Do you know what I want you to do for me?
Wow, this used to be a question I loved hearing! Every time I was asked this I was on it! What? What can I do for you? Anything you need! Anything at all! Just the feeling of being needed was intoxicating. If I could do it, I did it without hesitation. If I couldn’t do it, I found someone that could. I was so incredibly helpful.
Then I met people that like to hand out assignments.
They look for people like the old me. The people pleasers. The needing to be needed ones. They hand out one assignment and then they hand out another and another and another, until one day you realize that you are exhausted and your entire To Do List is nothing, but what you can do for them.
I bought a carpet cleaner and one of my friends wanted to borrow it. I agreed to loan it to her and my husband and I delivered it to her house. The carpets in her home were stained beyond hope and she confessed not knowing how to operate the machine and then not being strong enough to use it properly.
“Do you know what I want you to do for me?”
My husband cleaned the carpets and I ran back and forth emptying and refilling the water tank for the cleaner. My friend invited other friends over and while we sweated away back in her bedroom cleaning the carpet, she laughed, mixed drinks and entertained our other friends in her living room. Every time I walked through the kitchen to refill the tank, my friends looked at me like I had lost my mind. It infuriated me.
This was someone that would call me almost everyday and everyday she had a new assignment for me. Finding something online, figuring out a computer problem, a recipe, directions, etc. It was always something. It was the first time in my life that I actually started keeping score. I had never done that before and I am ashamed that I allowed my friendship with someone, that was obviously toxic, go that far, but I did. I hated it too. It made me feel petty and small to keep score, but I just couldn’t stop doing it. I wanted her to even the playing field by giving something back!
One day I asked her the same question, “Do you know what I want you to do for me?” and her response wasn’t immediate. I didn’t expect it to be. I don’t know what I wanted to prove to myself, but what happened was the beginning of the end of my connection to her. I asked her to help me with a project that was important to me. She said she would be happy to help me, but could I come over and help her do something first. I agreed. We had a plan. I went over and helped her and when it was time to go to my house, she declined. She said she just didn’t feel like it. She was tired. Maybe next time.
I don’t know why I just didn’t do what I finally ended up doing, which was to just stop giving and giving, and giving. It ended our friendship. So I guess I really do know why I never stopped giving. I knew that my generosity was the only thing that kept her around. Once I stopped being the go-to person, she replaced me with someone else. I fell from grace with her.
It was a turning point for me.
It was an Aha! moment.
When had this happened to me?
When had I started inviting people into my life just so they could use me up?
When had I began letting it get to the point of resentment?
And when had my generous spirit, something I am happy to have within my heart, become so bitter from giving?
Since she and I have drifted apart I realized that I don’t miss those phone calls from her. I had started to dread them. I have watched her use up other people. I have listened as they cried about her lack of remorse and her selfishness. I know all about it. In fact, I know more people like this, than just her.
At that time in my life I was friendly with a lot of people that liked to ask me that question. Most of them were people that never had any intention of ever giving anything back. This wasn’t my first encounter with this kind of leach, but it was the first time it had enough of an impact on me to make me finally stand back and see what was happening. I didn’t like it and I knew this was not the way I wanted my friendships to progress. It took me years to finally do something for myself and stop the madness of giving just for the sake of being a friend.
They say in life that there are givers and there are takers and I think that’s bullshit. Oh, I know it’s true, but I also believe strongly that there are people in this world that are both and these are the people I seek out now. I do not need to be needed anymore. I finally realized that the person I want to do something for most in this world is myself and I can do that and still have the kinds of connections that bring me joy and happiness.
Giving is something I now do for myself.
That sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I have written posts about giving and what it means to me and it is very personal. To give brings me a lot of joy and happiness, so to have that toyed with and discarded like garbage by someone so unappreciative was a hurt that cut to my bones. I have learned to recognize this trait in folks now and I avoid them.
Here is one of the links to a post I have written about giving and what it means to me. I hope you’ll read it and share it. Consider it my gift to you, with love and with respect.
Do you know what I want you to do for me?
Actually, I have no idea what you want me to do for you, but if it’s something that I can do, I might consider it. If it’s not something I feel like I can do, or something I want to do, I am going to suggest you ask someone else. If all you ever want from me is what I can do for you and my friendship isn’t enough…then do you know what I want you to do for me?