Learning to Forgive

Valerie - Merrill, Wisconsin
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Trust is an entity that should be given only to those who have proven that they are there for you. Family will be there for you until death. But then there are friends. Should all friends be trusted?

About a year ago, a friend of mine destroyed my trust for him so wholly that I thought I couldn’t trust him ever again. He fiddled with my feelings and our friendship, but worst of all my ability to trust was damaged beyond repair.

We were friends only when it was the season to be. When we were in swimming, he asked for advice on girls; we would laugh and have fun, reminiscing the good old days, but that was the only time we corresponded. We never talked at school, and God forbid I acknowledge him anywhere else. I did not like this ordeal, and I had confronted him about it. Though I saw no immediate response afterward, I truly believed that he would realize that I could be his friend. But eventually, I gave up; I wouldn’t waste my time on someone who wouldn’t give me the time of day.

When both of us had exchange students from Germany, I didn’t care to converse with him. But when he asked if my partner and me would care to hang out with him and his, I accepted. I was surprised that we had so much fun together going bowling or out to eat or just hanging out. I asked him why he suddenly decided that I was good enough to hang out with. He said that we were old buddies spending time together. I didn’t believe it.

By the end of the Germans’ stay, he and I were much closer than we had previously been. Maybe he really did want a friendship with me. But the day after the Germans left, he wouldn’t speak to me. I found out that he had a crush on my exchange student, and that was why he hung out with me. I told myself that I wouldn’t ever trust him again. How could I, when he took advantage of me so easily?

I felt cheated. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to keep as a friend. It was as if years of lies covered the floor of our almost-friendship. Many times I was there for him when he needed me, but when I needed help, he was nowhere to be found. I thought to myself, what’s wrong with me? Am I that repulsive and uncool to be around? Then there was the question I didn’t want to ask myself, why did I keep running back to him?

Trusting in others had always been second nature to me. I had never had an experience like this before, and it took me a long time to come to the decision to forgive and trust again. All people deserve the chance to earn back trust. I realize that putting trust in a person is giving them your heart, and trusting that they don’t break it. When I was young, after someone would break a truce or tell a lie, I would shrug my shoulders and said, no big deal, life goes on. And that’s exactly what happens, life goes on.