rebelling against low expectations

How do you help someone without letting them take advantage of you?


BROOKLYN WRITES: I have a friend who never talks to me anymore unless she needs something. Whenever I reach out to her, she ignores me and only contacts me when she needs to borrow clothes or a movie. She’s in a tough spot in her life right now, and I want to help her and show Christ’s love, but I feel that she’s taking advantage of my kindness.

My mom even told me to be careful because this friend seems to be walking all over me. I want to help my friend, really, but at the same time I don’t want to come across as someone that can be taken advantage of. So how do I balance this?

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  • It might help if you where the one to suggest something you could do for her, that way you could help without letting her rule you. It’s okay to say no every now and then too.

    Just a warning though, it’s not necessarily bad to be taken advantage of. We Christians should be giving in a way that hurts us sometimes, that’s okay.

    I don’t know the situation well enough to say, but as long as helping her isn’t distracting you from more important work, maybe you should keep giving. Hope this helps!

    • I disagree. You shouldn’t give knowing you are being taken advantage of.

      It doesn’t only hurt you, but the person you think you’re helping. By giving when being taken advantage of you make it so your friend won’t think to help herself. She can become over dependent, and ruin herself by not learning to take care of things herself.

      Sometimes not giving is the way to give the most.

      • Thanks pointing that out, I definitely agree that there is a time to stop giving or to give less. It all takes wisdom, and I really don’t know enough about Brooklyn’s situation to say what needs to happen. In a more general sense though, I think there’s a time to continue giving, and to stop. It all depends on whether it’s hurting them or the other people you’re trying to help. I edited my earlier comment so hopefully that clears things up.

  • i think You need to pray for her. also, tell her that you guys need to talk, PRONTO. Its ok to be taken advantage of to a certain point, but just say “no” every so often. let her learn to give to you a little bit.

  • Sadly to say, I am in the same dilemma, but many years down the road from it. What started out as a way to help a devastated family member turned into a full blown reliance and expectation to keep helping them. We have set a few boundaries to maintain the relationship and do still help at times. But our initial compassion for her was necessary. Many stepped in to help. But after a few years of this, we started getting bitter in our hearts when the gratitude stopped and her sense of entitlement started and she resented when we refused to help in everything she thought was necessary. That was when we had to step back and see that this pattern of giving was not producing good fruit in either of us.

    I know that God owns all things and material things mean nothing to me. I have been very blessed and am eternally grateful. We are very generous people and do not turn away valid needs. But this is where wisdom comes in. I have found that the litmus test for determining giving is to see what fruit is being produced by your giving. This generation of people as of the last eight years have been told to expect something for nothing. We now have a multitude of generations feeling entitled to whatever others have. It is rampant in the church mentality. We are told to test all things. Something may seem good, but it isn’t necessarily God’s way. Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

    Be cautious of who you give to. I have found that our kindness has been used by the those who know how to use it. My efforts to help my relative has produced nothing but death in her relationship with God. My eyes started opening when my daughter came home from her second missions trip to a large center that ministers to thousands on the streets. She watched the homeless tossing their free food back and forth as a game and totally ungrateful. She realized that while the intent might be good, it had created even a bigger problem. That is why we should test all things.

    Your friend seems to have found a very kind person, but she now sees you as a commodity to help make her life better. If the fruit you see isn’t good, it would be wise to stop it now for her sake and for yours.

    It is okay to say no. Seek God’s wisdom. And definitely pray for her, as someone else said.

    God bless you!

    Ms. Jean

  • I think the most important thing to do in these situations is to draw lines BEFORE you’re in the middle of it. So, say, you decide to not let your friend borrow things from you all the time but only once a month. That might be a little specific, so maybe a better line would be that if the relationship is one sided for a month then to back away until it becomes a two-way street. One line that I personally draw is that if I get sworn at, I back away permanently or until it’s made right. So yeah I believe it’s all in the lines you draw – not to keep others out but to keep yourself safe.

    Hope that helps!

