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I’m really good at cutting people off. And no, I’m not bragging. As a child, my father would often commend me for not allowing myself to be pushed around or taken advantage of on the playground. If the other girls weren’t playing fair, I’d calmly subtract myself from the equation and play by myself. It was really that simple. This lack of tolerance for funny-style behavior and shade followed me through elementary school, high school and college. But once I entered into adulthood, I noticed that my tolerance for people and their crap diminished even more. Whenever a person showed the slightest sign of questionable behavior, I’d have them X’d out of my life faster than they could even ask “why?”  Though I believe that this approach spared me from being burned by a lot of insincere people, as an adult, I realized that this attitude could also cause me to miss out on really great friendships with amazing people.

As I continue to acquire experience in this game called life, I realize that as humans, we are all flawed in some way— especially when it comes to our interactions and relationships with others. Everything isn’t black or white, not everything is what it appears and not every offense is done with malicious intent. But with my awesome (insert sarcasm here) track record of cutting people off at the slightest sign of trouble, I realized that I was never even allowing myself to truly get to know people for who they are (flaws and all). When I felt slighted in any way, I wouldn’t even inform the person that they had somehow offended me. I wouldn’t inform them that they were being cut out of my life. I’d simply put up my invisible wall and take advantage of my cell phone’s ignore button.

It eventually hit me how immature and detrimental this pattern of behavior is, and as my wonderful editor Victoria put it, “Folks are human and if you don’t let them know how they’re hurting you, they can’t do better.” Thankfully, I was blessed with an amazing friend who was willing to teach me this lesson. She and I met in graduate school and from our first conversation, we immediately clicked. In no time, we formed one of those rare sisterly bonds that most of us are only privileged enough to encounter a few times in our lives. Somewhere around graduation, we had a petty misunderstanding over cultural differences. Almost instantly, the strong-willed little girl who was determined not to let anyone get over on her at the playground reappeared. I was DONE! I made up my mind that she was cut off and even went as far as to delete her number out of my cell phone soon after the episode. “I don’t need those kinds of problems. I was born alone and I’m gonna die alone,” I said to myself, quoting one of my most overused lines from high school, typically used when it was time to cut someone off. But then, once the initial anger wore off, I was left missing my friend. I eventually swallowed my pride and extended an olive branch. “I’m sorry,” I told her. And for a moment, I wondered if she’d be as unforgiving as I had been to so many people in the past. To my surprise, she responded with this: “It’s cool Jazzy, sisters fight all of the time.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day about communication and even forgiveness. In the words of Bob Marley, “Truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

Are you a person who cuts people out of your life frequently over every little thing? When do you need to do it and when are you overreacting?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.

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