths that have come in, stirred the nest a little, and have left in a blaze of what they thought was necessary fanfare. I figured since the blaze was already burning, I’d fan the flames a bit and allow it to take out the bridge they were standing on. I don’t need the theatrics in my life, taking the harmony that I have fought so hard to bring to our home. My philosophy is, there’s the door, don’t let it hit your ass on the way out. Or let it, I don’t care.


If someone feels the need to make a dramatic exit on the way out of a relationship or friendship, don’t be surprised that the road back has been destroyed. I’ve seen it with relationships that have ended. One person feels the need to create a social network of pity around them and doesn’t realize that with every post they make the flames are getting hotter on the bridge they are ignoring. Then when they come back and expect civility, they are surprised that it doesn’t exist. They destroyed the means to travel back and forth, yet now that their tantrum is over, they expect you to help them rebuild it.


I’m not an engineer. I’m a writer. Once one story is finished, I am moving on to the next. Once you’ve burned that bridge, it’s forever destroyed in my book. Harsh? Perhaps, but I choose to move on to more stable and uplifting relationships and not deal with the bipolar moments of individuals who feel they have justification on their side for being an ass. I choose to surround myself with positive individuals and not whiners who would rather wallow in misery because life is unfair. Forgiveness can be had and solutions found - up to a point. Once that point is passed, then I find it is better to just walk away.


Be careful. Think before you act and speak, because once you burn a bridge of any kind - relationship or business - you will find it hard to walk across the chasm on ash. It is always better to walk quietly away than to stampede off into the distance.


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