There are few things I dislike more than someone wasting my time.
Oftentimes, I can avoid this. I’m really picky with my time and energy and I’m getting better at distancing myself from things that don’t vibe with me. I used to feel horrible, though. If a friend asked me to do something, I would usually do it unconditionally, no questions asked. I developed some shitty friendships because of this behaviour, but it is what it is. I can’t say things should have been different because then I wouldn’t have matured the way I have.
I think, though, that a part of me is still always willing to be that unconditional support for other people. Always wanting to say yes for fear of not being cool or cooperative. It tricks me into feeling as though I’ve gained a special place with others, when in reality, I’m making myself vulnerable, for whatever reason, with little hope of gaining anything in return. Not to say that I only hope to gain from others, but I mean, at the end of the day, if I’m not bettering myself through my interactions with you, and vice versa, then what’s the point?
With that said, what I dislike about being that unconditional support for another person is that sometimes it leads to me wasting a chunk of my time and energy. The other person has rarely seen the value in my efforts, and because of that, I feel not only burned, but rejected. It’s probably one of many, many reasons why I’m so bad at opening up to people. Because when I do, this shit happens over and over again.
A milder example would be offering advice to a friend that they don’t take.
A larger example would be changing careers because of a friend because I don’t know it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’m going with the larger example, though both are true. The larger example is what’s been really fucking me up lately. It is what I feel has been the biggest waste of my time in recent years.
Sidenote: Do you ever feel like you’ve wasted so much time that you can’t get back? And then you’re sad because why did you do all those things that amounted to nothing? And you try to tell yourself that by getting it out of your system, you’re free now, energetically and practically, to pursue what you’ve always been meant to pursue? I feel that way and I try not to, but it’s gnawing at me and I needed to write it out.
In any case: the larger example.
I started a company with a few friends about a year ago. It was a casual idea that sort of sprung into action when I lost my job. To be honest, everything was in place for us to do really well. Our startup costs were low, we seemed to have prospective clients, and we agreed on the overall direction and how things should go.
But what started as a concrete idea really fell apart rather quickly. The friend who had urged me to join them couldn’t escape the reality of their 9-5 and a bulk of the work was left with me. I clung to promises that by December or by February, they’d quit and we’d all go full-time. As it happened, another friend had enrolled in a program for something they’d always wanted to do. That’s cool — I’d never get in the way of someone’s dreams — but it left me a bit confused because I swore we’d all planned to stick in this together. I kept going and did a lot of admin stuff and searching for clients because I believed we still had a plan. There’s no way they would’ve asked me to join them and just flake, right? That couldn’t happen.
Well, finding clients was ten times more difficult than I thought it would be, and during that time, I began to even question why the fuck I was in this profession. I was never 100% anyway, and now being in this company meant I was stuck. I had no idea what I was doing. I had convinced myself I was a business person (when I’m reeeeeally not) and had been convinced in part by these friends, feeling as though we’d all have each other’s backs for the long haul. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Other friends and other family even noticed that it looked as if I was doing a lot of work by myself (understandably so at the time, because I was the only one not working full-time), but I brushed it off because, yeah, it seemed that way, but once things picked up, we’d split the work and everything would be cool.
Things never really did pick up. As time went on, I became less motivated seeing the lack of motivation from everyone else. The few prospective clients we thought we had were deadass just too cheap to pay, and it left us in an awkward spot. Everyone else was planning their futures, so why should I stick around in a situation that I wasn’t even 100% sure on anymore AND that I didn’t really want to do long-term? It didn’t make any sense.
This is one reason why I’m rerouting, sticking with writing, and finally (finally!) applying for my MA later this year. It was an interesting experience to say the very least, but I can’t plan my life around other people anymore. If someone is nice enough to include me in something, that’s very gracious and I appreciate it. However! I don’t have to accept every invitation. Not every invitation is for me, anyway, no matter the intentions of the asker. I can’t put others at fault, though, because really, I made the decision to say yes.
However ! Regardless of what I accept or not, the only thing I ever ask, really, whether you’re a good or a mediocre friend, is to be mindful and respectful of my time when you come to me with any sort of anything. I would do the same for each of my friends. In fact, that’s probably the only friendship-related thing I’m good at! Please don’t ask me to do something if you know you’re not serious (you know me, I’m either 0 or 100 — there literally has never been and will never be an in-between!). Please don’t ask of my mind and spirit if you’re not willing to deal with the consequences. Please be understanding of the fact that it’s difficult for me to open up in the first place. Please don’t waste my fucking time.