“If you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”
– Audrey Hepburn
When does helping stop being helpful?
Here we have Kiki and Chris (the names have been changed to protect the innocent, also alliteration is a thing). Two people, same problem, albeit with their own little twists.
Kiki needs help with almost everything. It’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t even go fetch her own coffee.
I didn’t notice this at first but by the third time I saw what was going on.
Whenever she’d have to do something that was even remotely uncomfortable she’d lean back in her chair, tilt her head, get a bothered expression and say something like: “Could you be a darling and…?”
She’d had problems with her lower back a while ago, so naturally people wanted to help her. Probably thinking that she still felt it from time to time.
However, what had actually happened was that Kiki gotten a little too comfortable with being taken care of.
The next time she asked I simply smiled and told her that we were was in the middle of something and that she could do it herself.
At first she was a little surprised but let out a sigh and got up.
Now, it took a while before others noticed that they could do the same but little by little she’s becoming self-reliant again.
Chris on the other hand gets help all the time, whether he wants it or not.
All of his colleagues are women and even though he’s in his early 20’s and fully capable he’s being babied.
Instead of instructing him how to do things properly when he gets them wrong they simply step in and “Here, let me do that for you, honey” him.
Hell, even started doing it. I think it’s because he has a babyface that screams “Plz, halp!”.
Now, the quick and easy solution would’ve been to simply tell the women that he’s a capable young man and that they should stop treating him as a child.
But I noticed another problem, Chris wasn’t being clear about how he wanted to be treated.
Instead of saying “I want to be able to do this myself”, he’d just say “Thank you” or “Oh, you don’t have to.”
He was hoping that they’d get the drift or that he’d pick up what they were doing differently simply by observing them. I’d seen that before and it often leads to the person either giving up or in an explosion of profanities.
Chris felt threatened by being the only guy and didn’t want to make a big stink.
While he’s still working on being more open (something that’s been an issue in his personal life as well) he feels less intimidated about speaking his mind.
As a result his colleagues have also noticed that he’s a lot more confident and guide him rather than taking over.
Now, take a look at yourself and the people around you.
Do you recognize their behaviors in anyone you know? What could you do to change the dynamic?
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!