#3: Doing Something For Another Without That Person Asking For Help


You are at a super market check-out, lining up items for your weekly shopping. At the check-out is a bag packer who has begun to pack your bags (without them asking if you require assistance). You are particular in how you pack your items, and are careful to get heavier items at the bottom of bags. The bag packer is less careful, and puts your items into bags hastily. You wish you had been asked, and are concerned about your food being damaged. How can you be clean in your communication?

Between Friends

You are an elderly person living alone. You enjoy your independence and wish to keep things this way, until you get even older. However, a neighbor (a kind soul) regularly picks up little items from the supermarket to give to you. They have elderly relatives, whose neighbours do the same, and they enjoy this looking after. You don’t need these items bought for you (a few chocolates, fruit, and other essentials) and feel that you are losing some of your freedom. How can you be clean in your communication?

Friendship Circle

You are with a group of friends and the idea of a joint holiday is being discussed. You are in school, while you would like to go, money is tight and – you think – better spent on more essential items. Your peers are more frivolous, and have more disposable income. When it comes to booking the flights, your friends each put in a little extra, and purchase your ticket, knowing how you feel. They wish this to be a kind gesture. You, however, are not so happy. How can you be clean in your communication?

Marriage Partner

You’re at a restaurant. Before ordering you discuss with one another what you are each going to order. When the waitress comes to take the order it’s your partner who does the task of ordering both meals… ‘I’ll like x, and [insert name here] would like y.’ It’s such a small issue, but you don’t like it! It frustrates you that your partner orders your meal for you. How can you be clean in your communication?

The Workplace

You have given a presentation at work, seen by many of your colleagues. Later that day, you receive an email from a more senior employee detailing the strengths and areas of improvement of your performance earlier that day. While they may wish to assist a fellow associate, you have become frustrated with their actions. It wasn’t something you asked them to do, and there is a suitable appeasement process in place. Further, it appears this senior employee has been providing his unsolicited advice to various others. How can you be clean in your communication?

Church, Community, Volunteer Organization

Once, you gave a lift to a friend on the way to church. Somehow it became a little tradition, and now every week it is you who picks this lady up. You didn’t start to mind at fist, but you realize that another church-goer lives closer to this lady. It is a waste of your time on a Sunday morning, and you’d rather not pick her up. How can you be clean in your communication?

Other Example

You live with a group of friends. They think you are messy, you think you are too clean. At the end of the day there are often dirty cups and plates around the house. You regularly take it upon yourself to clean up your housemates’ messes – doing the washing-up, which you’d rather not do. Your housemates are annoyed and wish you wouldn’t clean up after them. You’re annoyed as you don’t like cleaning up after others. How could each party cleanly communicate with one another?

This article provides some insight to the costs of a ‘people fixing’ mentality.