Coincidentally, each of my daughters and I have had a conversation this week about situations involving people being taken for granted which prompted me to give it further thought. Independent soul I am, I tend to notice when actions or feelings are not balanced between two individuals; not that everything has to be tit for tat, but it shouldn’t have the proportions of Person A giving 95% and Person B giving 5%.
I’ve avoided the obligatory, reciprocal acts by doing things on my own or by explaining to people in my life that there are certain things I rarely do – like having a big party at my home. Family and close friends are as much as I can handle, and even that’s because my husband does the planning, shopping, and cooking! I could never be in a supper club where, let’s say, five couples have a meal together once a month, rotating homes and cooking duties; sometimes, the host doing all the cooking and buying all the booze. Or the other kind of dinner club where mothers of young children trade nights to serve each other dinner, giving nights off from cooking. I knew a group of women who did this. On Monday, Mary would cook for Jane, Linda, and Marsha’s families; plus delivery. Then she’d have three nights of dinners delivered to her family from Jane on Tuesday, Linda on Wednesday, and Marsha on Thursday.
Not my thing, but I see the advantages of sharing. It’s a win-win for all involved when no one in the group is taking the others for granted.
So if people know that I don’t host big parties, I’m fine if I don’t get invited to theirs; or they can invite me if they’d like. (We usually show up with something in hand.)
One of my daughters has noticed that her printer is being “borrowed” by her college housemates at a growing rate, resulting in increasing ink and paper expense. And let’s not forget wear and tear. Nice girls, they are: they ask, but they don’t offer – money, that is.
Girl #2 has noticed that having a car to drive means “chauffeuring.” Fortunately, her closest friends have access to family vehicles and they take turns at being the driver; however, she sees other situations at school where the balance is lacking. Some cases can’t be helped (they’re teens), but an offer of helping with gas is always an option.
Girl #3 isn’t behind the wheel yet and has to rely on parent chauffeurs – my husband and me or friends’ parents. I’ll admit it – when another parent drives, it’s a treat for me; however, I’ve had to explain to darling daughter that the carpooling has to be shared and that she needs to ask us so that we can figure out if it’s our turn or not. Don’t want to be known as the slacker parents who take the others for granted!
Bottom line: In all their conversations, the solution advised was good ol’ communication, as awkward as it can be. If I’m taking someone for granted, I want to hear it... Really. My feelings might get hurt, I may be embarrassed, or even annoyed, but if it’s true… *sigh* I’ll do some something about it. And likewise, if someone’s using me, or you, knowingly or not, it needs some thought and maybe some action.
The conversations with my girls pertain to kid stuff, but adults have the same issues… right?
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