I’d like to say that dependability isn’t something I struggle with, in regards to others and myself. The more I think about this topic, the more I realize that I have a difficult time depending on other people and expecting them to be there for me. Growing up I was raised by a single parent, not only just a single parent but a strong-willed leader, someone who doesn’t take crap from anyone and finds a way to make her aspirations come true. Watching this, I had my own wall built up around me where depending on others felt like a burden, especially when I relied on them and they didn’t follow through.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
My mother is the most reliable and dependable person I know; not just because she raised my sister and me on her own, and did a hell of a job, but because I see it in her interpersonal relationships with friends, family and co-workers. My mother is the first one people call because they not only know will she keep her promise but she will go beyond the expectation. In many cases, this has caused people to overly rely on her, ending up handing her the short end of the stick.
Observing this, I felt that it was an important character to possess. On the other hand, another driving force is realizing that being dependable not only helps people but hurts others. Pointedly my father; who never really seemed to do what he said he was going to do. Even if he did, it would be a half done mess that would have been better if he just had not done it at all.
It’s a bird! it’s a plane! NO it’s a reliable friend!
These two variables shaped my idea of dependability and how I perceived I should display it. I recently noticed that in my past friendships and relationships, I was the one that people looked to when organizing, leading, giving advice and getting them out of sticky situations. Although, I did notice the abundance of expectations put on me (or rather that I put on myself) that I would be the one to sort things out and always be available when asked; I liked the attention and the fact that people were so thankful to have me around to do what needed to be done. But at some point I realized that there is a fine line between using someone and being depended upon.
It was difficult to find friends who didn’t over exhaust that I always did what I said I would do and had the means to do it. Most of them just enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t some indifferent teenager who flies by the seat of their pants. I always had a plan and, in many cases, they depended on me for that plan. Interestingly enough when I wasn’t around, things still got done. Maybe not as efficiently, but they did get done. Everyone lived to see another day, not without more than a few mishaps and issues but at the end of the day, the same result would ensue.
Taking a step back
I am glad I noticed sooner than later that without me, my friends, family and coworkers can still handle it on their own. I don’t always need to be the one people look to and sometimes when they do, not be so keen on trying to fix it for them. There is a balance of dependability in all relationships, whether they are platonic or not. Equally relying on each other can strengthen relationships making each individual feel like they are contributing something. It is best to not have one person feel as if the world is on their shoulders. Yet, that also goes with choosing those who have the ability to be relied upon. And for those you can’t choose, e.g., family, know when to just say no.