The “Sympathy” Trap

Recently, a well-meaning (I assume. Trying to give him the benefit of doubt) person made a decision for me. He says he did it out of concern for my “condition.” The result was a “choice.” I could either step down from an activity I was doing and return to a lesser activity or I could continue in the activity “but with higher expectations.” The “choice” was mine to make, but the conversation made clear which option was correct.

Please note that at no time was an offer made to find out why I was physically unsteadier doing that activity. No effort was expended to teach, train, or develop the skill (“aggressive enthusiasm”) I was missing.

“For my own good,” I was dismissed from the activity.

Not to worry. I’ll land just fine.

Truly, though, when you’re dealing with people, don’t make their decisions unless they are incapable of doing so. If you see them struggling with something or not performing at the level they should, find out what’s going on. Ask what help is needed, if any.


2 thoughts on “The “Sympathy” Trap

  1. I so agree! I hate choices that aren’t really choices. I have had “issues” with other people trying to make decisions for me in various venues and I don’t like it. If I want “help” whether it is for protection or ministry or needing to make a decision, or buying a product, I will ask for it. If I don’t ask…. I don’t want it. For that reason I don’t like telemarketers or any leadership that applies a broad stereotypical brush to a group of people without their input.


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