AUDIO BLOG VERSION: (Transcript below for those who prefer to read).
I am one of those people who others seem to flock to when things aren’t going right in their lives or world. Perhaps, it’s the compassion and empathy that I show them and maybe, I’ve come to lead them to believe that I’m going to be there for them when they are in trouble, pain, hurt, sorrow or even financial issues (where I can) but, those very same people are nowhere to be found when their lives are doing ok. In other words, I don’t hear from them or see them unless they need something from me and forget the good news times or the good times. I’m never invited to those for some odd reason. Let it be known that our own adult children are not exceptions to this rule for us either. They’ll do the same things if we let them.
Have you noticed that about yourself as well or, are you always party to events and other people’s lives both the good and the bad?
It wasn’t exactly clear to me why people would move Heaven and Hell to seek me out when they had issues but, what is astonishingly 20/20 is that they most certainly don’t seem to know my name or telephone number nor, my Facebook account when things are going swimmingly for them or, they are having fun. Is it me that is being used and abused or is it others? By that, I am meaning, “The Good Time Charlies” who people have around them for differing reasons as needed.
I’ve endured a lot of issues within my life as well as a lot of losses. I’m sure that there are many people who can also attest to having experienced that type of scenario as well. I’ve hated to see others in pain, hurt, sorrow, grief or fear. It’s all too clear to me what that feels like and therefore, I want to alleviate that for someone else as much as is humanly possible. In other words, I am there for them. As my late brother, Ray used to say, “In for a penny, in for a pound” and, he lived his life in the same fashion.
There’s a problem with this type of thinking and being though. Other people use, abuse and toss you away once done with you like a disposable empty medicine bottle. They never think of having you around when they are doing well. You’re actually, the last person that they will think of inviting, calling, visiting or sharing good news with. Why that is, I can say that I’ve developed some hypotheses on the subject.
People tend to categorize other people into groups, according to their own, personal needs. There are as many different sub-groups as there are stars in the sky but, let’s attempt a few of the main groups.
- The Mommy/Daddy Circuit: These are the people like me and perhaps you, who they know will swoop in to mop up their tears, their heart breaks, give them empathy, sympathy, wipe away tears and give good advice. We are the “Work Horses” who will be there for them the moment that they shed a tear or express a need. As a matter of fact, I’ve had a couple of those people outwardly express the fact that they “know how to work me…just cry”. What a slap in the face that one was and I wondered how many others were thinking the same thing but, either realized it on a subconscious level or weren’t that stupid to have said it outright.
- Fun City Friends: FCF’s are the people who get called when that person wants to go shopping, for dinner, to a movie, on a trip, party and everything else in between. They are never the ones that these people will go to when they have a problem but, they will reap all of the rewards of FUN things and even there, they will likely get divided up consciously or sub-consciously into segments ie: Shoppers, Dinner-Goers, Movie Pals, Party Buds and again, the list is endless. In other words, there are not many who will be good enough for all of the situations that one can come up with.
- The Listeners: These are the buds or acquaintances who will LISTEN. They will never attempt to offer up any sort of advice, opinion nor do anything for that person. Part of that is because they truly don’t care. They will throw in a few “uh-huh’s” as they re-organize their knife and spoon drawers or do their grocery shopping but, in all reality, that all that is wanted. These will never be people who will be party to helping during the down times but, they will also not be a part of the good times either. They are simply “ears” on which to dump woes and well…vent. At this point, that’s all that is wanted or needed otherwise, they’d seek out either of the first two groups. Believe it or not, these people have purposes in other’s lives and they know it.
- I Don’t Give A Flying Leapers: Talk about chasing? This group can get talked badly about by others but, they’re also the ones that everyone will chase. They’ve done nothing for that person. They not at all interested or seemingly interested in going out somewhere and, they certainly won’t offer up so much as a fingernail yet, they will be chased and sought after. Ironic, isn’t it? These are the people that a lot of people will run after. The why’s behind it, I’m not sure of except that they are the “elusive ones”.
- Situationals: It’s likely that we’ve all had these types of people in our lives. They’re the ones who will be around for a reason. They may be the mothers or fathers on the PTA committees who will be your best buds as long as you are all working towards something or a goal. They’re the parents you’ll meet every day in the school yards and be your best friend if you’re walking your kids back and forth every day. Or, they could be a co-worker who will keep in contact with you and share every detail of their lives as long as you both work together but, get outside of that commonality or common ground situation and there’s NO commonality whatsoever. There’s a plethora of situations in which you and I and many others will find friends but, the moment that common ground is gone, so are these friendships. The only things that these people will do for you will be when there’s something related to the situation. Other than that, forget about it. You’re not going to see or hear from them and they won’t lift a baby pinky to help you outside of those situations unless, they know that they need something for themselves. It’s like banking Brownie Points.
There are also several other sub-groups like “The Lifers” who are there as long as there’s something beneficial to get out of the friendship with you in some way and they will be around throughout your lifetime but, don’t expect them to interact with you until or unless there’s a reason. “Seasonals” are generally there for a purpose and a period of time before they will disappear out of your life. They are the temporaries whom you may enjoy the company of while part of your day-to-day life but, once that season is up and they’ve found others or other situations or they’ve moved, they will be gone and there’s no going back. Often they’ve been there through the good and the bad times with you, shared the news, helped you, you’ve had fun with them but sadly, they are short-lived and you may find yourself aching for more of them but, they rarely, if ever, come back into your life.
Those are a taste of the most popular or frequent types of friends in our lives. The question still remains though as to why they will choose you as a doormat or helper but, not share the good times in their lives with you. Those are the most troublesome of them all.
What can we do about them?
