Earlier this afternoon, I published a blog post called Finding Out a Friend Was Never a Friend at All. In that (short) post, I shared a (short) text exchange between me and a woman, who I once thought was a friend, who quickly began being horrible and vindictive when I wouldn’t freely use my platform to push hers.
Of course, the responses to that post were extremely varied. Some people said nice things about me. Some people said horrible things about her. Some people said chastising things about me. Some people started arguing with each other. I lost a couple hundred readers.
The (large) debate that ensued was exactly what I expected, if I’m being honest. And, just like I expected, it made me question whether it was the right move to share what I shared.
But, you see, I didn’t just throw that up on the blog the second it happened. That conversation happened a week ago (as you’ll see by the time stamps), and for the past seven days, I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to share it or not.
Eventually, I decided I wanted to share it for three reasons.
First, I have really been hitting a limit lately when it comes to this kind of thing. The more popular my blog seems to get, the more people close and far feel that I need to prove my friendship by helping them push their own stuff. I have had a huge wave of it the past couple months, and it’s making me want to start pushing away from everyone.
This woman’s email was just one example, and an extreme one. I’ve lost dozens of friends since starting this blog when I had to tell them no. I’ve had relatives distance themselves when I wouldn’t use my platform for their ends. I even broke things off with one woman in the past because of it. And so, I felt a need to finally share an example so that others could just kind of pull back a bit and realize how silly the “pressure to be a real friend” is.
The second reason is that my friendship with this woman is a friendship that is not worth fighting for. Did I throw her under the bus by leaving a teeny tiny thumbnail in place? Perhaps. I’ll own that, even though I don’t think it’s big enough that anyone would ever recognize her. But I felt that I had to do it at some point with someone to really demonstrate the extreme that I deal with on a constant basis even in my real friendships (which are worth fighting for).
You see, I get no fewer than two requests from friends (close or distant) each week asking me to help with their very good causes, or their new businesses, or their ___________ you fill in the blank. Sometimes a lot more. And I tell almost all of them no because, let’s face it, if I fill up all of my readers’ newsfeeds every single day with everyone else’s stuff, my readers are going to lose major interest in a hurry.
And so, I decided long ago that I had to keep my page to stuff about me, my son, my best friends, my family, my dating life, my readers, and all the funny, sad, and awesome stuff that happens to us in between. If I’m not personally tied to something, no matter how good a cause it is, I don’t generally share it. And believe me, I’m tied to lots of good, worthwhile things, so there is no shortage there.
Anyway, the final reason I decided to share it was because I have shared with you so many of my ups and downs on this blog. I have shared the good. I have shared the bad. I have shared the sad and the mad and the ugly. And I hope, throughout it all, that I have been real and always shared very real slices of my personal life with you all.
And, unfortunately, this is a very real part of my personal life. It’s a dynamic that I have to deal with almost every day. It’s something that makes blogging truly difficult and I know by now that being real about things is one of the quickest way to change those things.
And I am at a point that I need to change things. On that week of my birthday at the end of May, remember how I told you all I was just having a hard time and things were difficult for me? It was because I had had a giant wave of friends and family members demand so much from me that week and not offer anything in return. The last straw for me was when I went to help my grandma move into her 4th story apartment on my birthday, and a certain relative was just being rude, and I said something like, “hey, I’m here on my birthday, be nice,” and her very literal reply was, “your birthday doesn’t matter.”
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Proud of you for being honest not only with us, but with yourself. Sometimes that is incredibly hard to do. Good for you for paying it forward $4k worth, that is totally awesome of you! You're smart to not cross friendships with your blog, don't let anyone ever tell you differently. Glad to see you have worked some things out in your life and good luck on future endeavors.
I just read this.
Your friend...not a friend. Friendship is a 2 way street and if she's just using you for a platform, then that's not friendship.
I've had to cut "friends" out that didn't realize that friendship is two ways. It's hard.
And the fact that you sent money out to random people...that's just awesome. But the fact that not many even thanked you? NOT awesome. And the person that didn't refund the mistakenly given $100? LAME!
How dare they keep money that was given in error!
Am so sorry that this happened. It's your blog, write what ever you want, post whatever you want. As for the relative that didn't get that it was your birthday, it goes to their character. As does the thankless people who you shared your kindness with the $100.00. I had a friend that I forwarded your post to that day, who seriously could have used that $, just to cover her rent for this month (she is behind in all her bills in her apartment, and with no job she is worried about the 4 others depending on her) Her response to me was thank you, but there are others out there that need it worse, and I don't want to take that from someone else. It amazes me how others can be so thankless for life's little blessings. I hope it doesn't stop you from continuing to believe in people, continuing to have faith that there are deserving and others find a way to pay it forward for your acts of kindness.
