Sounds harsh, right? Helping others is a good deed. This is a generally accepted perspective. However, we should be able to determine when we should stop helping other people.
One of my friends once asked me for advice about helping someone. A lot of people would tell him that he is too helpful, and this is something that he could not understand. To him, how can someone be too helpful? Is being too kind bad? But after all, he is being kind, which is supposed to be a good thing.
My friend kept on helping another friend who has been consistently having a hard time with her finances. He would lend her money, pay her bills, and let her stay in one of his estates for free. Such a good friend, some might say. However, he had not realized the pitfalls of his help.
I told my friend that anything in excess, which also goes with helping others, can become harmful. Because of his excessive help, his friend became dependent and irresponsible because she knew he had her back. With this, my friend felt that she became an unnecessary responsibility.
This is where the downhill spiral started. He decided to limit his help. She got mad at him for being different towards her. She got into more debt. They started to drift. He already needed his house. She had nowhere else to go. They are no longer friends.
So, why should we stop helping people at some point?
The person being helped might become dependent. When a person asks for help and you help them, it is indeed a good deed. However, when that person always asks for help and you always comply, then you can make that person depend on you. You should know when to say no.
And of course, there are probably times that we could not offer any help. Let’s say a friend needs money and you don’t have any to spare, you should respectfully say no, and not feel guilty about it.
The person being helped might become irresponsible. In the case of my friend’s friend, she seized to look for ways to make ends meet in terms of her financial status because she expected my friend to always help her. She also continued to go on night-outs that she could have delayed at times when she can allocate the money to something more important. This resulted in unpaid bills, unpaid tuition fees, and missed meals.
We should know the circumstances when our help will empower the person and pave the way for them to take action on their situation.
The person being helped might get disappointed when you do not meet his or her expectations. When you consistently help someone, you somehow set a certain expectation for the person you are helping, more so when you exceed their expectations.
Let’s say a friend is asking for a certain amount of money and you decided to help him or her. You opt to give that friend more than what is being asked for. If you consistently do this and you abruptly stopped, that person might become disappointed. You tried to help but you end up being the bad guy.
The person being helped might start abusing your kindness. With the case of my friend, his friend started to make up stories to make it appear that she needed money for her family’s basic needs. However, he later found out that she used the money for her wants.
Think of other ways to help a friend instead. Let’s say a friend needs money for food, give them food instead of money. Or, better yet, instead of giving something material, give yourself helpful advice on how they can make their lives better.
There are no clear-cut rules on when you should stop helping a person and start saying no. It is our judgment call at the end of the day. However, always think of the implications of the help that you extend. Always ask yourself if you are helping to make the life of the other person better. Will your help be something that will spark the improvement of a person?
You should not feel guilty when you stop helping a person, especially if doing so is more helpful when you look at the bigger picture.