#1: Doing Something For Another Person That They Can Do For Themselves


You decide to go to a conference/discussion, to learn more about a subject which you know little about. You sit next to a man who is keen to share his knowledge of the subject whenever the possibility arises. Whenever you are asked to work with a partner the man is quick to offer his thoughts to you. He fervently requests you write down contacts, website address, and books that he recommends. Further, when the next day of the conference begins he has printed out his notes from the lecture so far, along with other tidbits, for you. While you are keen to grow your knowledge, you are curious to learn more yourself, not from this enthusiastic assistance. How can you be clean in your communication?

Between Friends

You go out for some drinks (and then food) with a friend. You both know it is he who earns more than you. While he is trying to be considerate he is quick to pay for the drinks each round. Further when the meal has finished, on his return from the bathroom he covers the cost of both meals. You understand that your friend enjoys taking you out. You understand that a few drinks and a meal is not a great amount of money. However, this lack of choice is causing your frustration. How can you be clean in your communication?

Friendship Circle

You are on a course at college, and need to take a book out of the library, ready for next week. There are many copies of this book in the library, enough for everyone on the course. You hadn’t planned a time to go and collect the book, but would have done so before the next tutorial. Later that day you meet up with your cohort, some of whom have already been to get the book. In fact, one friend has been nice and got a copy of the book out for you. While it seems a nice gesture, you could easily have made time to get the book yourself. In future you don’t wish to have things done for you without consulting you about it first. How can you be clean in your communication?*
* Noting that such tasks are often gray areas, consciously asking oneself how the other might feel about the act is likely going to be the right choice.

Marriage Partner

“When I was in the dentists today I booked you a dentist appointment. They saw from your records you were over due for another one. It’s next Thursday at 2pm” Yes, you know you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, but organizing an appointment was on your list of things to do over the next few weeks. That your partner has organised an appointment on your behalf has made you frustrated. How can you be clean in your communication?

The Workplace

It’s 11am. You’re at your desk working, and as usual, your colleague takes a break and returns with his received mail. Occasionally, he returned with your mail also, but today he has been to collect his pay slip and has yours as well. You feel strongly about collecting your pay slip yourself – after all, it contains personal information – although none of this can be viewed without opening the envelope. How can you be clean in your communication?

Church, Community, Volunteer Organization

“I know you’re busy, so I took your name off the list of helpers for next Sunday’s event.” While you have enjoyed contributing to the success of a local charity, making time for this presently has been difficult. While the charity member was trying to be nice, this action has frustrated you. You have contributed for many years, and although you were going to remove your name anyway, you would have preferred to have been asked before being removed from the list. How can you be clean in your communication?

Other Examples

Remember when you were a child, playing team games with friends; soccer, hide-and-go-seek, etc. Did you ever encounter that ‘friend’ who would dominate the group and assign teams on all other players behalf? Were you or your friends ever put into teams without your consideration? How could you be clean in your communication?