Niecy Just Reminded Us That You Can’t Help People Who Don’t Want To Help Themselves
I was just having a conversation earlier this week with a colleague about the downsides of trying to help friends get on their feet. We weren’t speaking on the effort it requires, but rather, the disappointment that one feels when a person they stick their neck out for damages your reputation by not taking proper advantage of the opportunities you provide. They say they want to try something new, need a new source of income or just need help, and when you do indeed help them, they drop the ball, not on accident, but on purpose. They find out they aren’t as interested in change as they claimed to be and figure that out at your expense.
Take for example the time I helped a young woman get a job at the retail store I was working at in college. I had good standing there because I worked hard, always showed up and picked up shifts when others couldn’t make it in, so they welcomed her with open arms thinking she would do the same. When I left to continue with my studies, I returned to find out that she played me and my bosses. As it turns out, she showed up for one shift and then quit without saying anything, even though she had been scheduled for more. Despite telling me she needed the job, she ended up taking the position to get the company discount and free clothes. I was livid.
It was the first time something like this happened to me, but sadly, it wouldn’t be the very last (trust me, I’m too through now). So when I watched Being Mary Jane last night and saw the way Niecy handled a so-called friend who turned out to be quite the disappointment, I had to give her some props. She’s come a long way (and hell, done better than I have with handling these types of folks) and no longer wants dead weight around.
How it started was, Niecy was on her way to pick up her kids after work when she received a call from her employer at the hair salon. When she answered, she found out through her boss that the car seat business she helped to set up for and with friend Amika (and another mother of a child by Niecy’s baby daddy, Dante) was falling apart due to recklessness. After recommending the business to a friend, Niecy’s boss tells her that said friend was left high and dry without the car seat she had been scheduled to receive because Amika never showed up to drop it off. The boss scolded her and said that if she was going to vouch for Niecy, she and Amika had to be serious about the work they’re doing. One person’s carelessness created a domino effect that made more than that single individual look bad.
Pissed, Niecy heads to Amika’s to pick up her kids and confront her business partner. When she gets there though, she finds that a random man, a neighbor of Amika’s, is watching their kids (while watching Basketball Wives). He tells her that Amika sometimes has him watch her kids, as well as Niecy’s, when she has places to be and things to do. Niecy is rightfully livid.
Eventually, Amika walks in with some random man (the clear reason she couldn’t drop off that car seat) and doesn’t seem bothered about the fact that not only did she not do what she was supposed to for their business, but she also doesn’t see the issue with leaving someone else’s kids with a man they don’t know. Niecy grabs her kids and tells Amika that they are as done as overcooked meat and decides to go it alone. She will lead the car seat business on her own, and Niecy will find a proper child care situation for her kids on her own as well.
It was refreshing to see. Not only because Niecy has been that character for years who acted just like Amika (which she acknowledges to her father, Patrick), but also because she realizes that she can’t rely on others to take care of her situation — a new man, her old man Dante or Amika. That is no one else’s responsibility but her own.
But I also like the lesson that was taught in that short scene of it also being no one else’s responsibility but your own to guard your name and good standing, as well as no one else’s responsibility but our own to get one’s life together. We have to be more picky about who we go out on a limb for.
While we would all love to help out everyone we know and love, some people aren’t ready or deserving of that. Some just have to pick themselves up and make things happen alone. It’s a true sign that they are as serious as they claim to be about wanting better, and it’s often a necessary move. Because the truth is, always providing a handout for individuals just because they call you friend or family can enable their continued idleness and hurt their progress — just as much as it could hurt your reputation.