I Stopped Helping People and You Should Too
“My mother taught me never to give unsolicited advice nor try to help anyone unless they ask you for it. I always thought that maybe she was just cold. As I get older, I have started to realize that she was right. My mother is one of the kindest people in my life.” These are the words of CamMi Pham, a successful blogger who set down 3 rules of helping people. We here at LikeAble are going to start following these wise tips right away.
1. Stop helping people who don’t deserve it.
Start-up founders often ask me for advice. I know that running a start-up is hard work — I run one myself. However, I have stopped sharing my knowledge for free. Previously, people would constantly ask me out for a coffee just to “pick my brain.” But those who have a few million dollars raised from venture capital funds lying in their bank accounts shouldn’t be allowed to use my expertise for free, especially if they didn’t even bother paying for my tea. It’s not acceptable!
They don’t understand that I need money to feed my family and pay my bills. They don’t realize that I have to meet deadlines at work. It doesn’t even cross their minds that in order to compensate for the time spent for them, I would have to work until 2 am the next day.
If they really think that my time isn’t worth anything, then I don’t have time for them!
If people don’t care about you, don’t help them. They don’t deserve your help.
People will always try to exploit you if you allow them to. You don’t have time to help everyone. Help only those people who really deserve it. And remember: before you can help others, you need to help yourself!
2. Stop helping people who do not appreciate your help.
My greatest weakness is that I like to help people. I help people, no matter if they asked for it or not. But you never know when this way of thinking might hurt you.
One of my former clients wasn’t doing well. My team spent several days analyzing all the data to figure out what the problem was. That wasn’t actually part of our job, so we didn’t bill the client. As a result, we found some serious flaws in their business model and strategy. But as soon as we showed the customer our findings, they fired us on the spot.
We did that analysis out of compassion for the client. But we told them what they didn’t want to hear and ended up making our client hate us for giving our professional opinion.
The easiest way to turn your friend into an enemy is to offer them advice they don’t want to hear.
If I offer someone my help, I actually want to help. But very often, people are not ready to accept my help. It’s okay.
3. Stop helping people unless you’re 100% sure that you’ll cope with the task.
A few years ago, my parents were out of the country and asked me to look after their house. I agreed, although I had no idea how to water the plants. So some of the flowers were watered too much and others were given too little water. By the time my parents returned, all the houseplants had died. If they hadn’t asked me for help, someone who is good at housekeeping would have done it, and my dad’s flowers would have been alive. Ever since, my parents have never let me touch the plants again.
If you don’t have the skills or time to help someone, you will do more harm than good to them.
Offering help when you are not sure that you’ll cope with the job is not a good decision. By doing so, you will only deprive people of the opportunity to find a better candidate. It may sound strange, but your kindness can hurt people sometimes. One of the easiest ways to destroy a relationship with someone is to offer them help that you can’t deliver.