A friend in need or a 'user?'

Hi everyone;

For some reason, neighbors are always asking me for favors. And that’s it. If I bump into them elsewhere, (school functions, the store, etc…) they wave, but don’t stop over to see how I am, or how my family is doing…but they will be right there the next week or so, asking for another favor. Without boring you with the details of the favors (kids related to be generic), I can’t help but wonder if I’m being used? But, then I pray about it and feel God telling me to continue just being there for people.

My husband often says…’ a friend in need is a friend indeed.’ Honestly, who came up with that statement?:rolleyes: It’s probably someone who was being used like me!:stuck_out_tongue: HA!

Ok…in a way, I don’t care really…but, I must care because I posted something about it here. What do you think? Are we required to grant every favor asked of us by our neighbors, even if we’re available? (I had a simliar issue in PA, too) I always find neighbors like this.:o

I’m not sure if I put this in the wrong section…please move it mods, if you need to…sorry in advance!:slight_smile:

My first question is whether these favors present any needs conflict or other problems for you.


Not really. It’s not the favor that is the issue, really. I am not the type either that does favors, expecting ones in return. It’s more that when I see this neighbor at social functions, she doesn’t socialize with me…it’s like I’m only good for watching her kids, when she needs it?:blush: I can’t imagine asking someone to do an ongoing favor for me daily, and when I see them out and about, I don’t socialize with him/her.

I think “a friend in need” is supposed to mean “a friend *who is there when you are *in need is a friend indeed.” That’s the way I’ve always understood it. Makes much more sense that way.

I understand how you can feel that they are just using you. I’m fairly generous too, and people sometimes take advantage of that to assume that I’ll be able to help (lend them money, volunteer to do something, prepare something) when they haven’t checked with me first. I work on the assumption that if it isn’t an unreasonable request, I should do it.

If you feel that they don’t spend enough time with you when they don’t need you, maybe you should approach them more. Have you considered asking their help sometime when you need something? It could be that they’d like to be closer to you, but they feel awkward approaching you for friendship. Maybe it’s easier to ask for something than to approach you with no opening.

I can imagine that your neighbours feel that they are using you, and feel guilty, so they avoid you sometimes. If you asked them for advice or a favour sometime, they might feel that you value their friendship, and the relationship will improve. I would give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if you feel called to help them.

However, if you feel that you have no more of yourself to give, or that they don’t respect you, or if they refuse to help you in any way, I would reconsider being so generous to them. There is a difference between being a good person and being a doormat.

Yes, I suppose I should feel good that she trusts me with watching her children, not really knowing me all too long. We just moved here in June. I will honestly say, now that you have me rethinking my steps over the past several weeks, that because I have felt used in a way, I have not made the attempts to walk down to her house, to see how she is doing. I have written her a few emails, and they go unanswered, but she is working two jobs actually…so she could be busy. I am not looking for a friendship, per se…I just wish that when I saw her at football games, school functions, that she would at least walk up to me, and socialize a bit. The favor itself isn’t the issue, it’s more her treatment of me when I see her out somewhere…and her acting like she hardly knows me.

I can understand how you feel, as I have felt like a “doormat” on more than one occasion. I certainly don’t blame you for feeling “used” - especially if these people only come around when they want something. That’s very hurtful.

Have you ever initiated a conversation or something with these people? Maybe invited them over for coffee, tea, something like that? Perhaps use this as a way to get to know them better. Maybe it’s a stretch, but maybe they don’t realize they are being so stand-offish and rude? :confused:

My husband often says…’ a friend in need is a friend indeed.’ Honestly, who came up with that statement?:rolleyes: It’s probably someone who was being used like me!:stuck_out_tongue: HA!

Yeah, I never understood that one myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

Are we required to grant every favor asked of us by our neighbors, even if we’re available?

I know we are supposed to always “turn the other cheek”, but it can get old, especially when certain people only come around when THEY need something.

Pray about it - you’ll get an answer. I’ll be praying for you too.:console:

**Maybe she feels the same way? She could be asking herself why you don’t walk up to her and socialize…maybe she thinks you don’t like her…there are countless possibilities and there is really no use speculating.

If you don’t mind watching her kids and it’s no big deal whether or not she becomes a friend to you then maybe just go on “as is”. But if it were me, I would try to initiate and see what happens. If she outright snubs you then you have some thinking to do.

As for you saying that this isn’t an isolated incident (that you always seem to find neighbors who like to take advantage of your generosity), well you might need to explore that a bit deeper too. Do you think people won’t like you if you don’t do things for them? Do you have trouble socializing so offer to do a favor instead? You don’t have to answer, just giving you my thoughts…

like a previous poster said: there is a difference between being generous and being a doormat. It’s ultimately up to you:thumbsup:


aw, thank you! I used to go for walks at night with the mom, and my husband does not like the dad/husband of the family. They are very strict on their kids…to the point where I wonder sometimes about the strictness. It’s none of my business, but one day the little girl told us she wasn’t allowed to go home, because she spilled grape juice on the carpet in the morning, and it was very hard to get out the stain…so they punished her, and she had to stay at school, on the field, while her brother is at football practice. And she wasn’t allowed to watch tv for a month…over a grape juice spill? Other incidents have come to light, and my husband does not like that guy…frankly, maybe they sense this.:eek: That could be. I truly don’t want to become best buds…just don’t want to feel used.:o Thank you for your thoughts!!!

