Bad Girl, Good Business

The 100 Years Club Installment #16: The Helpful Month & The 12 Behaviors You’ll See in June

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As May ends, I re-read my “help” series and think about how writing it may have helped me. (I sure hope it helped you too!)

I wrote about:

I went through a dark patch during the month and realized that part of what fed into my nasty mood was a feeling that I was helping others without getting enough for myself in return.

I learned from that to not “over-give” unless I want to. I also learned to choose the people I interact with VERY carefully to avoid my tendency to be a fleshy treat for energy vampires.

We all have different tendencies within us. If we feel taken advantage of, we sometimes shut down and don’t help anyone. Or, we are so busy helping that we don’t spend enough time or energy on self-help.

When we offer to give help, we may encounter these types. Of course, we have all those people living inside us sometimes. It’s more about behaviors than it is about life-long personalities.

  1. The open, curious, and grateful. They welcome our help with open arms, and even if they don’t follow our advice, they listen and thank us.
  2. The “yes-butters.” No matter what you suggest, they have a reason it won’t work. It’s exhausting.
  3. The martyrs and whiners. They don’t want your help. They want to roll around in their misery. Avoid that.
  4. The brain pickers. They ask for help constantly. You can’t have a conversation without at least one ask. If you love helping (or you’re being compensated in some way for your brain and heart), go for it! If you need to help yourself (or just want to chill), this behavior can exhaust you and leave you feeling empty.
  5. The “Me Do Its.” Toddlers often use that phrase when parents offer help. It’s cute, but the DIY mentality is sometimes similar to the martyr’s. You may get called in to clean up messes (especially in business) when a friend, colleague, or client refuses help and then tries to perform their own brain surgery (an extreme example). Whether you should actually help at that point depends on the relationship, the size of the mess, and your mood.
  6. The cynics and control freaks. A variation of #4, they believe that they are the smartest person in the room and that any help you offer is useless. They can be toxic.

Now, look at the people you have in your life and work circle and who is REALLY helping you. Like all of us, you may have your “ride or die” friends and associates who show up when you need them and improve your life or work.

  1. The anything you needers. And you perform the same role for them. You don’t need to keep score. For example, I have one friend I’ve known for 45 years. No matter the question or issue, we’re there for each other.
  2. The in-yo-facers and know-it-alls. They are constantly offering up opinions and advice. Before you offer advice, checking in that it’s really wanted/needed may be a good strategy.
  3. The standers and starers. These people don’t want to get involved — like watching a car accident and taking pics rather than calling 911. They sometimes even claim credit for the rescue just based on the mere fact that they showed up.
  4. The doormats. You may be taking advantage of these people. They give their help generously and don’t ask for anything in return. Check in often to make sure you can’t do something for them.
  5. The tit-for-tatters. They seem to have a secret spreadsheet somewhere to keep score of what you’ve done for each other. The antithesis of #1, they won’t help without assurance they’ll get something in return. Obviously, in business, that doesn’t work. People who expect a lot without paying for it are brain-pickers.
  6. The ungrateful. “What have you done for me lately” is their mantra. And, no matter how much you do, it’s never enough.

But I realized in that dark time during May that I was giving more than I was getting (and needing). So, in June, I will:

  • Fill my own tank before offering to fuel others’.
  • Help those who want and need my help. Take on only clients and friends who are grateful and respectful.
  • Ask for help when needed, but ask the right people at the right time.
  • Choose my social and business activities REALLY wisely; surround myself with the people who will show up when I need help and offer to feed my soul, my head, and my wallet.
  • Continue to be open when meeting new people but quickly move on if I get a bad vibe or feel used and unappreciated. If the relationship is worth saving, I’ll have a tough convo.
  • Set better boundaries. In fact, June’s theme is “work and play” and how we can integrate both of them to live richer and happier lives.

A good exercise is to make a list (mental or on screen or paper) of what YOU need next month, who can help you, and when. Sometimes you may have the right people in your life, but they’re dealing with their own needs.

This humanistic version of a business “project plan” will give you the perspectives and resources you may need to improve your life, work, and mental health!

Now, I need a second cup of coffee…and no one can help me with that except Mr. Keurig. So, until June….

And still more helpful stuff…

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred A more academic guide to helping styles
BGGB_ShakingHands When someone is taking advantage, here’s what you can do
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred Unhelpful thinking styles
BGGB_Pointer The positive side of AI. How automation will help us





One Comment

  1. Help, boundaries, and all these types can be a lot. In your May to June transition, I “offer” this lesson I recently learned: serve from the saucer. Imagine the cup in the saucer… it must be full, tilt it and what pours into the saucer is what you have available to give.


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