Social Question

Kokoro's avatar

Are you changing someone, or helping them?

Asked by Kokoro (1424points) March 29th, 2012

Have any of you ever come across a situation where you discovered a friend or partner was not who you thought they were? Basically, you got to know them more… and what is revealed isn’t exactly positive.

A conflict of morals, interests or beliefs.

Heated discussions take place because both of you believe your idea is best. Where does one draw the line on HELPING someone versus trying to CHANGE them? How do you know if it’s either/or?

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9 Answers

stardust's avatar

When you say “helping someone”, do you mean helping them to view things the way you do? I have been in situations where I discovered the person was different to who I thought they were, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I felt the need to change them or help them. If you could clarify what you mean by that, it’d be helpful.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. If I find myself clashing with someone to the point where I feel unhappy/frustrated/annoyed upon spending time with them, I’d limit the amount of time spent with them or stop hanging out with them full stop.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Kokoro Can’t say I’ve experienced that. Most of the people I know are actually better people than I may have thought at first. If I find the other I don’t want to associate with them.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s wrong and futile to change someone, and by your description, helping someone just sounds like trying to make them believe what you do, which is still trying to change them. For some situations, you have to cut your losses if you aren’t compatible or simply deal with it.

gailcalled's avatar

It seems pretty straightforward. You help someone when he comes to you and says, “Can you please help me”?

Otherwise, you mind your own business and take care of yourself.

Pandora's avatar

Not in a relationship. The only topics that I have ever seen to be a problem between people are, death penalty, abortions, spending money, religion, gay rights, animal rights, enviromental, vegan vs. meat eater and how to raise children. Some of those lead to divorce. Spending money and how to raise children and religion. Abortion can too if one partner is for getting an abortion and the other isn’t. The rest should be agree to disagree. Unless the gay rights thing hits closer to home. Like one is a homophobe and the you have a gay friend and they don’t want them around you. Or one of you is gay, than that is just awkward. LOL

ninjacolin's avatar

Everything you do changes the people who observe it. Stop trying to not change people and instead commit yourself to being a source of positive change.

There’s a million ways to try communicating with people. Each of these methods of communication will “change” the person in question. The important thing is to choose the methods that aren’t known to be abusive. For example, avoid passive aggressive communication. Avoid threats. Avoid fallacy.

noraasnave's avatar

I have a good buddy, who has been on the fence between divorce and marriage for almost 2 years. I have tried all stances and tactics you can imagine short of physical violence to try and get him off the fence. I told him that it does more damage to his children, wife, and himself to keep sitting on the fence and not either going back or ending the marriage, that and nothing else have worked.

The reality that I am finding is that the more I ‘push’ the more stubbornly he attaches himself to the damn fence….

So…I backed off. He started to see the situation for himself. He is now making slow progress towards divorce and I am so happy for and proud of him. He is finding that everyone in his family is dealing with the transition and moving along just fine, following his lead.

His wife doesn’t like it, because she has had every need taken care of for 18 years, and doesn’t like the idea of having to work for her money now. I even think she is moving in a happy, healthy direction towards taking responsibility for her own future.

So, I tried to help him by sharing details and facts that would guide him in the direction I thought was best. AKA I was pushing him…it didn’t work. Active Listening and space worked like a miracle.

linguaphile's avatar

It sounds horrible, but my mom told me years ago that the people that you go out of your way to help the most are the ones who will hurt you the worst and fastest. I didn’t want to believe it for years, but I’ve found that to be mostly true.

I think it is because the people that ask for or demand the most help can be very self-focused on their own needs and wants. They’re the ones who are more likely to retaliate when you start to get lukewarm, then they move on to another helper.

It’s impossible to change the fundamental parts of another person unless you abuse them, take them hostage, threaten their lives or something crazy-extreme like that.

ninjacolin's avatar

addendum: threats and fallacies are okay if they’re meant for (relatively) tasteful comedic purposes.

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