Thank you for sharing.
Reading your post, and having dealt with the same (friends who are not really friends) I got so heated. Especially the part where you spoke about sending money to people, many of whom never thanked you, and one who even refused to send back the extra. That's just rude.
It's nice to see your faith in the good of all people, but it seems like there are less and less good folks out there. The sad thing is, it seems as though most people are only in it to get what they want, regardless of who they may hurt in the process.
I see so many that need help, people and animals alike, and I get so sad and frustrated because I want to help, but I'm in not in a place to be capable of helping anyone in a financial sense. So many are so selfish, but that could just mean I am a horrible judge of character and I tend to befriend the wrong people. I wish I had as much money as some people do, because I would love to take that money to help others.
I see so many who CAN help others, and don't. Even family members. They say you shouldn't lend money to family and friends, which I can understand; money tends to cause quite a bit of bad blood between people, but it's really not important. When I was making a bit more than I make now, I loaned and gave quite a bit of money to friends, knowing that I would probably never see it again.
Every day I see people spending money on frivolous BS, and I think, if I had that much money, I could buy a ton of land and start up an animal sanctuary, which is basically my dream. I would love to find someone who works hard and doesn't really make that much, regardless of how many jobs they have or how hard they work (like me) who can't afford to pay off their debt or buy a house, and buy them a house. Or pay off some of their bills, just so they can enjoy life a little more, and not have to stress and worry as much.
If everyone in the world helped out others where they could, just because they can, the world would be in much better shape. Instead of working together toward common goals, we are competitive and tear others down to get further up the ladder, and that's just sad.
I'm sorry for the rant, but seeing more and more examples of people who tromp all over others to get what they want, or who use others to their own ends, and then toss them aside when they don't get what they want just pisses me off. But from what I've seen, it's those of us who know what it's like to have nothing, that are more willing to give.
I think that you are a pretty amazing person, and props to you for paying it forward on a regular basis. We could only hope to have more people like you in the world!
Sorry whomever got extra money didn't refund it; I'd like to think that they paid it forward to someone else in need but somehow I doubt it.
Dude - it's your blog. Write whatever the heck you want to write about. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head and making them read any of your posts. When you come across anything nasty or unpleasant, delete it and move on. Life is too short to give the bad ones even the slightest mention. I much prefer reading your posts about such things as people being good and Noah being adorable. I think it's safe to say most of your readers would agree. :o)
I'm so happy to see you taking care of yourself and setting appropriate boundaries. No one should feel entitled to your money, time, and happiness except your kiddo. Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing a window into your life; your posts have reminded me often that it's worthwhile to express the subtle, day-to-day happenings. They remind me to be a more loving and generous person.
I've just recently been introduced to you and have been reading your past blogs like crazy so I can get caught up. I did read this 2 part blog though and felt crushed for you for receiving such a nasty and immature response. From an adult. I certainly didn't feel like you were in the wrong. You have not lost a new fan in me. I think you're pretty amazing! Shame on the people for not thanking you for the generous gift you sent. I'd like to hope they'll pay it forward. Happy Belated Birthday!
Hi. Just started reading your blog. I'm so sorry you are having a difficult time. Happy Belated Birthday! You are a wonderful and generous person!
I've been following your blog for quite sometime and this is the first time I've commented and I only want to say thank you, for allowing me to realize that it's okay to have a "me" moment and realize that everyone isn't in it for the good of you and others and that there are evil and bad people out there that you've got to find and move on from to find that circle of good people that make you a better person.
Way after the fact, I know, but I want to tell you some things: That relative that told you that your birthday doesn't matter - to them I say "his birthday doesn't matter to you, so, therefore, your opinion shouldn't matter to him"... what I mean is, they don't deserve to have their opinions or feelings matter to you if that is the way they feel (and I am sorry you had to hear such a mean thing from someone that should care on your birthday) Those people that accepted such a generous gift without saying "thank you" or even "thanks" should really take a long, hard look in the mirror... something is missing. To the one that accepted the mistake without sending it back? Maybe they really needed it (but should have explained it). If I were there on your birthday, I would have given you a big ol' hug, and a cupcake with a candle... even would sing you a little song! Plus, I would definitely say a giant "thank you, you are awesome!" if you sent me money. But, as difficult as my journey has been and is, I am in a good place.
Sometimes, You have to think more about yourself than others. It's probably something that you should do more often.
You ARE a good person.
I've learned in my 52 yrs I give and do and people are lazy and don't give back or care. They don't have any eticate anymore, no one sends thank you's or even says it!!! So don't set your self up for this!!! People are takers!!!!
