I've always been an extremely giving person. In the past, I've allowed too many people to participate in my life that did not deserve to be there.
I used to be the first to say, "Here's my shirt, and dinner, and some money...." The collective response has been to then take as much from me as they possibly can get away with; and more.
Now that the expensive life lessons (i.e. ass-kicking) I've experienced have begun to sink in; I've been far more vigilant about how people behave towards me and around me. Recently, I found myself in another pickle.
When I have friends that are starting a new business or adding to their current work, I try to participate in that and help them out with their new venture. What this means to me: giving their new website some traffic; helping set up their store front; bringing some food for their customers; even purchasing and trying the new product they are selling so they can get the commission. Basically anything I can do at the time that gives support for their endeavor. I feel that shows I'm a committed friend.
What I have, as usual, received instead is: requests for free help with digital marketing; requests for money; requests for free large-meal catering with very short notice. Then was criticized on the items I had already purchased and cooked for an event (as I said I would do and paid for out of my own pocket). There was also no appreciation given when I delivered said items, go figure. So there's $60 and 6 hours of my time down the tubes.
Imagine the "friends'" shock when I said, and I quote, "NO." No more, I'm doing what I said I would do, here you go and there will be no more. In fact, I'm not going to participate as much as I said I would because you've done gone and pissed me off. And that was so very very difficult for me.
If I help with something, am I saying that person has to respond back to me in the same way? No. My values don't expect a return on investment. I DO expect respect for me, my effort and time, careful consideration of future requests, and appreciation for what has been given. It is what I would give to someone that helped me; along with an offer of return help.
You know what the whole thing reminded me of? Flunky....