Sunday, October 10, 2010

today : I help people but get treated like crap

Even though I say it myself, I am a pretty altruistic person. Well, I try to be. But I always get it wrong. I always misjudge the line between helping others and feeling used and disrespected.

Let me give you an example. You give someone a lift to work or wherever each day. After a while you arrive at the specified time but have to wait around because they are tardy getting ready. This is okay but once in a while you want to be at work sharp on time for some reason and you start to resent the fact that, instead of being able to get there to do what you wanted first thing, you sit in the car wasting ten minutes.

Then, for some reason you are late in picking the person up. Now the tables are turned. They complain about you being late. It's messed up their schedule. So what do you do? My instinct is to tip them out of the car and let them walk. Maybe present them with a bill for all the petrol they drifted into not paying for. But that makes you as selfish and petty as them.

When I was younger I used to have a friend who would happily accept lifts all over the place, but would complain like a small child if he didn't like the music I was playing. One of those people who has a different 'cool' fashionable taste each week, so whatever you're playing is generally not what he wanted to hear. In hindsight I should have kicked him from the car when he complained, but didn't.

And even today. I did a favour for someone. It's not the first favour I've done them recently and I did it despite being quite ill. To be honest they'd got in a position where they needed help. But it wasn't just expected that I would do one favour, they had planned for me to give up my entire weekend to help them - thinking that rather than tell me this, they would get me at their house and then reveal the extent of their problems. But I was ill and they knew that. Having done exactly what I'd promised to help, turned around and came home.

An hour later I got a nasty text, everything I'd done already was wrong and useless and I was an unpleasant and selfish person.

What do you do? Carry on driving or throw them out and make them walk 20 miles?

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