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One of the Biggest Regrets You Will Ever Have

Be mindful of with whom you spend your time and what they really think of you.

Key points

  • It's impossible to live life without regrets. Trying to avoid regret may mean not taking enough chances.
  • However, one regret to avoid is wasting your time with people who really don't care about you or your success.
  • It can, in some cases, be difficult to detect such people. They may initially say and do the right things.
Source: Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels.
It's impossible to live life without regrets. Trying to avoid regret may mean not taking enough chances. But here's one regret that you should try to avoid as much as possible.
Source: Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels.

Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, here are some big ones to mention. It's all the hours, days, and, in some cases, years spent with the wrong people. These were people who deep down didn't really care about me or my success as a person and ended up draining the most precious, irreplaceable resource of them all: time.

For example, take someone whom we'll call Notwhat Heseemstobe. For a while, Notwhat seemed like a trusted friend and work partner, saying the right things and being available when work needed to get done. I spent quite a lot of time and effort building and maintaining that relationship.

But an early sign of trouble was a "we" bit of a problem. When describing work jointly accomplished by our team, Notwhat would often use the word "I" rather than "we." Whenever I'd point this out, he would quickly go "we, we," but the next time around he'd do it again.

Another early sign of trouble was that Notwhat would frequently talk negatively about others behind their backs. Yet, once he came face to face with those people, he'd act like buddies towards them. I naively thought that he wouldn't do same to me.

Others began telling me that Notwhat was pretty much doing the same things to me and others around me. Behind our backs, Notwhat would be critical of us while trying to tout his own contributions. This led to the steady deterioration of our relationship. Eventually, after things had really fallen apart, Notwhat finally revealed to me that all along one of his goals had been to prove to everyone else that he didn't need me and could succeed without me.

Yeah, such a goal doesn't exactly make for a good, long-lasting relationship. Imagine someone entering into a marriage with wedding vows that say, "To have and to hold, till I figure out how to show everyone that I don't need you." Or a football player running onto the field to play in the championship game repeatedly thinking, "I'm going to show everyone that I don't need teammates."

Source: Photo by Dinielle De Veyra from Pexels.
Someone can say the right things and look the part. But how much does that person really care about you and your well-being?
Source: Photo by Dinielle De Veyra from Pexels.

Naturally, had I fully realized Notwhat's hidden agenda much earlier, I would have said bye, bye that much sooner. Sinking so much time and effort into that relationship turned out to be like throwing perfectly good sushi into the trash. Sure, that relationship wasn't a complete waste of time. Sure, it did help me accomplish some things and taught me more about people and myself. But I did end up regretting the wasted time that could have been dedicated to other much more worthwhile pursuits.

The same can be said of some other relationships I've had, professional and personal. For example, there was a woman I dated back in school who would proudly tell me how much more knowledgeable she was than me, as if we were in some kind of competition. Or the person who was supposed to be a mentor but tried to take credit for my work. And guess what was the problem when I dated someone whom we'll call Really Intosomeoneelse.

In each case, the common theme was being with a person who really didn't want to be with me or deep down wasn't really interested in me doing well. Instead, each person simply wanted something from me at the time, whether it was professional opportunities, work getting done, temporary companionship, social connections, or something else I could offer. In each case, that person didn't really believe that my well-being and success would benefit him or her in any way.

It's nearly impossible to live life without regrets. Heck, I've had regrets throughout my life, frequently making wrong decisions. For example, I really regretted that third piece of cake that I ate the other day. But many of those regrettable decisions have taught me a lot and made me stronger. So, I did end up recovering from a number of those regrets.

However, it hasn't been so easy to recover the lost time from being in the wrong relationships for too long. There isn't a potion that you can take that will instantly give you back the days, weeks, or years that you may have lost with the wrong people.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try entering new relationships for fear of losing time. As long as the other person has good intentions and is genuinely trying to make the relationship with you work, unexpected magic could result. However, one thing's for sure. When dealing with someone who really doesn't care about you, it's almost a guarantee that you'll be wasting time.

Therefore, one of the best ways to avoid regret is to minimize how much time you spend with people whom you already know don't give a bleep about you. They may say the right things. They may be cool. They may be sexy. They may seem connected. They may even make you feel good. But in the end, they will be wasting your time. And that's one thing in life that no one can afford.

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