A long time ago, I was asked to do something that I didn’t want to do, I didn’t need to do and that I knew was an incredibly bad idea. I guess I can say that there have been lots of times that people have asked me to do stuff I didn’t want to do, maybe every day, as of late…
But I’m talking about back in the day, when nobody knew or cared who I was or what I did outside of my small circle of close friends. No daily people asking for handouts or help with their businesses. No endless stack of emails to the tune of I now have over 3,000 unread email messages and over 1,000 unread Facebook messages. I’m talking about when we used to keep it TIGHT and only interact with each other and everything everyone said was the truth as far as they saw it and everything we said to each other was important. Everything Counted…..
So I was asked to do this thing, and it was of critical importance to someone I care(d) about a lot. It was of ZERO importance to me other than wanting to support them. I suppose you could say that the only import was that it was going to be ME potentially making a sacrifice for the well-being of this close, close friend.
To make matters worse, others within the circle agreed that I should make this sacrifice. It was almost crazy. I couldn’t really believe it. It’s one of the very few times that I’ve ever questioned my own grasp on reality……
The fact that people that I loved and trusted were falling on the opposite side of the fence from where I was didn’t compute to me at the time. How could they see this situation so differently when I knew DAMNED WELL that I was right? At the same time, I trusted *their* judgement, and it was a really tough decision for me to make. As a matter of fact, I never made the decision, and thank GOD it never became necessary for me to make it. I was 60% on my side and 40% on their side, which means I was liable to do anything. Sickeningly, to me, I sometimes wish the hammer would have dropped so I could actually KNOW what I would have done in that situation, at that time, being who I was right then…..
Moving forward in life, I noticed a trend where the same beloved friend of mine used people over and over to escape responsibility. The first bunch of times, I was like “so what?”, because they were nobodies. They were NPCs (Non-Player Characters), they weren’t inside the circle, so it didn’t matter to me AT. ALL. that they were being used. Eventually, as I grew more distant from my friend and saw this behavior continue, I realized that no one was exempt… no one……
Hindsight allowed me to understand that as close friends as we were at my decision-time back in the day, my friend was perfectly willing to sacrifice me (or convince me to sacrifice myself) in the name of self-preservation. Even logically knowing and understanding this, COMPLETELY… as I think back to the situation, armed with my future-knowledge, I remain steadfastly certain that I’m still 60/40 as far as whether I would have made the sacrifice for my using friend.
The reason I bring this up is that when you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s easy for your personal judgement to become clouded, or even if it’s perfectly clear, because of who this person is to you and for you, you’re willing to make sacrifices which don’t make any logical sense to you.
Even if you’re not initially willing to make those sacrifices, people that you trust might line up on the other side, opposed to your reasoning, and make things seem like YOU’RE THE ONE that has a problem. You’re the one that’s not seeing things clearly. You’re the one that’s not ’bout-it bout-it’ in this relationship.
Well… Sometimes, It’s Not YOU!… Sometimes, people that you care about really DO attempt to take advantage of you, and that’s when you need to assess the situation, decide what’s best for YOU, and then hold the line. I can’t judge, and I’m not interested in judging. I wasn’t forced to make the decision, but with a 40% probability, I doubt I would have held the line.
I knew I could carry the weight better than my friend could have. However, and this is the most important part… It wasn’t *MY* weight to carry.
People will dig holes for themselves and then reach up to you to pull them out of that hole. In the meantime, they don’t really care whether you get stuck in that same hole for helping them out. As long as they move forward, thrive and survive, that’s all that matters to them. If you feel like that’s what’s going on in your relationship, it’s in your best interest to figure out how much of a loss you’re willing to take and speak your piece when the time comes.
Most of the time, in situations like this, the leverage is the relationship. “If you don’t do this for me, you’re not a real friend/bf/gf/fiancee/husband/wife/whatever”. In fact, the opposite is true. If they were really YOUR friend and really cared about YOU… They wouldn’t have asked you to consider taking a loss for a situation that THEY got themselves into in the first place.