In addition to my Dad’s big feet and curly hair, I have also inherited another characteristic; his basic inability to say no. It would seem that my Dad has now handed that particular family torch over to me, and frankly, I think I may be destined to be a perpetual reluctant volunteer for the remainder of my life.
I have been roped into babysitting, shopping, taxi driving and cooking; and anyone who knows me realises that I am neither a gifted nor an accomplished cook. I have lent money with promises of repayment which never actually materialise. I was once invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house thinking that a girls’ night was in the offing when in actual fact, I babysat her toddlers whilst she went out and didn’t return until the following afternoon.
Most recently one of our elderly neighbours said that the person taking them to the airport had pulled out at the last-minute, subsequently I ended up getting up at 3am on my day off to drive them to our not so local airport a couple of hours away so that they could catch a flight to London and then onto Dubai, first class all the way. To be fair they did offer to reimburse me for the fuel used and my Dad said that he would feel more comfortable if he knew that they both got to the airport safely. Enroute to our destination we called into the motorway services so that they could get something to eat and whilst there they bought me a burger. As I dropped them as near to the terminal as I could and secured a trolley for their luggage, the old lady said that as they’d paid for lunch, I’d now been fully recompensed but could I please ensure that I was punctual when I picked them up on the return journey. Clearly she was under the misapprehension that shelf stacking is such lucrative employment and my bosses enable me to work flexible hours in order that I can accommodate any friend requests.
So the very next time a friend asks for a favour, I’m going to shut up and sit on my hands because saying no, does not make me a bad person. What about you? When was the last time you were taken advantage of or have you a magic formula for deflecting unreasonable demands?