My best friend is always getting on to me about charging for my “services,” whatever they may be—tutoring, proofreading, beta-testing, researching and generally helping people out. I find jobs for people, edit resumes, and do tons of things that I don’t get paid for.
I’m OK doing this for friends—though sometimes it does get tiresome, especially when it cuts into my own work or family time—but lately it seems like everyone wants a piece of me. Some even want my husband to fix things for them for free, as well. I suppose you can never pass up free, but it also sometimes feels like we are being taken advantage of.
Tonight we had to make a difficult decision that we keep changing our minds about. We adopted little Luna, the runt of her litter, only because she was going to be going to the Humane Society; we had intended to only adopt her brother, Noke. After eight months of loving this little thing—she’s so tiny, still!—it has become apparent that not only do we have too many cats (five!), but that it’s also just not a safe environment for Luna. The others bully her, hissing and fighting; it’s gotten so bad to where she has bite marks and scabs all over her neck! The vet agrees that we just have too many cats fighting over territory and humans and we need to find her a safe space. So for now, we are having to keep her separate from her brothers and sister.
I explained this—albeit a bit more briefly—on Facebook this evening, hoping some friends might offer help or at least pass on the message. A couple of them did, which I am very grateful for; this is a sweet kitten who needs a home. That said, some friends “left” the conversation—without even replying—and a couple of these people were friends we’ve just done big favors for, favors that not only took time (one an entire evening we had together), but also time afterwards in cleaning, buying replacement materials, and other tasks that were out of both time and pocket for us. We do this, and you can’t even say, “Thanks but no thanks,” or, “Sure, I’ll pass on the message?”
I think the time for freebie help for friends who only want to talk when they need help is over in this house.