“Hey, watch ‘cha doing?” came the voice on the other end.
“I was asleep. Why? What time is it?"
“No, no, no. There is a two hour time difference, remember? We are in Utah!”
“Nope! I forgot! Sorry! Go back to sleep. I will message you later on face book.”
“Back to sleep? Yeah right! That’s not happening. Wait! Why did you call? Just to chat or did you need something?”
“I need a favor. I’ll get you later.”
“Well, alright. Bye.” So we hang up and just as the caller promised, the favor request came via email, and I took care of the matter promptly and sent the requested information. For four days I waited. No response or contact of any kind. Finally I sent a text message. “Did you get the information I sent?”
Response: “Yes, thanks.”
“Now I can tell you I got really annoyed,” said my friend as her voice rose, even as she retold the story. “Why the delay in showing gratitude? Are we so caught up in our own lives we can’t be courteous anymore. I was awakened at an awful hour and took care of the request made promptly. I feel like I’m being taken for granted!”
My friends’ questions made me stop and consider my own behaviors, and my perceptions of others. Do we take people for granted in general? Do we not consider another person’s feelings or efforts, as important as our own? If so, why? What happened to good manners?
My first thought goes to children and parents. Children know their parents love them and, generally, will take care of any reasonable request they have. Yet, as they grow and begin to make decisions as adults on their own, sometimes it feels like even they take parents for granted. When things are going well, there are parents who don’t hear from their children for weeks or longer, but when things are not so right, they are quick to call for advice, money or in some instances even housing! How parents handle these situations depends on personalities and values on both sides!
Sometimes we feel like we are taken for granted by friends, as well. It seems the same situation can apply as with children and parents. People we call "friends" only talk to us when they want to complain or need something. Other times a friend can take for granted you know what they are going through and what they need. Then as a friend, if it isn’t recognized or understood without being told, there is resentment and accusation of not caring. They stop calling or visiting and even chatting in passing, creating undue pain and misunderstanding on both sides.
Other times, a person has no intention of taking someone for granted. Life is busy; we are distracted and focused on the immediate goal in front of us with total, even if unintentional, disregard for those around us. We are not mind readers as children, parents or friends! It is essential to remember manners, be sympathetic if needed, offer a listening ear with out accusation or judgment, not gossip and love honestly.
If we believe we’ve been taken for granted, or otherwise offended, consider the offender. Are we certain it was it intentional? Could life, something most may not even be aware of, be making them oblivious to their behavior? Think carefully; talk softly and gently, if you decide to share your heart. A friendship or relationship is a terrible thing to toss in the wind, to be lost forever, especially if the offense was totally unintentional.