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Old 10-05-2016, 08:02 AM
6,306 posts, read 5,046,206 times
Reputation: 12810


Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
It wasn't that long ago that American's, both women and men were a pretty capable lot. Farming, the main source of income from the very beginning was something that demanded personal skills and innovation, today we see those two things in short supply. The older American's among us are holdovers from that time wherein neighbors were a reliable resource, they are now too old to reciprocate in any meaningful way but still think of themselves as "independent" without realizing the burden they represent for others.

Just yesterday my 75 yr old widow neighbor (using her chainsaw) was out in the rain cutting up the trunk of a tree she had cut down (yeah, she's tough) days earlier. My wife had tried to dissuade her but she sees these tasks as proof of her independence, I went over to offer some assistance and the two of us finished the job without any consequences, I'm left to wonder though if she does these things out front of her house in order that we will see her and come to her aid. I do respect her will and determination but more often than not I'm feeling that I should offer to help.

I live on a street that has many widowed women and I do appreciate the fact of their independence, as for the OP--I have always maintained a policy of no tool loaning, I simply reply when asked, "I don't loan money or tools", it may sound abrupt but abruptness is called for when it can cut through the normal attempts to have an understanding of your position. Most of the abuse we suffer at the hands of others seems to stem from a desire to not offend, but--when the actions of others (constant borrowing) offends us, we need to set things straight and be prepared to dismiss these people from our lives.
Might be that she really does believe deep down that she can still do these things. And she thinks she is just being nice by letting you help.

Could be a fear of being old or getting old. Strange thing what age can do to you. I tried to help one older lady carry some brush and tree limbs we were clearing for a volunteer project. She practically pushed me out of her way and yelled at me too. I said fine - do whatever you want - she was dead in a few weeks. Bad heart, but she wouldn't listen to her family. She should have been taking it easy.

My other theory (lol) is that many of these older folks were never in a position to have others work for them? So they are not used to "giving orders"?
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:08 AM
Location: pasco washington
75 posts, read 51,519 times
Reputation: 113
yes its sad to see "independent" women do man stuff, quite humorous. I only help someone out if they truly need help.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:12 AM
4,315 posts, read 2,517,376 times
Reputation: 7686
A young couple in our area are on disability and don't have a car .
They walked a mile to my house one day and I asked them in.
Offered them both a cup of coffee.

They needed a ride 3 miles away to a grocery store, so I obliged.

About a week later the doorbell rang again. His first words were " aren't you going to ask us in?" ......followed by....." got any coffee ?"

That is when I knew I had to distance myself quickly from these two !
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post

Anyway, I guess my question is, how do you deal with other seniors who expect you to take care of them, even though you're in basically the same boat as they are?
You just have to stop them in their tracks. Even if that makes you the unpopular one, and hey, it keeps them off your back.

The next time she corners you, be upfront. "Look, I am not going to lend you my saw, or my paint, or do the work for you. I am retired, and I don't work for anyone anymore. Please don't ask me again."

If she starts to talk, interrupt her. "No."


Continue walking and shut the door.

Some people just don't get it unless you're blunt.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:25 AM
16,720 posts, read 14,684,567 times
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Originally Posted by matisse12 View Post
The request for your paint oversteps boundaries, but why wouldn't you want to cut a board for her with your new electric saw? Seems like a simple favor, unless there is more to it than just cutting the board.

Is it because you're afraid that if you do this task for her, she will ask for more favors? That may be true. I don't understand though not wanting to cut a board for a neighbor since you have two saws.

You wouldn't need to lend her your new saw - you could cut it for her.
No. She doesn't want to. What don't people get about this? She could get her own dang saw.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:31 AM
16,720 posts, read 14,684,567 times
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Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
I couldn't imagine keeping a running tab with neighbors, friends, family, etc., on whether I've provided more favors for each of them or whether they've provided more for me.
I don't keep a running tab because I don't ask for favors very often in the first place. I think that's where this comes up.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:42 AM
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,428,989 times
Reputation: 15678
In the specific instance of tools, perhaps something like the following:

"It seems we both have an interest in tools. Why don't we go to Home Depot together to browse the tool sections? Of course I never ever loan out tools to anyone since it ruined a friendship in the past. I just won't lend a tool to anyone ever. But since we're both interested, I'll come along and give you my thoughts about tools you can purchase for yourself."
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:46 AM
Location: Sarasota, FL
2,636 posts, read 1,543,257 times
Reputation: 5005
The thing to remember is that if a relationship with a person is unpleasant because of the person's behavior, and is costing you more than you are comfortable giving, then there is no reason to maintain it, and no reason to feel bad about giving polite refusals until they get the point. If you do not want a person as your friend, then why worry about offending them?

Its fine to help an elderly person, as long as help is given freely and joyfully. But there are people in the world whose life strategy is to get whatever they can get away with from others, and who consider themselves very clever for it. They don't know what gratitude or reciprocation is, and are not likely to ever figure it out. We keep expecting a change in behavior that never occurs, and while we keep giving and waiting we lose our self respect. We act surprised and offended, but the real question is not why are they like this, but why am I like this?
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:59 AM
4,477 posts, read 4,738,767 times
Reputation: 9940
I don't understand... How did this all start to begin with? Where did they get these ideas that you could do these things for them? Did you do a couple of things' for people and then the ball just rolled? This had to have started somewhere and not just out of the blue.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:25 AM
662 posts, read 476,887 times
Reputation: 1690
^That's exactly how it happens. You're happy to help when asked the first few times. But it never stops. So you have to stop it.

And that's hard if the person lives across the street, hall, etc, if you're a nice person who is a giver. I get that some have no problem slamming the door in someone's face. But for most of us, that's not our style.

I don't like the idea of blaming the "giver" here for being a giver. It's the "takers" who are responsible for it, and the resulting animosity and comfortableness. If you're (I mean anyone, not a particular poster here) a person who doesn't care about interpersonal dynamics then you won't "get" why it's such a problem to be a giver when there's a "taker" going into hyper mode.

The OP, I think, cares about maintaining amicable relationships. I did too. But she's where I was before I cut my "taker" out. The balancing act is a difficult dance. And I think single female retiree-"takers" focus on capable single female retiree "givers" because they're seen as an easier target than men. Perhaps it's the "takers" stereotyping of females as caregivers. Not that men don't experience this also. Just that many older female "takers" are more comfortable choosing a capable female target. We're more approachable.

As for becoming a person who initially slams the door when asked for help, I surely don't want to ever become that person. But I won't be a doormat either.
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