This was a wonderful, well thought out letter to let these knuckleheads know how ridiculous they are. You get a Very Happy Birthday from me!
It is what it is. If she wasn't comfortable with it being out in public, she shouldn't have said (typed) it. As for all the ingrates on your birthday and about the $100, that just sucks. You write about whatever you want. Isn't that the point of it being YOUR blog?
You're right Dan, we read the blog for you and your tales. Not for advertising. (I know you need some advertising to make money...) Keep bringing the great stuff!
I think it was fine that you shared it. :) Even necessary for your own sake. It can be good to get validation from others. Dropping that person (and others like her) from your life is perfectly acceptable. An unfortunate side affect of becoming well known is that people are going to want to use you to their own ends. They'll want to be 'friends' with you because they will have something to gain from it. They won't really care about YOU, they will care about the advantages being linked to you can give them.
I think giving away the money as a show of gratitude was a good move on your part. I hope those who received the money benefit from it. Unfortunate that so few thanked you for it. That's a very simple nicety that isn't that difficult to pull off. It's important to be grateful for things and not take such gifts for granted.
Surround yourself with positive, genuine people to the best of your abilities. Distance, if not entirely rid yourself, of the negative users (see what I did thar? hehe). You don't need the latter mucking up your life and the former are beneficial to all involved. :)
You sent 40 people $100 and only 7 of them said than you? What assholes! That *would* put a damper on my thinking people are good. If you can't even be bothered to say thank you when a complete strangers gives you money from their own pocket that you did absolutely nothing to earn or deserve, then it makes me wonder what kind of a person your are in the little moments of your life. I hope those people that didn't say thank you, and ESPECIALLY the person who wouldn't give you back the extra money feel like terrible people, because they should. :(
I am still simply amazed at how many people suffer from "tunnel vision". They have their own world view of how people treat them or react to them, and frankly that is all they care about. I feel that the true root of evil is selfishness. If you research crimes or the bad things that happen daily in the world, they mostly occur because that person wanted something immediately (be it a thing, an event or action) screw the consequences. These people in your life want their action(promotion of their cause) to happen by you and when it doesn't, you're "wrong" and they have bad intentions for you. Good for you Dan, stick to your guns and everyone else can blow it out their nether regions. : ) P.s. your bday mattered(s) immensely, especially to those of us who enjoy your blog and I hope you still enjoyed it even tho someone got all butt hurt and said that cruel thing to you.
<3 ... sending you a big hug and a mug of chamomile tea ... you're a great man, Dan, don't let them get you down.
I gotta say that desperation drives people to very dark places. It motivates evil and clouds the bright light of truth. I am sorry for you struggle, but there are good people out there, promise!!
It's your blog, yanno. You get to write what you want. And your family member that said your birthday doesn't matter frankly just blows chunks. I'd feel hurt too.
Oh, wow. I'm not much of a commenter (there's always so many!) but I couldn't read this and not say how sorry I am that this was your experience. I was personally so moved by your effort to pay it forward. I remember being at that place in my life, needing help and getting it, and how it made all the difference. To do that for someone else is amazing and beautiful and, in fact, motivated me to donate generously when an old friend wanted to go home to his dying father but didn't have the funds to get there.
So, Dan, maybe the "paying it forward" isn't about the people who received the money. Maybe it's about all of the rest of us who invisibly went into our next days with your intentions on our minds, and how that inspired us to be better and give more, in so many more places than just 40. That whole "ripples in the pond" thing, you know?
As for the friends and family, I've got no words. Everyone is deserving of consideration and kindness, even after they get successful. Funny how people forget that.
We all have days, weeks, months, sometimes years like that. I am proud of you for putting your feelings out there and using this blog as therapy. You are such an amazing guy and I hope/pray that because of that post your friends (close or distant) get the hint and back off. This is YOUR BLOG! If they want to have a place to push their stuff, they can start their own blog, earn as many readers as you have and then promote whatever it is they want. Keep being the rock star we all know and love!
My Best Friend posted this quote from this post on my FB page yesterday:
"Because the truth is, it gets exhausting trying to always believe in the goodness of others. And sometimes I get worn out and too tired and I need to make things about me for a minute or I’ll go crazy."
She said that it reminded her of herself and she shared it with me because she feels that I have perfected the art of balancing my loved ones needs with my own, and I don't allow others, no matter how important they are to me, to take away any piece of who I am. I am loving and caring and giving, but not to the extent that it drains me. I take care of me first, in the least selfish way possible. I am flattered to know that my best friend wishes to be more like me in this aspect. But the truth is, it has taken me a very LONG time and A LOT of HARD work and self-evaluation to find this balance. And it is also equally as difficult to maintain it...it is an ongoing process. I think you are definitely on the right track. You're getting WAY better @ recognizing who is an unconditional friend and who is only in it for what they can get out of it! Kudos to you! Keep it up, buddy!
