I recently posted this to Facebook, dressed up as a quote:
"Be careful. If I'm putting a huge amount of energy into you it might just be because I am trying to determine if you are beyond redemption"
I've come to realise that this is my approach to many people and things. Life is so much simpler when I can afford to give up on some things and some people.
But I owe it to those things and people (and to myself) to examine every possible option. In a very practical sense this becomes how I manage a group of, say, 63 students.
In a 12 week course from weeks 1 to 9 I am slavishly dedicated to working with students. I beg them to come and see me for one on one sessions and I deeply engage with their research ideas. Unfortunately for the student who come to me in week 10 (having done nothing at all) I am far less willing to be involved. I'm not as harsh as some lecturers wish they could be when they muse about a snappy comment the night before the exam - "the best reading you can do right now is the Bible".
But with students and in life there is a time for me to cut my losses. After an intense period of trying to make it work, I feel confident that I can drop certain things like a hot potato.
So if I look like I have lost interest in you I can assure you that it wasn't a snap judgement. If you reexamine the period before I went missing, you might work out what I was trying to do.
In the past that has left certain people feeling as though I am just a complete asshole, and from their perspective they are probably right.
And then that feeds my other perspective on life:
"You can't have everybody love you, so in this world you have to choose. I've found it important to have good people saying good things about me and to have bad people saying bad things about me".