Are you generous or spineless?

The likelihood of us becoming close friends is inversely related to your propensity to hassle me. Words generally used to describe me are “smart,” “sarcastic” and just plain ol’ “awesome.”

Over the years, I’ve managed to escape labels such as “generous” or “giving.” Why? I don’t want to be hassled. You need a favor? Leave me alone. Figure out how to do it yourself.
I have little patience for those who don’t grasp the concept of self sufficiency.
However, I don’t see myself as selfish. Before I help someone, I usually ask myself three questions:

1. How burdensome is the task they’re asking of me?
2. Can they do it themselves with relative ease?
3. If I asked the same of them, would they be able and willing to help me?

Right now, you’re probably thinking that I am pretty selfish.

Allow me to explain.

Just because I’m unwilling to sacrifice my time, money and energy for an individual who resembles the likes of an inconsiderate freeloader more than a disadvantaged victim, doesn’t mean I’m selfish. And you know what? If you share the same opinion (albeit biased), you’re not selfish either.

Many people confuse spinelessness with generosity. They know they don’t want to help anybody. If they weren’t afraid of what others would think of them, their responses to common requests would go something like this:

(Transportation Request)
Question: Can you drop me off at the airport? My flight leaves at 6:00 in the morning.
Answer: No.
Question: Why not?
Answer: Because I don’t feel like it. You know I don’t wake up until 8:15. Take a cab.

(Moving Request)
Question: Could you help me move on Saturday?
Answer: No.
Question: Why not?
Answer: I don’t know you like that. I ain’t heard from you in weeks. You’ve been ducking and dodging me since I loaned you $50. Um, since you brought it up, where’s my money?

(Money Request)
Question: Can I borrow $350 to pay my light bill?
Answer: No.
Question: Why not?
Answer: You already owe me $50. If I had it to loan, I’d give it to you. Actually, I could give it to you, but I won’t. Maybe if you sell that big screen you just bought, you’ll have the money to pay a taxi and the movers and your light bill.

You have to shut down people who always need something. Unlike genuine charitable giving, enabling deadbeats only make you feel like a pushover. Not only are they time sucks and financial drains, they rob you of the opportunity to relish in your charitableness.
Before you agree to lend your services, ask yourself – Am I doing this because I’m generous, or is my lack of a spine clouding my judgment?

How do you decide who’s deserving of your sacrifice?

Last 5 posts by Shawanda Greene

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