18 04 2010

This is an old post I wrote forever ago on a different blog, but it still rings true and I’m definitely feeling it right now:

The best friendships and relationships I have are, of course, based upon trust and love and loyalty, but one of the most important qualities these relationships possesses is one that I rarely hear about – that of giving someone the benefit of the doubt. What does this mean? According to one person, it is “to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either.”

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt can be difficult to do – mostly because we have all been hurt enough to remember a time when we had given someone the benefit of the doubt only to be let down – but we must fight the urge to think the worst because there’s something more important on the line. If we don’t give loved ones the benefit of the doubt, we may find our relationships cannot be as strong because of a lack of good will.

I never gave much thought to this quality until someone asked me about the last time I spoke to one of my best girlfriends. Sadly, I couldn’t remember right off the top of my head – it had maybe been a week. Then this person asked if everything was okay with us and I confidently responded ‘yes, of course’. At that moment, I became conscious of the fact that I will always give my girlfriends the benefit of the doubt. There was a time when I spoke to my best girlfriends every single day, but we are all so busy nowadays that we no longer have that luxury. Sometimes they don’t call me back or they don’t call at all. Sometimes they cancel. Sometimes life happens. I know in my heart that it is not because they don’t love me or want to spend time with me – it’s because they have lives, too. They are doing their best to be good friends, daughters, girlfriends, wives, and sisters – as most people do – and to think the worst of their intentions would be doing a great disservice to our friendship.

Applying the benefit of the doubt will do wonders for your life and friendships. Not only will you begin to think the best of the people you love, but you will no longer think the worst of yourself. In the end, not giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not an issue you have with someone else, it is an issue you have with yourself.

We have to work hard for our relationships, especially in an age where friendships seem to be transient and distant because of day-to-day life and the internet. We have to be proactive. And most of all, we have to take responsibility for our halves of the whole of our friendships. Ask questions, make time, and give the benefit of the doubt – if they’re really your friends, they’ll do the same.




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