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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rigz

The line between kindness and enabling and how to not screw it up

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

How to not enable people

I’ve recently learnt that the only way to deal with some people is to be direct. I used to think that being never-endingly 'nice' was the answer, but what I’m experiencing is, I guess, what you could call a massive loss of faith in humanity? And as a result, I've realised that some people need your honestly more than your niceness.

Can we say that if niceness is actually just fear of being seen as 'mean', it's actually just weakness?

I’m really, really trying not to let the current global crisis rattle me, but I just can’t deny what I’m seeing in people.

I've recently had this weird experience with a woman who (I actually don't think I've ever met???) decided one day that I owed her a personal friendship because she followed me on Facebook. She kind of...latched onto me, completely unprovoked, and then became slightly hostile towards me because I wouldn't give her the attention she felt she deserved...for no reason!

And so what did I do? I tried to be 'nice', because honestly I feel bad for people when I really, really shouldn't.

God damn. People are just so complicated! People act like idiots for heaps of different reasons, and I get it; I can have empathy for that. But you know, when people are in that state, they are not very receptive to kindness, funnily enough.

When people are being weak and refusing to deal with their emotional problems like an adult, they are actually quite toxic and dangerous to the wellbeing of others. And, they see ‘kindness’ as ‘weakness’ and move in to take full advantage.

How. HOW am I still learning this lesson after all these years?


We need to protect ourselves against this. And, I’ve realised the best way to do that is just to….basically...tell them to fuck off...nicely.

Here’s the thing. I hate to say this, but not everybody is socially and emotionally intelligent. Some people are surprisingly deficient in this area.

Now, I’m pretty open about my life experiences, some of which have not been a tea party. I feel like if I didn’t become a strong person, life would have swallowed me whole. I had no choice! It was sink or swim!

How does anyone get to adulthood having not dealt with a ton of their issues? Is that even possible? How do people still think the world owes them and if they just have a big enough tantrum they can shortcut dealing with themselves?

And so when people turn on me thinking that for some weird reason, I’m going to be their emotional saviour from themselves and that they can attack me whenever their feelings see fit, I just. Can’t. Even.

And trying to beat around the bush and be really nice gets you nowhere!

But here’s the best bit.

People like this don’t need you to be nice.

That’s right.

They need you to be honest (which is kindness, just not how we usually see it).

They don’t need an enabler. They need to feel shit because they make other people feel shit, and the only way they are going to stop doing that is by realising that they're being a dick and changing.

Now I’m not saying that you should be nasty, that’s what stupid people do, and you are not stupid. I’m saying be honest. If you can tell that someone’s trying to take advantage of your energy because they are not dealing with their issues, call them out on it.

Boundaries are wonderful, magical filters that will keep out the energy vultures! Seriously, boundaries work automatically as energy vultures will be so offended by you that they will see themselves out! You won't even have to do anything.

You will not be losing anything losing them as a friend. They cannot give anything right now and only wanted what they could get out of you.

There are lots and lots and lots of people who quite frankly don't deserve you, so don't entertain their vulture thing.

As usual, I don’t know who needed to hear this, but here it is, on my weird little corner of the internet.

Chau, and look after yourself!


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