I like helping people. Normally, that is a commendable quality. However, it can also be a bad thing if you place the needs of others consistently above your own.
You can’t always save people. Or at least, you shouldn’t try. It’s such a large expense of energy, and usually fruitless. You cannot change a person without this person also making the decision to change.
I say these things, but I catch myself in these traps all the time. I work so hard to try and make myself useful to others, I often lose myself in the process.
Let’s go back to my early high school years. There was a boy. This boy was in a lot of trouble. He did bad things, knew shady people… He felt like he could confide in me, and that I could help him change his life around. I felt ecstatic that I actually meant something to someone, even though I was just his emotional punching bag. Only now, 4 years later, am I able to even see this and understand.
Even though I am a much healthier individual now, I still get stuck in these traps sometimes.
The current situation is much different however. I have a friend. He is very handsome, talented, and a total sweetheart. I had no idea that he was straight until he told me. Previously I had thought, “If this guy was straight, I’d be all over that.” One of my gal friends was telling me that she went on a date with him unknowingly (she also thought he was gay). When he tried to kiss her, things got awkward.
I wanted to ask him out for coffee or lunch.
I’m not sure what my feelings are. Do I want to know him more as a friend or a romantic partner? Am I compelled to do this just because of the story I heard? He’s such a good guy, I wish more people would know that he is straight. I’m sure it gives him a lot of grief that people perceive him to be gay when he’s not.
I want to help him.
I need to stop falling in this trap all the time. I need to be able to discern between the love you feel for someone you’re attracted to, versus the love you feel from someone who is grateful for you.
It wouldn’t be good for either me or him if I’m just trying to do him a “favor”.
Readers, do you ever have these kind of problems? How do you go about solving them?