Saturday, October 24, 2009

The cost of help.

Everyone is raised differently. Different values, different ideas and different styles of friendship. This is something that no matter how old I get, I have a hard time grasping or understanding.

Today on my day off I got asked to help E cut up meat at his house because he was butchering a hog and making bratwurst. He said it would take 3-4 hours, we'd just cut it up, grind it and then he and my brother would stuff of the casings on Sunday. E has always helped me when I need help so I was more than happy to help him. Honestly I would have helped him even if he hadn't ever helped me.

So as we were working he changed the plan and we started doing all parts of the project, turning a 3-4 hour job into an all day and possibly all night affair. I had made plans with S long before this came about and S and I were heading out of town around 3:30, and E knew this. I stayed until 5 o'clock when S was calling really getting irritated because we were now over an hour behind schedule, so I told E I had to go. He said he understood and seemed cool with it since this was planned before me getting involved with helping him. I thought things were cool and I cleaned up and gathered my stuff. By this time 2 other people had shown up to help and I really wasn't doing much anyway, so I figured I was good to go.

As I'm heading out the door I apologized and said I wish I could stay and help longer, and E replied with "yeah, me too because you owe me big time" It struck a cord and I shut the door and walked out in disbelief that I just heard that.

Seriously? I owe him big time? I've heard a few comments from him before about friends that owe him money and he was collecting it from them by them doing things for him. Helping with his roof, helping with siding the garage, etc... I did borrow money from him because I was being threatened by two separate law offices to be sued over a matter of $800 from AFLAC for a story that's too long and boring filled with bitterness to repeat.

I never asked him for the money, I never begged him for anything. Everything he's ever done for me, he's done on his own accord. He's offered his help, and I accepted, never did I think I was entering into a contract to work off debt. I have made payments of cash to repay him, I thank him endlessly when he helps, I thought it was one friend helping another friend, but apparently there is a little record keeper keeping track of hours and money used to help me and figuring out what I have to do to repay the favor.

I don't understand friendship like that. I was raised that if you want to help someone you do it because you want to help, not because you expect anything in return but a simple thank you. If I had kept track of all the people I've helped over the years I should have never spent a day alone in this business. I've never held anything over anyone's head and I never expected anyone to help me because they owe me. I never once helped someone because I might need help in the future. When I help people it's because I genuinely want to help. Somehow along the way I'm the only one that thinks this way.

My father has made statements like "after all the help I've given so and so and they aren't here to help me now" and similar statements from my brother, and now this? People often think I'm just too proud to ask for help, it's not pride at all, it's fear of entering into this unspoken and unwritten contract of servitude. Where did all this come from?

I'm just at a loss of how to proceed with this. If I had the money I'd just pay him back in full, but it's going to take another month or so. I was going to skip a payment or so, so I could save up some money to buy a new vehicle, but now I'd rather get him paid off and done with before I move on. It makes me glad I haven't accepted all his help. The other day we spoke and he was offended because I didn't accept all of his help. How can we go from that conversation to this one? Was he offended because he couldn't hold it over my head? Did he have a project he needs help with in the future and is trying to secure the help to do it?

I'm pissed and I'm hurt that he thinks he needs to do something for me in order to ask me for help. Have I done something to create this situation? I just don't understand how this works. When have I repaid the favor so I don't feel like I HAVE to help if I have something else going on?

I talked about it with S today on our trip and he was flabergasted as well. Many of my friends are the same as me, we don't keep track of who helps who when and for how long or how big of a job it was. We help when we can and when the other person needs it. S has called me randomly to see if I could come over and help move a couch or t.v. or help take his brakes apart and I go and help and we have a good time and it was enough. I've called S to come help me with my car, or to help at the store for some random reason and he's come over and never asked for anything in return. The same goes for Free and me, we do what we can, when we can and don't expect anything in return except a simple thank you. I guess I was just naive in thinking that's what friendship was about, like treating one another like family.

Like I said I don't know how to move forward with this and get past it. Until I tell E how I feel about this, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to act normally around him.

Maybe I'm just wrong and it's how it's supposed to work. Maybe I'm the odd man out in this situation, I don't really know, but I don't think it's right to offer someone help and expect things in return. I'm always offering help, and always answer the call to help with whatever and whenever I can. Doing things because I feel obligated to do them does not make me feel good, it makes me resent whatever I'm doing and whoever I'm doing it for, and that's never a plesent situation.

Oh well, I've given this enough thought for tonight. I have to work at 7 am tomorrow and then we're getting our family pictures taken the rest of the afternoon, so I better get to bed on time tonight. I still have so much to blog about, but this just really hit a nerve with me tonight. Maybe now that it's out of my head mostly I can blog about the good things happening recently mixed in with the frustrating.

1 comment:

  1. (((hug)))

    You aren't the only one. That was rude!