helping others to help yourself

July 4 | 2017

for some people, there are certain limits that cannot be overcome without the help of others. A support network of friends, family or even strangers can be very critical. This post however is not about the genuine and kindhearted people. There is a different kind of “helper” breed out there, who appear as good, but their motives are the opposite. I have tried to illustrate the most common types and how to avoid them. The list will probably grow over time, in case you have any suggestions, leave them in the comment section.

the “look-at-me-type”

the *look-at-me" type

these are helper types who appear to do anything for you, only to be praised for it. The more positive attention they get, the better. They love to give long speeches about their good deeds, and how firmly they stand up for your rights. But once the praise stops, they will drop you like a hot potato, because all they care about is to make themselves look good. It’s fairly easy to spot them. You can usually find them on social gatherings like conferences and family reunions. When you encounter them for the first time and the first thing they talk about is how many people/charities they have “helped”, instead of focusing on your situation, you might want to back off.

the “my-way-or-highway ” type 

these types love to “help” others, but not out of the same motives as you may think. They don’t necessarily brag about their charitable work and appear very supportive, especially when you find yourself in a vulnerable situation. Sooner or later however, they will start to give you instructions on how you should do things in your life. That way they they can take control over you and your behavior, which is what they enjoy the most. It’s disguised as “advice” but in reality, they dismiss your point of view, as you are expected to obey. If you dare not to, they eventually they will threaten to, or withdraw help from you altogether. They aren’t as easy to spot in the beginning, which is what makes them dangerous because they appear so supportive and are oftentimes your friends or relatives. They know your weaknesses and can easily use them against you. As soon as you start getting unsolicited advice, watch their reaction when you reject it. If they will start to convince you otherwise or even guilt trip you, run, roll jump or whatever you can to get away.

the “jobsworth” type

these types don’t use emotions to get their way, their tools of choice are laws, rules and regulations. Their natural habitats are mainly offices. More often than not, it’s accompanied by another set of patterns in which they see you and you’re expected to act within those constraints. These “helpers” don’t focus as much on you or the outcome. All they care about is to follow their protocol to the letter. Any disruptions or deviation is unacceptable, no matter what. If you don’t play along, you’re dismissed, plain and simple, unless there is a bigger fish to override them.

the “pity-party” type 

this type of “helper” one is another special animal. Their motivator is pity. They see you as miserable and unhappy, so they feel the urge to “help” you. There’s nothing wrong with helping people in need, but these “helper” types don’t have an interest in actually solving the problem. To the contrary, they have to keep you miserable and unhappy, because that’s what they thrive on. Many of them still do charity work. The most common thing you’ll notice is that they always ask you how they can help you, not what do you need. Unless you don’t mind being an eternal victim or a charity case, you might wanna reconsider your involvement.

the “tit-for-tat” type

these types are often classmates or coworkers, they actually hate “helping” others, but they do it anyway if there’s something that they can get out of it. It may be money, goods, or anything else to their advantage. Either way, anything these “helpers” do for you is conditional. In case their desires aren’t fulfilled, they will throw each little thing they’ve done for you right in your face. Whatever you did for them at this point is irrelevant. That’s your alarm sign. If you refuse to supply them with what they want, they will eventually drop you and move on to find their next victim.

the “Samaritan-in-suit” type 

it’s one of the worst of its kind. Types like these are workplace related and are mostly in leadership positions of companies or institutions. They appear to do charitable work and praise themselves for giving opportunities for those who they deem disadvantaged. In reality however, they are the ones taking advantage of the disadvantaged. You can easily end up working in shitty and underpaid jobs with no possibility of improvement. Weakness and/or the apparent lack of better opportunities is what these “helpers” pick up on, so you become defenseless. If instead of standing your ground, you are expected to be grateful for what you’re given, just GTFO there.


Also published on Medium.

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