Manners Matter

Has anyone noticed how a lot of people seem to offer their help to others with ulterior motives… Give with non-disclosed fine print? It can be anything… A slice of pizza, handful of M&Ms, assisting with a move for no charge, a couch to crash on, a job (non employer), etc. Accepting the offer somehow leads to first world slavery. You’re indebted to this person in their mind. Instead of politely asking you for a favor or food or whatever it may be, they’re directing you to accommodate their needs. God forbid you say “no”, because then clearly you are ungrateful. There ends up being conditions to the offer, which had they been up front about with you, you would have denied the offer in the first place. Please don’t take my overuse of the word “offer” as repetitive, it’s to emphasize that this help was not asked for to this person, and not applicable to Proverbs 22:7. This is a person who willingly reached out to lend a hand.

I had a guy friend for about eight years. I bought him clothes on a few occasions, paid for both of us at decent priced restaurants more times than I can count, almost every time we hung out (which was nearly everyday) I at least bought us both Wendy’s/McDonald’s/etc. That adds up, especially over 8 years. I also took him on a $1,500 vacation to Orlando.

After all of that, when I went to his house,
I still said “please” and “thank you” for a glass of water.
Because at the end of the day, he never held a gun to my head to get any thing. I didn’t stick around spending money frivolously for 8 years against my will. I was aware of the unevenness in the friendship. We weren’t dating or involved in any way – we just had some good laughs together and I couldn’t motivate myself in starting over with a new friend.

However, after maxing out all of my credit cards, ruining my credit, and emptying my bank account for the friendship only to have him bail once money was low…
I, of course, did learn a lesson from it.

I have a very simple standard for myself and others around me- Don’t GIVE what you can’t afford to NOT have returned, and don’t TAKE what you can’t afford to give back.
“Afford” is not intended in only a financial sense.
It’s also emotional, physical, convenience, etc.

Don’t give someone the illusion that an offer is out of the kindness of your heart and then create a “payment plan” after the fact. Being grateful is important, but their gratitude should not be expected to be shown outside of their capabilities and comfort. Be up front if you’re expecting something in return and what that something is.  So many issues can be avoided with clear and honest communication.

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