Is Giving Someone A Second Chance Smart? How To Determine If It's Worth It

Deciding whether someone deserves a second chance is a tricky, often stressful choice. Let's say your former partner said or did something that hurt your feelings, you both argued, they stormed off, and you swore never to see their face again. But then they return after some time, apologizing profusely and begging you for another chance. Or, maybe it wasn't a significant other but a friend or family member. What should you do? We hope this answer doesn't stress you out, but we have to be honest — whether or not to give someone a second chance is too complicated to provide you with only a yes or no answer since every scenario is different. 

For some individuals, it's easier to give second chances without holding a grudge. For instance, TikTok user @justkendranicole posted a video explaining how providing second chances to apologetic people can help you and others feel better in our unforgiving world. But she doesn't mean to provide just anyone another chance. Therefore, giving that second chance depends on your unique situation, perspective, and boundaries.

Think about your situation

The forgiving and forgetting approach is toxic for handling conflict, as making yourself forget the issue will only bottle up anger. However, after talking out a situation, some people will want to give it another shot — second-chance romances are set to rise. Meanwhile, some believe providing someone another chance is not usually a good idea. "I find the idea isn't rooted in well-adjusted behavior and awareness; rather, it's rooted in fear and nostalgia," Kari Tumminia, an international dating and relationship coach, told Bustle. Ultimately, you must ask yourself if they deserve it.

If a former romantic partner, friend, relative, or roommate abused you, never give them another chance; we'll never condone abuse, no matter how many times someone apologizes. Some issues are a bit more divisive, though, such as cheating. While some don't recommend giving a cheater a second chance, others are happy to give a genuinely sorry, changed person another opportunity; just think of Ted and Alexis from "Schitt's Creek" or Teddy and Spencer from "Good Luck Charlie." Since people have varying views on that topic, it's best to do what you're comfortable with. 

However, in some other situations, giving someone another shot is reasonable. For example, if a good friend said something rude once or someone forgot to respond to your message on a dating app and feels sorry, you'll likely regret not giving them another chance.

Second chances versus forgiveness

Do you believe that someone who wronged you is genuinely remorseful but know that you still don't want them back in your life? Or do you think they aren't genuinely sorry, and the situation keeps you up at night and ruins your mood? In many scenarios, only forgiving them is the best solution. While giving someone another chance usually entails letting them back into your life by re-entering a relationship or friendship with them, forgiveness means that you're ready to let the grudge go but may never see them or let them back in your life.

If someone hurt you, and you know that you'll never give them another chance but don't want to carry around the hurt regarding the situation — and maybe don't want them to either — forgiving them can help you move forward. "There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed... [Forgiveness] is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not," Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hosptial, told Johns Hopkins Medicine. Thus, sometimes giving someone a second chance is a good choice, and other times, it isn't worth it, but when a second chance isn't on the table, don't rule out forgiveness.