The person asked me to take a look at something they were thinking about and to give an opinion. I told them it was possible, and gave them thoughts towards how they could proceed. The person looked back with apprehension, they didn’t realize that their idea would take so much. They then asked if I would be willing to do it for them since I knew how. I told them that I would not. I’ll help point them to resources or those that can help them figure that out, but I’m not taken any ownership of them meeting the reconciliation of that issue. Their next opinion exposed the truth. They said that they were really expecting me to do this for them.
Its been very hard to talk to that person since. Instead of our friendship encouraging them towards their goals, they would rather have a servant. And unfortunately, I’m hearing this more and more, while also recognizing similar behaviors within myself.
I’ll start with myself (the section of the Bible in Matthew 7:1-4 fits well here). There are many tasks that I really don’t wish to do myself and wish that others would do the work for me. That my vision and energy for thinking about it gives it more prominence than the work that has to go into the product. I’ve wronged several people by thinking and acting like this, and its been really hard to take a look at every request that I make and be honest if whether I really want help or someone to serve my needs.
It is offensive though. Man, it really strains both sides of the relationship when the perspective of friendship is taken for granted like that. And we really don’t have to look that far towards seeing the implications here. Relationships get broken and projects don’t get completed.
It is a humbling thing for a project not to be completed because I placed more faith in someone serving me than I did in me actually putting in the work.
When my friend and I talked about Boundaries this past weekend, this was one of my reflections. And also, one of the areas of change that I decided to take a stand on. There are those around me whose ends (not aims) are for them to use my skills for their betterment. Regardless of the compensation, I end up feeling and looking used and abused. It is no good to continue down that path. And yet I also understand where some people can’t communicate well what it is that they are looking to accomplish, and they are not just looking for the “end” to happen, but also someone to clearly state the means.
That I am learning this, even in this moment that I am writing this piece, speaks to what we all work through and grow towards. I don’t like being anyone’s servant, but I’ve got no problem walking beside someone to encourage and assist (rightly) towards their goals. Walking forward, that’s something that I’m going to make a definitive point towards taking a better and clearer stand on.