Dan - I feel like we would be really great friends if we ever had the chance to meet. You share all the same values that I treasure in a friend/in a person. I don't have a lot of friends....but the friends I do have are GREAT ones, just the best kind of people. And I'm ok with not being popular knowing that I can turn to one of my few close friends when I need them and know that they'll drop anything to help pick me up. Don't worry about the people who don't understand what it means to be a good friend - even though it sucks to go through what you're going through you always end up better off. The people who matter will always be there <3
Every one goes through a rough patch. I am in the midst of one where there seems to be no end in sight. I enjoy reading your blog very, very much. I introduced my mom to it, as well as my husband. We LOVE to keep up with your posts. The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, the cynical; you name it, we enjoy them. And as odd as this is coming from a stranger, if you feel you need someone to just listen, I can do that. Sometimes it's nice having someone say that and mean it, especially when they require nothing in return.
I will admit that I was one of your readers that left. I usually seriously enjoy your blogs, but I don't think you honestly understand how your actions affect others. I did not leave you for what you did, but for the response of your readers! I am having a really rough time right now and all that 'hate' yesterday got to me. I saw no purpose for it. THEY weren't the one's this happened to, however, they were ready to lynch this woman. Even tho I left your site, my e-mail is still being blown up with hate from that post. ( I have cancer and have no idea how much time I have left on this earth, I don't want it filled up with hate mail.) Any idea how to get you off my e-mail?
If other people need to broadcast their needs, they can. They can start a blog. They can be responsible for themselves. You, Dan, do not have to be their tool. If they want to say something then they ought to say it, not be passive aggressive and expect someone else to stand up for them when they won't even taken a stand themselves. Your pay it forward idea gave me an idea. I had a birthday last week. So I have been picking one random act of kindness to do every day to celebrate my milestone. And you are correct, I'm doing it for me. It makes me feel terrific. I bought someone's breakfast in the Drive thru at McDonald's, I put an anonymous paid for bouquet in an elde lady's grocery cart while she was on the way out with a sticky note, for you today: Happy Day. I dropped off cat and dog food at the local shelter. I bought a family dessert at the local yogurt place by arranging with the clerk ahead of time. I taped a dollar bill to the pop machine with a note: Have one on me. It's been great fun to come up with ideas, and I get a kick out of watching people's faces sudden change, and a smile erupt. Keep it up.
Seriously, it's a giant waste of energy focusing on the negative. You will get rewarded as such in a different way and it'll catch you by surprise.
Just be thankful you did a nice thing instead of focusing on what you DIDN'T get. I know it's bad manners on their part, but that shouldn't matter. I don't expect a thing when I do something nice for another. I hope they pay it forward, though.
Hypothetically speaking, maybe some of the recipients of your money do not feel comfortable thanking you publicly. Maybe they are working 6o hrs a week. Maybe they no longer have internet access... or electricity... just because they did not personally thank you, that does not mean they are all ungrateful. Its a great thing you did, Dan.
I read this.. and I wanted to send lots of hugs for you. I know how those weeks go. I've been through them. It's harder when you don't have the money to do what you want. I still plan to donate to Apopo: Hero Rats when we are free of our monetary constraints.
I want to thank you though, for sharing honestly, truthfully, without lies or additions. Your posts bring great joy, and those that don't, incite great thought.
I think you were right to share that post. Friends should never act like that. I've had friends do that. I've had a friend go so far as to blame me for her marriage falling apart (she has cheated on her husband several times, and not with me).
I don't ask friends for help with monetary issues unless we are so stuck that we absolutely can't afford not to. I have friends get frustrated at me for not asking for help, for not asking them to help with food or bills..
I've told them that every time I get money involved with a friendship, the friendship fails. It's sad, but it is true. Which means.. that it isn't a true friendship.
Learning who your true friends are, that is a difficult, and often painful process.. For that, I send you hugs. *hugs*
Yknow, I suddenly thought "What kind of thing could I give Dan to say happy birthday and let him know that people aren't awful, that someone thinks of him kindly?" And suddenly I had it: when I get paid on Friday, I'm going to donate $20 to your site and $20 to someone who needs it, somehow. Whether it's someone at the gas station, or if I get breakfast and pay for however many people behind me, or if I give it to the food bank, it'll be in honor of your birthday. I don't know if there's anything you need or that would cheer you up, but I'm betting giving to someone here in your name will be just as good.