- Get a life of your own and be busy. When people think that your life revolves around you and their problems with them figuring that you’ll be ready when they call or come calling and need you, you’re inviting them to use you. Let them know that you’ve got a life beyond their needs and problems. Don’t be so willing to be there for them. It’s not cruel or mean, it’s how others treat you too, right?
- We will all have lessons to learn in Life. If you’re constantly taking away people’s pain, sorrows, grief and doing their jobs for them, you’re also removing a potential growth situation. Don’t do it. Let most things be THEIR issues and allow them to learn from them. People grow stronger as a result of their trials and tribulations.
- “Do unto others as they do unto you”. Yes, I know, that’s not exactly the direct quote from the original source, The Bible but, it’s truer with people like this than doing unto them as you would have them do unto you. The plain and simple truth is, most people could care less or little what you are going through so, don’t expect them to do for you what you’d do for them. It’s rarely reciprocated in the same way or to the same level.
- If they’re not sharing the good times as well and you’re not getting invitations out with them the way others would, there’s a pretty good indication to you that you’re nothing to them except a problem solver, work horse and nothing more. Isn’t it about time to stop catering to their every whim? After all, they don’t seem to care about you. They’re really caring about themselves and their own issues. Do you really need to be there for them during the “no-so-good times” only?
- Giving to others all of the time is a recipe for you not getting your own things done or for avoiding having to take care of your own issues or needs. Ask yourself what you may be avoiding doing within your own life or yourself in order to spend this much time that others don’t spend with you or on you and your problems. Are you avoiding facing up to your own challenges for some reason? Figure that out first. It may answer why you’re permitting these people from taking up your time, energy and care while they don’t give back in return.
- You may feel that by doing for these people, you’re being liked more. That’s usually not the case especially, when it’s considered “old hat” and you’re doing it all of the time for the same people, over and over again or perhaps, you’re doing it for everyone. Takers seem to like what you’re doing for them, not you. The moment that their problems are solved, you’re back at the bottom of their list until the next crisis crops up. The rest of the time, they’re out with others, having fun and you’re not even on their radar on the attention scale. They’re having fun and therefore, the people that they are with at this point are the ones that they are thinking about. It’s more likely that you won’t be thought about unless they need something. You’ll be remembered then but, you won’t know about the good things that have happened more than half of the time or better. Simply stop doing for them. Let them figure out that you have a life as well.
- If you’re leaving text messages, private messages, making calls and these people aren’t responding or telling you that they’re “busy” or “forgot” to get back to you, even if you’re attempting to get in touch to see how they made out with something, they have come to think of you as a pain in the rear once things are over and going well. That “I’ve been busy” or “I forgot” is key to be translated into “oh, everything is ok” or, “I’ve found someone else to do for me right now so, I couldn’t be bothered with you.” What are we not getting about that message? Does it take a sledge hammer over our hard heads to get the concept? It’s translation says it all. They don’t need or want you or they’d be calling you or messaging, texting or coming to your door. Don’t chase them. You don’t need to. No news is good news and they’re telling you that much.
- When you’ve listened, helped, searched for answers, given them your opinion or advice and spent your energy, time, thought and everything else you’ve got to give but, are not receiving more than an “awwww…I’m sorry that you’re going through this but, I have to go….” type answer from them, you’re getting told that your attempts are all about them. Reciprocal empathy, sympathy, energy and otherwise will not be returned to you by them. Why be there to that level or that depth for them? Quit it! Or, as my dad used to say, “knock it off!”
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The older generations have heard this saying many times and hopefully, the younger ones of society have heard it as well. We now have answering machines, voicemail and other forms of technology which allow us to know who is trying to get in touch with us and oftentimes, why. If you’re finding yourself as part of the “used” by many people or most, it’s high time to use these features well. Learn how to use them fully and correctly. Even if you leave them on and don’t answer these types of people who will use and abuse your generosity and caring, it’s ok. Really, it is. Trust me that they will find others who will look after them and their needs. It’s alright not to pick up the phone or your text or private messages or even emails right away. Give it some time. This is especially true if you know that the person only calls you in times of need and troubles. Let them figure it out for themselves. 90% or the time or better, they will figure it out on their own or through others.
- Practise the following phrases until they’re second nature.
“Awwww….it’s too bad that you’re going through this,” then don’t offer up any further advice or opinions or knowledge.
“I’m on my way out right now but, maybe we can connect sometime soon,” and let them go.
“Hmmmm….I wish that I could help but, I can’t help this time. What about (so-and-so)? I’m sure that if they have the time to go to see a movie with you (or shopping or dinner or coffee or whatever), they will have time to spare and help you with this. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll get it taken care of,” then again, let them go. You’re giving them a double (but nicely put message) that you’re aware of their actions with others and if these people have had the time to go out and party or shop or play golf with them, they’ve also got to put aside the time to help you as well. I’m reaping no benefits but, I’m doing all of the work here.”
At worst, these types of people will come to realize that you’re not going to take over their problems anymore. If they walk away from you altogether, then you know that the only thing that they were in a friendship with you for was what you could do for them and nothing else.
If on the other hand, they are still around and really want you as part of their lives, they’ll also invite you out to other things, call you when they’re not having problems or joke around with you. Whatever you do though, do NOT fall for the old, “I’m in such trouble….I need help and you’re the only one that I can go to,” style line. That’s a classic violin type statement, meant to pull on your heart strings again, hooking you back into doing their work for them. Don’t fall for it. Once is a mistake. Twice or dozens of times and you’re the fool who is allowing others to abuse and use you without a return.
From my little corner of life, it takes all kinds in this world to make it a world. Being party to someone who is using you only for help, is one kind. Why waste your life on those types of people? Stand up for yourself and stop this pattern in its tracks now or you’ll forever be the puppet with them as the puppeteers.
On that note,
Be well, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening.