Voluntary, Even When It’s Frustrating

It’s frustrating to know how to help someone, but not be allowed to help.

Saturday I went to a relative’s house to see what was wrong with her dishwasher. I’m pretty sure I found the problem and I offered to order the part and install it. I’m not a great handyman, but it wouldn’t have been stretching me beyond my competence level to replace that part. The problem is, I don’t have a good way to be certain the part is defective– although through a process of elimination I’m about as sure as I can be.

The replacement part was under $30, so to me it seemed like a good gamble. But she decided against it.

Then I went to check out her toilet that she said had broken. A very simple fix. But she didn’t want me to, saying her improvised “fix” was good enough for now. Even though she admitted it would quickly rust and fail.

If she hadn’t been hovering I would have just quietly fixed it anyway.

She gave me a little money for my time– an hour or so– and that was that.

In the long run, she’ll probably hire someone to fix her dishwasher for many times what it would have cost to have me do it.

And, I’ll probably end up going back to fix her toilet later– when I could have just done it while I was looking at the problem.

But I won’t impose. All human interactions should be voluntary, even if I believe I know better.

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