Do I Look Like An ATM?

J.C. in Little Rock, Arkansas asks:

Dear Tansy,

I have a pretty decent job, and try to manage my money. The people around me know this, and so when they need a loan, they hit me up. Sometimes they pay me back, and sometimes they don’t. If I ask for the money back after a few months, they usually act all offended, and so I just drop it. They seem to think I don’t need the money and that I should just forget about it.

The other thing is that my friends and relatives expect me to help them with different things, like when they move or need repairs on their homes. It’s not that I mind doing this, but when I need help, I usually end up having to pay someone to help me with things…

Do you see that this is going to change any time soon? I was raised to help others, but sometimes this really gets on my nerves, especially when I need help and everyone says they are too busy. My girlfriend says I should stop doing things for people, but I don’t want to be selfish. What would happen if I did cut them off like she says I should?

Psychic Tansy ext. 5289 replies:

Dear J.C.,

I can see that you are a very thoughtful person who wants to help others in life. I think it’s very admirable that you want to do what you can with your time, money and talents.

But, J.C., your girlfriend is right in a certain respect. From what I am seeing, you have many people who are taking advantage of you and your good nature. If you can lend money to those in need, fine. But from what I am getting, most of these people treat you like a human ATM, and have no intention of repaying you. When you allow this to happen, you are depriving them of the opportunity to grow and learn to manage their own lives, as they should. They are not learning respect for others when they act in this manner, and it is up to you not to enable this type of behavior.

Taking for granted that you will help them with moving and home repairs is just thoughtless on their part, as well as disrespectful. Again, helping others is a wonderful thing, but not at the risk of depriving them of learning to handle their own problems. Grownup people know about things like consideration for others and developing their own talents.

I see here that you would benefit by learning to set boundaries on who you help and what you help them with. Do these same people help you when necessary? If not, they are taking advantage. I’m not recommending that everything one does for others needs to be returned equally, but I am saying that in true friendship these friends will want to make an effort to help you with your needs. If they do not, then it is time to re-evaluate the relationship.

I do believe that in the future you will be much happier when you take these words to heart. Allow others to grow and develop in their own lives by coping with their own needs for the majority of the time. You will also learn to say “no” and be more selective in who you so generously help. It’s a good thing to allow people to stand on their own two feet.

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