Tag Archives: humanity

Being a Good Person vs. Being Too Good

Is there such a thing as being too good of a person? I never would have believed it, but it might be possible, at least insofar as societal concepts go. Most people contribute something to the world, and try to leave things better than they found them. Some people though give everything to help other people.

I don’t know when or how it started, nor why, but I’ve always had a feeling that I owe it to the world to do the most good I can. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a saint, nor am I saying I should be (though I might revisit that in the event the current Pope ever gets sainted). I’ve got plenty of issues and faults, and blame them on what you or I might like, they’re still within my control. I’m just saying that I’ve tried, in particular in the last few years, to do the right thing wherever possible, to “take care of my people,” as my grandfather might have said.

(Wait – what’s this business about the Pope? Isn’t this a Jewish site? Yes, it is, more or less, but I have some strong feelings as a recovering Cathoholic. [sic])

For a very long time, I have had a habit of sort of spreading my luck (I won’t say wealth, as I have none of that) around to those who have less. This has been doubly so within the trans community since I’ve been involved there, most of our people in the group have low to no income, and have difficulty improving their chances due to discrimination and transphobia. Be it a few bucks for a Metrocard or bus, a ride somewhere, a meal, help moving from one transient home to another, or even occasionally a computer as I happen to have a spare one, I’ve done what I can. In turn, I’ve been blessed with people so wonderful that they will often share their last $20 with me on the times when I’ve been low on money.

This is by no means my way of extolling my generosity or virtues, I don’t see it as that anyway. This is more about peoples’ reactions to this behavior, and how some have taken to treating me in response.

I have noticed an increasingly negative response to my desire to do the buying when I’m able, or offer to go out of my way, or whatever it is that I’m able to do to help. The first time it was really said out loud to me was a date last year who told me straight up (AFTER we’d had several dates and I’d paid for all of them) that she felt like I was “trying to buy” her. In my opinion, it’s one thing to buy someone things and then expect more from them, and quite another to simply treat them and let them make the next decisions. Certainly to go so far as accepting someone else’s generosity, regardless of motive, and then accuse them of having an ulterior motive after having accepted it all is more than a little ridiculous.

Moreover, it strikes me that after a time, some people come to just expect this, that someone would be a never ending fountain of wishes. On more than one occasion, the one time I am unable to help someone, people act as though I’m their ‘tagalong’ friend who always takes but never gives. When this happened almost ten years ago in a group of myself and two other friends, the third friend had to point out how ridiculous it was when the other friend suddenly got upset that I asked him to loan┬áme money for lunch that day. The third friend had to remind the other that I had paid for most of his lunches back in school, and he got so indignant that I was daring to ask him for a favor, as if I’d always borrowed his last dollar and never once repaid him.

I’m not looking for reassurances that I’m a really great or special person, nor do I want supporting or countering evidence from people on this post. I just wanted to vent about being made to feel like I’m somehow a terrible person for behavior I can’t even explain.