Happy belated birthday, Dan! Everyone deserves boundaries in their life, and everyone deserves days that are All About Them. :)
Greetings. Instead of posting on this single post I want to say something more general. I love your blog: your honesty, your openness, and your humor. You have challenged me to think differently and to dig down to WHY I think the way I do. My small group has had some wonderful conversations because of posts you put up. I would not have chosen some of those topics, but I'm also glad we had them. Thank you. Thank you for being you and for sharing "you" with us. I'm glad you do.
Hi S.D.L: I hope you get to read this... My boyfriends comments to me all the time how I need to stop looking for the good in people because, USUALLY, people are always out for Number #1. You did a WONDERFUL, GENUINE, HEARTFELT good deed by sending your personal money to 40 people. That isn't necessarily the only thing we should take away from this situation. SDL, people will continually let you down and disappoint you. It's hard to keep faith in our humanity when there seems to be negativity coming back at us. I fight with myself everyday about the way I perceive the world- just from driving in traffic and having to be "on my toes" every second of my 40 minute commute (one way) because almost every other drive is on their phone, passing on the right (ie: wrong side of the road), speeding, going too slow, driving in the middle of the highway, etc. Sometimes, it is completely natural to just feel the need to get away from it all and away from the world. I hope, for the good of my neighbors that walk this Earth along side me, that we can start believing in each other again. That we can start to see the good in people and that people really start to let the good inside them show! It is a sad fact that "one good turn deserves another" is no longer the motto we live by. Instead, we are forced with the cold, hard truth that "it's a dog eat dog world" ... simply... is. I wish you kindness and generosity. I hope your readers and followers offer you sympathy and reassurance. I also hope that those 34+ people that you sent money to will feel inclined to respond and acknowledge your good deed and offer you a simple, "thank you." You are a wonderful, funny, uplifting, and anticipated part of my day. I love your stories and your inner voice that shines through the words you write. Keep at it. Keep your head held high. Keep your heart on your sleeve- where everyone hould be wearing there's, and keep your faith: people tend to surprise you when you least expect it. With love, -Katie.
I think it's beyond rude that your gift to those people was not acknowledged or thanked! We are fundraising for my disabled son and the very minute I open a card, etc I write a thank you and address it. You had no obligation to do any of that or to choose them, etc and if I were you I'd probably never do it again! And to the person who wouldn't refund the extra $100? You're a jerk!
That's exactly how I think! I have loaned money to people in the past with the expectation that I was not going to get it back. Not because I think people are untrustworthy or flaky or whatever you want to call it, but because if they don't have the money at the time of the loan chances are they won't have the money later. If I do get paid back it's a bonus in my eyes! If I needed that money then they did I wouldn't have loaned it in the first place.
The gun comment made me laugh for this reason: It is my true belief is that you always have a choice in life. Even if someone IS pointing a gun to your head you still have a choice.
Exactly! One of my many mottos: "I am number 1 in my own life (until I have kids). Nobody else is going to look out for me. I have to look out for me."
@JaimieM I agree with your comment about the paying it forward not being about the 40 recipients. I often pay for the person behind my in the starbucks drive through, and my husband always asks me why since they obviously don't *need* their expensive coffee paid for them. I always tell him that it's not about them. It's about the person that they will then do something nice for (be it the person behind them, or the old lady they help carry groceries for, etc) and growing a sense of caring and kindness for others.
@JerrieHayleyKlenk I don't know how to get off the general mailing list (the one that tells you what was posted on the blog that day), but if you're talking about the notifications for individual posts (the ones that are like "Someone posted a new comment on this post you replied to!"), there should be a link to unfollow the post at the end of the notification.
@JerrieHayleyKlenk I think you have hit on a very important point. Why must people hate and argue? There is no reason. I don't need to be "right" so bad that I need to argue or attack anyone else.
@Katie I kind of think you're both right. Most people ARE out for #1. That's why it's so special and commendable when someone does something generous out of the goodness of their heart.
@5mom gratitude is the engine to manifestation!!!
@5mom I know how you feel!! I was astonished that the recipients did not thank. I would have thanked him and probably made him a card and a gift too... When someone hands out gifts, I thank them, and a gift as big as that would have helped us cope with our dog's surgery and car repairs!!
@Rebecca Brown @JaimieM Yes! Only I do that at Tim Horton's, not Starbucks. :) My husband does it, too, so he doesn't give me a hard time about it, LOL. We also like to go to diners for just dessert, and then leave big tips. The money you pass to someone, or save them, will be spent quickly, but the feeling it gives them will stick and spread... Like spilled honey, but without the flies.