I actually have always made the initiative to sit with her at our sons’ football games, and she has talked…we have had good conversations, but the last game, I decided to sit elsewhere.

Ok…woah…I almost forgot this. Ok, I just remembered that I offered her daughter money if she got straight a’s on her report card…it was sort of a fleeting thing…she was playing with my daughter talking about grades, etc…and I offered that. When I saw her mom shortly afterwards, she wasn’t happy about it. I apologized to her, that it was a fleeting comment, and she seemed ok about it. But, ever since that, she has not been as friendly. Ok, I remember that now. But, still…she doesn’t have a problem still asking me for favors. :stuck_out_tongue: And I truly did apologize when I realized it was wrong of me to offer her daughter a gift for a good report card.

Thanks for listening everyone. I don’t want to be a petty type…so, I will get over it, and not let it bother me. God asks us to help others, so who am I to turn her down?:o

Perfect timing! Just read the devotional on www.wau.org…here is the ending paragraph of today’s reflection…

However, whenever we put others’ needs before our own, we’re always rewarded in the end. When we exercise our God-given talents for the sake of another, we’re blessed by tapping into the overwhelming love he has for us—as well as for those he’s given us to care for!

God is beyond awesome.:thumbsup:

Yes He is! I knew He’d help you find the answer. :love:
I’ll still be praying for you!

Well, I guess I will be the lone dissenter! I think if you “feel” that you are being used, you probably are. As someone who always “helps” everyone and babysits, and picks up kids, etc. I have the same problem. I think it is unusual that this lady, who has only known you for a few months, has you babysitting all the time. When we first started the kids at their current school, a few moms started asking me to get their kids off the bus, or babysit for this or that. Even though I work myself and was very busy, I tried to help out. I found that the more I helped, the more these moms asked! I began feeling a tad resentful. It took awhile, but I discovered that these “user” moms, had used up plenty of people before me. Since we were new to the school, we were “good pickins”!
Also, perhaps you did step over the line by offering money for all “A’s” to her daughter. However, that’s the price one pays by having others watch their kids all of the time! I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If you have to sit around and try to guess why this mom is standoffish, and then start blaming yourself for things you may or may not have said, it’s time to start reviewing the situation. I’m not sure what type of babysitting schedule you are on with her, but you may want to back off a bit, and see how she reacts. I’m sure you’re doing this for free? If so, then this user mom should at least offer to pay you a little, especially if you’re babysitting regularly.
It’s a fine line between being charitable and generous with your time, and being used. My guess is that this lady doesn’t want to have to pay someone, or she doesn’t want to have to drive too far to get her children from a sitter. How did this whole situation come about anyway? Knowing that will probably help us to help you a little bit more.

Good morning, and thank your thoughts! Without prejudging, I too thought it odd that someone who doesn’t know me from Adam, would ask me to watch her daughter on a daily basis. When they first moved in, our sons played football together–but my son and his son aren’t really friends, per se. They walk home together, etc, but they are not friends. That being said, I think in the beginning she thought our friendship might help their friendship. I’m not going to tell my son who to befriend. He is nice to her son–and visa versa, but there is no connection there, and my son is not the most social person on the planet. But, early on, she asked me if her daughter could come over in the mornings, after she went to work. It’s not an imposition, but she doesn’t ‘know’ me…I mean, I leave for work before her daughter arrives usually, and my husband is there. My husband is a great guy, but she doesn’t know him either, you know? So, she places a lot of trust in people she hardly knows.

I think I started really feeling this way, when her daughter was very sick (fever, whole nine yards) the other morning, and I saw her walking up the street, I stopped–and she told me how sick she is. I said, why aren’t you staying home from school? She said my mom can’t stay home with me, she has to work. Ok…well, I have to work too, I thought–and I don’t feel like my children getting sick. I was a little annoyed that someone would allow their sick child into my home–I mean, that is somewhat of an imposition…I wouldn’t send my children if they were sick to school, let alone to another person’s home, to get them sick. Imean, no phone call–nothing. And not even a thank you, either. My husband thinks that is equally odd, to not even say thank you for asking us…and not even a call to say, ‘hey so and so is sick today, do you mind if she still comes over?’ I guess my expectation of how people should treat me is WAY too high.:shrug:

Nonetheless, I have resigned to just waving, I’ll stop and say hello…but I’m not willing to go out of my way anymore. I have tried, but maybe God just wants me to help this person. That’s how I look at it all, now. Thanks for your reply!:slight_smile:

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