Today's Advice: When the Only Choices Are "Bitch*" and "Patsy," Choose "Bitch*"

When Shakespeare said, "Neither a borrower nor lender be," he should've been talking about more than money. You also have time, talent, energy, and emotion to give, and you should go through life as neither a ruthless taker/user nor a drained "mark" endlessly depleted by the taker/users.

I'm not saying it's easy to avoid. Sometimes users are in such a pattern of behavior, they don't even realize they're doing it. And accommodators can take years to realize they're being taken advantage of.

I don't have much advice for takers other than, "Cut that shit out!", because I tend toward accommodation. In fact, up until recently I wouldn't have had any advice for the "yes men (women)" because I was still being "nice." I had to be burned at least, oh, 5,835 times before I knew what was happening.

It was difficult for me (or my mom, or Double Post, or Not Double Post, or even my brother, because let's face it, every aspect of human interaction is difficult for him) because we don't come from a family of takers. Both my father's side and mother's side were recent enough immigrants coming from either a poor farming community (my dad's) or the kind of neighborhoods Upton Sinclair talked about in The Jungle (my mom's. And read that book if you haven't already. I command you!), where you helped your neighbors and they helped you because it was a matter of survival for all of you. They didn't have time to think about what they wanted; they were too busy working to get what they needed. True, there were scammers and thieves and such, but they couldn't stick around to rob you more than once because these were desperate people, and desperate people will kill you. And band together for the the job to make sure it hurts first.

But now we have people like Cuntzilla and certain members of Dilf's family to deal with, and they have different ways of getting what they want.

One of Cuntzilla's methods: offer to do someone a small favor. When he/she accepts, you have them where you want them. Afterwards, you ask them to do you the favor you wanted all along. Lesson learned? Never accept a Cuntzilla's unsolicited offers. Another of her methods: ask for something small, when the person agrees, keep building up until you get what you really want. For example, if you want someone to buy you a car, start by asking for some car mats. Lesson learned? Ask lots of questions before agreeing to anything, and try to make the process more painful for her than it is for you.

Now, Dilf's family is less devious but no less annoying. They say something like, "We should all get together for a family reunion..." then let the suggestion hang in the air until someone volunteers to do something. Then, the suggester makes an elaborate Excel spreadsheet and e-mail tree with every little detail assigned to someone else and considers his/her part of the job "done." Only a small handful of people respond, and wind up picking up the slack for everybody. But, they get no thanks because "we all did it together!" Lesson: don't volunteer, or if you do, be very specific and stick to your original offer no matter what. Another of their tactics, once someone handles an ongoing task (like taking care of Great Grandma) or hosts an annual event (like Christmas or Thanksgiving), simply assume that person will do it for now into perpetuity. Just show up on December 25 without an invitation or go into hiding when Grandma has a doctor's visit. Lesson learned? Switch up your holiday plans early and often. Unfortunately, you can't let Grandma suffer because other people are selfish; there's really nothing to be done about that.

It's taken me a while to figure this out, and by now I'm seen as a mouthy bitch because when someone says, "Let's have a family reunion..." I wait a moment, then say firmly, "Don't look at me. Tell me the date, where to show up and how much potato salad to bring. That's all I'm doing." I don't respond to emails and lists or any other bullshit, unless to type repeatedly, "Potato salad. Potato salad. POTATO SALAD."

Also, I yell at Towel Boy who keeps volunteering his house without his wife's permission. Then, when he realizes his wife has just given birth and may not be up to all that's involved in preparing a home for a huge party, says, "Ubie can come over to help clean..." because he's learned from his uncles how this sort of thing is done; just assign people random tasks! Unfortunately for him, he says this within earshot of me, and I say, "Hell, no. You're the one who volunteers your house for a family reunion without consulting anyone; this is YOUR problem." So, yes, some may call me a bitch, but I've been around this rodeo a few times, and I'm not the clown. And I have been in the past. So don't think I'm just being selfish and mean; Towel Boy has to learn. And he's not going to learn until he gets burned as many times as Dilf and I and his own mother have.

And you know who's nowhere in sight? The distant cousin who came up with this hair-brained "family reunion" idea in the first place. She didn't even bother to make a spreadsheet!

Now, sometimes I volunteer fully knowing I am picking up the slack for others; but I do this with my eyes open; I don't expect life to be fair. But it is my decision, my choice to do it, not because I was tricked into it. This is how I keep my spirit intact instead of having it crushed. And if some con artist wants to call me a bitch or talk behind my back because I didn't fall for his/her bullshit, I really don't care. Frankly, I don't value their opinions, and a real relationship with them didn't exist in the first place.

If they're looking for a doormat, IKEA sells some pretty good ones for cheap, or there's always Target. Can I pick one up for you while I'm there? And drive it over to your house? And put it in just the right spot in front of your door for you? Fuck you.

* If you are male, "asshole" may be used instead.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

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