  • To an extent, it depends on the situation, but it brings to mind one of my favourite passages, Philippians 2:5-8:

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    As sinful humans, we have no rights, but even Jesus, who DID have rights, laid them aside for us. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to stand up for ourselves or ensure that our needs are being met. Instead, Jesus tells us “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) I read somewhere once that this might be referring to the fact that Roman soldiers were allowed to force Jews to carry a load for a mile, but Jesus is telling us to willingly serve more than required, even when it costs.
    For now, I would encourage you to continue giving with love, generosity, and cheerfulness. I’m pretty sure it will be noticed, even if not appreciated, and “…your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4)

  • Hey Brooklyn! =)

    So I know you’re a girl and the person you’re talking about is a girl and all that, but I’m going to give you a very guy-ish piece of advice anyways lol =)

    What I would do as a guy if this person were a guy, is be totally honest with them and talk to them and tell them that they’re taking advantage of me. I’d say something like “Hey, I’m always there for you, but you only ever talk to me when you want something from me. It really feels like you’re taking advantage of me, and I don’t appreciate that.” I know it’s like, mind-blowingly simple. =P

    That would work for a guy, but if it’s a girl I know it might not lol. But I hope it helped anyways! =)

  • I struggle with this a lot too Brooklyn… =P I’m a super social outgoing person, but when it comes to being firm with someone and saying “No!” or something like Josh mentioned, it’s very challenging for me even though that may be the right thing… =P So I think Josh gave some great advice!! And I’d advise you in a similar way knowing that’s the right thing…even though it’s not an easy thing and I struggle with it myself. =P

    Another option would be to just say “no” when she asks for things. For me, I always feel like I have to offer an explanation for why I’m saying no which can be difficult. But you can even say, “Hey ___, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to let you borrow these clothes/this movie today.” without *really* giving an explanation, but kind of giving one… After saying no for a while or at least occasionally she might get the idea and stop asking as often.

  • When I read this questions I immediately was curious as I am in a similar situation. And reading through the comments, I came to a conclusion myself. It really depends on the situation, the person, and what they are asking for. Not giving them everything they want may be what’s right for the person, if they have the ability to get it on their own and are just using you. You aren’t helping that person in the situation if you don’t help them learn to do things themselves and not rely on others. But another situation there may not be another way, like they need a ride because of family situations. This is when we are called to help them. So, I guess you could call me a fence sitter. I just look at it as not what is right for me, but what is going to help the other person in this situation.

  • I also struggle with this because I find it really hard to say no to people. I have one friend in particular who, whether he means to or not, takes advantage of me a bit. However, he has recently admitted to me that he has been self-harming and has thought about suicide on many occasions. There are many reasons begin this, but one of them is that he feels like he doesn’t have many people who care about him. I’m genuinely scared that if I say no to him about something, or convey to him how I feel about how he might be taking advantage of me, he might think I don’t like him or something and actually kill himself.
    I know this sounds like I’m overreacting, but I’ve seen how depressed he can be at school and I know his home life is no escape and I don’t know what I should do.
    I would appreciate any feedback anybody can give me about this. Thank you so much 🙂

  • In my opinion that would be hard to chose what to do, everybody is different, to some, maybe its better to just leave them alone and not try to help, because the “help” is not needed, they don’t care… Maybe those type of people just want to play on you, for fun… But as it says down the comments, some people might have reasons on why to act such way, maybe have problems at home, at school, or anywhere else. Maybe its a good idea to step into their shoes, and see what can be done. 🙂 just a thought)

  • Im in a similar situation and I told my friend I don’t like being taken advantage of and now she will not speak to me and ignores me. It is really hard not to talk to her because she was one of my close friends. I was there when she needed me and I told her what I did not like and now she will not talk to me. I have decided to be there for her and forgive her so I can move on. When you forgive you don’t have the guilt and resentment for the person. Pray for them I would say and try to be kind but if it goes on forgive and move on.

  • Hey guys my name is Noah I’ve been having doubts that God exists and it’s been making feel depressed. And I feel like that Satan has a hold of my mind in a very strong way. I just need God in my life but it’s hard for me to believe in him if I doubt he exists.

rebelling against low expectations

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