How far will you go to help a friend? Are you so nice you get taken advantage of, or are you too needy/demanding/not nice enough? Do you offer assistance to make others rely on you or insure you get something in return, or is your help a means for them to grow/make their lives easier? Are you willing to ask when you need help or do you soldier on alone?
Everyone needs help at some point…whether you’re a mom who hopes your neighbor can watch the kids in a pinch or a single GU whose car is in the shop and needs a ride to get it.
I tend to prefer being the helper rather than the helpee. What is the time/effort spent helping someone worth…the satisfaction of being useful? Being taken to dinner? Tit for tat?
IMO, it’s best when you can exchange help: you find someone who needs something you really enjoy doing and aren’t only doing because you were asked, and he/she can do the same for you. But that kind of synergy can be hard to come by. And sometimes you don’t quite know what you’re getting into when you offer or agree to pitch in. Then do you back out or follow through?
I agreed to housesit a friend’s adorable and sweet not-yet-housetrained puppy. At the time, the puppy was going to be an indoor dog, so I wouldn’t have to walk him. However, he has chosen to be an outdoor dog. Who wants to go out at least 4 times a day, including 5:30am. I can’t just open my door to the outside…I have to take him down 5 flights of stairs (he’s too small to do them himself), or walk a fairly long distance to the elevator (hoping he doesn’t leak). He also whines when he hears me moving around, because he wants to play (and I can’t trust him to roam about and not chew on stuff while I work). Which makes it hard to concentrate.
I’m going to LA. My cousin offered to pick me up at the airport. But for her do to that, then take me to the hotel and return home is more miles and time than I think is fair. I don’t like to pick up people when they come here or get a ride (unless it’s 4am when there’s no traffic), so why should I have her schlep me around? Sure, I can take her to dinner/lunch in return, but is that enough reward for all of her time? We’d definitely have time to catch up, though.
Perhaps the solution is to help as much as you’d feel comfortable asking for. To know when you need it, and ask in a timely manner. And when you say you’ll to help, do what you agreed to do.
beth kery says
I had to come check you out. 🙂
Great post. I'm serious, too. Not just saying that. If everyone examined why they are doing things…to get kudos now…to get kudos later….because they feel guilty and feel like they need to tip the balance…because they have a genuine reserve built up and feel they can give in a period of time; and in turn, why do we feel compelled to give?
I think we all play with the scales, but the important thing is to consider. Like you did.