When it comes to people, I hate being out of pocket

I tend to be a person who helps other people out. And, I don’t expect a tit for tat when it comes to helping. I don’t help someone with the idea that they will in turn help me out. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with a “scratch my back and I will scratch yours.” Especially, when it comes to the workplace where having allies and even functional frenemies is necessary. But, in general my help comes free of charge. An occasional thank you is most surely appreciated. An occasional note regarding the importance of such help is most welcome. I do also recognize some people may not be able to give a thank you in the moment or even many moments further down. I get all that.

Now, I also understand that at times I will be out of pocket when it comes to certain payments. A few years ago, for example, I was out of pocket a couple of hundred of dollars for an allergy test. It was absolutely ridiculous but at the end of the day it was what it was. It hurt but the system was such that I just wasn’t going to win. I have won other insurance battles. Bigger ones. And for that I have been grateful. But I am not here to talk about health insurance. I am not even here to talk about being out of pocket in the general, typical sense of the phrase. I want to take this concept of being out of pocket and apply it to people.

Sometimes, you put a lot into a friendship to only see it turned on a dime. Everything seems ok and then somehow you are wondering how you so severely misjudged the friendship level. Everything cool and good that you have done is forgotten. Sometimes, you are asked to help and help and help some more to the point you are not even asked anymore. It is just expected. Have you ever had someone over to your house and they end up breaking something with barely an apology. I get that accidents happen. But you just know that if the situation were reversed, they would expect not only an apology but also some monetary compensation.

In these situations and more you end up being psychologically and at times, monetarily, out of pocket. And there’s just no recompense. No thought of it even. And you are left with a sadness and a void that make you bitter little by little. It bites to be out of pocket. Question becomes how to fill that pocket back up? Got to move on, of course. And just can’t let people use you. There’s nothing wrong with helping others but there has to be skin in the game by them as well. At the end of the day, one just needs to learn how to “budget” oneself . Whatever that means to you.

3 replies »

  1. This is a really good post. It makes a lot of sense in the context I’m applying it to my life. There had been a very dear friend that we became super close in a quick amount of time, and I thought we would be friends forever. Now she has distanced herself, possibly because she now has a boyfriend, but even when I reach out to her it’s very superficial and it’s almost like she’s responding because it’s expected. So you’re absolutely right that we have to move on and let certain friendships go. Just disappointing because in that time frame that you became friends you start to care about that person. And just because your friendship ends doesn’t mean your love for your friends can just go away with a snap of a finger.


  2. Over time, protecting yourself should come out in your favor – after all, you don’t expect someone else to take the hit for you. So the choices along the way have to give the benefit of the doubt (starting up new relationships takes energy) but also take into account the return on investment. Except with kids, where the ROI is their very existence. Most of the time.

    That is, if you expect to remain emotionally healthy.

    I don’t know how much self-awareness this requires, but I do it, and I’m aware I’m doing it. It IS exhausting, but the alternative to managing yourself is having other people manage you, and that’s worse.


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