I will always help others when I can. I donate often; I give my time, money, or personal things when I see a need. Being kind is how I try to live my life.
The downside to being kind is that people will take advantage of your kindness.
I was almost convinced to give up 4 hours of my day to help a friend yesterday. My husband talked me out of it. I wasn’t looking at the big picture. Had I gone to “help” I would have been enabling and being taken advantage of.
So let me explain the situation.
A friend’s daughter called me very upset. My friend has terminal cancer. She hasn’t been doing well lately. With the corona virus and social distancing, I haven’t been able to see her in a month or so. It is difficult since I know time is limited.
When I got this phone call, I feared the worst. Her daughter began with. “There is some bad news…”
Well, the bad news was just that her mom was running low on some of her prescription medications. They wanted me to drive to pick them up, since my friend shouldn’t be driving in her weakened condition.
My immediate impulse was to say yes. They live an hour away from me. So I would be driving for an hour there, and an hour home. It was 5pm already when they called. Then, I would need to get the prescriptions and drop them off. Of course, more errands began piling on…a trip to another store for extras for Easter, a fast food drive thru request…you see how it snowballs.
So, I have been careful to observe isolation protocols. I have young kids, and I do not want to bring this virus into my home. I was less than thrilled when the trip went from drive-thru med pick up to extra stops.
My friend has 3 children and a boyfriend. Her boyfriend takes the youngest child to his mothers for care, and often stays there as well. He is rarely around, and doesn’t do much to help. She also has 2 adult daughters. Neither work, have drivers licenses, or do much to help out.
This is when my husband stepped in. He googled the distance from where they live to the pharmacy. The distance was under 1 mile. Less than 1 mile!! One of those adult children could walk there and back before I would even make it halfway there!
I quickly realized the real favor was more about the extras…the extra store stop as well as the fast food.
I started to get angry. My instinct was still to help. But I felt asking me to drive that distance and use that much time was ridiculous. I offered to pay for an uber ride.
I was told that the girls were not comfortable taking an uber. Neither of her adult daughters would walk (my kids have been walking several miles at a time since they were 3 yrs old).
I held my ground. Even when I was guilted with things like,”everyone says they are there for us but no one actually shows up.”
I explained that I felt it was unfair to ask me such a favor during this time of isolation. I explain my concern over unnecessary exposure for her, her kids, and myself.
I told her that her kids could walk the short distance. I was shrugged off. She hung up. And I, of course, felt bad. I still do or I wouldn’t be writing this. She texted to tell me her daughter drove (without a license) to run the errands.
Even though I still feel a bit badly about not helping, there was no need for me to do so. I was not wrong to say no. It was unfair for them to guilt me.
Being kind has the downside of being taken advantage of. Sad truth.