Looking for a bridge over troubled water? Krithvi Shyam, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties.
I am 21 and have this problem that I always compromise my own convenience for others. I want to be a nice, reliable person; not the ‘bears it all in silence’ kind that I am. I feel I should’nt have to live like this, because favours are rarely returned. It makes me feel small and insignificant, that people can walk all over me because I’m harmless. I want to be more assertive but afraid it might sound rude. Please help.
Most of us have experienced being taken for granted at some point in our lives. Sometimes we might even have to check our faces in the mirror to make sure we don’t have an “All are welcome!” sign pasted on our forehead. The two aspects you could consider when deciding whether to do something for someone are (a) your relationship to the person and (b) how ridiculous their request sounds. If you’re dealing with people who have helped you in the past, then it’s only right that you try to do the same for them (but within your capabilities– for example, if you are on a tight budget, don’t try lending money or paying for meals, because you will probably not be repaid). However, if you’re dealing with people who have always taken help from you, but have never offered friendship or goodwill in return, then you are not obliged to do them any favours. If a request sounds unreasonable, it’s not rude to say “No”, and if you provide a legitimate explanation, most people won’t be offended. Start practising saying “No” to those who take advantage of you (if they think you’re being rude, consider it a blessing because they’ll stop asking you for more stuff), so that you will feel a lot more comfortable saying it to people you do care about when the situation arises.
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