People are meant to be used.
You read that right, people are meant to be used. I’ll get into what that means a bit later, though.
The saying goes "people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime". The reality is people come into your life to serve a purpose. That purpose may be to assist your success, or to instigate your downfall. For the most part we have a choice. 99% of the people in your life are of your choosing. There are exceptions such as who a child is raised by. For the most part the child doesn’t ever get to choose that aspect. Who you decide to date, who your friends are, who you associate with, even who your manager is at work are choices you make. This is because you can change almost everything in your life if you are willing to pay the right price. Every day you wake up without working to change your circumstances is a day you have said “I am satisfied with the life I have made.” In modern first world countries removing someone from your life is as simple as not returning that text, unfriending or unfollowing them on social media, or actively avoiding them. Most people do not have enough deep connections for it to be more difficult than that. Even those deep connections such as husband, wife, or mother can be severed with enough effort (baby mommas not withstanding). Why does any of this matter? Because if you are dissatisfied with the people you kick it with, but you’re not actively trying to improve your relationship with them or cut them off, you’re being a hypocrite. You say “these people are wack” but your actions say “I like these people”.
The Bold have Bruises.
Everyone likes the confident person. The guy or gal that isn’t afraid to look silly. The one who says “I don’t care what people think.” The one who goes their own way even when everyone else isn’t walking in a different direction. And when they do it boldly, with their head held high and vibe of “it doesn’t hurt to try” that’s the one the ladies love. That’s the person men are intrigued by. But more often than they let on, confident people fall flat. They fail often. Their car spins out of control. They wash up on the shore after drowning. They typically take a minute to catch their breath, learn from it, and keep going. Those people are the ones who bodly say “You know what, I don’t need you” and cut people off. The wisest ones of those are also the ones who recognize the value of someone and say “You are important to me” and grow with them.
Which brings us back to using people…
People hear “use” when it comes to people and immediately think “abuse”. There is a reason those are two different words. ‘Use’ is neutral, its connotation is dependent on the person using it and the context. Abuse (as in abnormal use) is always malicious, and malice is always intentional. If ya’ll don’t know I love cars, so I’m going to use a car analogy. You know that guy with the newish model sports car? The one with the paint flaking and when you open the car you see papers and the occasional fast food wrapper? He gets the maintenance done on his car because he wants it to run well, but he’s pretty minimalistic when it comes to car care. He is doing just enough because he doesn’t see the car as more than transportation. Sure he give is the good gas but that’s only because he likes to drive fast. He gives his car the minimum required to work because he only expects the minimum. Now there is another guy, he drives a compact car with 200k miles. But maaaan you’d think it was a Bentley the way he treats it. He does all the maintenance himself, spends extra money on the fancy oil, waxes and washes the car every Sunday and uses saddle soap on the leather seats he’s had for the 15 years he’s had the car. You can tell he LOVES that car because he does every little thing to make sure the car is in peak condition. There is one more person. That person only gets an oil change when the car starts to run out of oil, the car has NEVER been washed and the interior looks like he lives in it. These three people are all using their car, but how they use it is obviously different. These three people also exist in relationships. The last guy who never does any car maintenance is the abuser. The relationship equivalent is that friend that never calls, and when he does it’s because he needs help with something or he wants someone to listen to his problems. For him, people are tools to be ground down until they serve no purpose, then disposed of. If he is your friend you probably have an unhealthy relationship with him because he doesn’t exist to ever serve your goals. If you are that person you will find yourself either or alone or worse, dealing with enemies who seek retribution in some form or fashion. The first guy I mentioned with the sports car respects friendships, but isn’t someone who actively seeks to build on top of what is already established. He is the guy who will be friends when you guys work together but don’t expect to hear from him much if you switch jobs. If you never worked together but have been friends for a while he will send you a text message every couple of months to check on you and will be there when something catastrophic happens in your life. Don’t expect him to buy you a housewarming gift or visit you across country every year, though. He is a guy who values you but only does the minimum to keep your friendship and usually doesn’t expect more than he’s putting in. The second guy with the compact car? That guy is the friend everyone wants, but most people don’t have the desire to put in the work for. This guy is going to be the one to take you out for drinks when you have a tough day, to talk to you every week, to walk your dog when you’re out of the country, to drag you on vacation because he knows you need it, and who you have to argue with about letting him pay for the meal. This guy gives a lot because he expects a lot. He believes that you give what you get and he gives his last dime. Everyone wants this guy as a friend because of what he can do for them, but more often than not they aren’t willing to show up for him the same way. He looks at you as a tool, but he is the one who will clean the tool after every use. He doesn’t over use the tool and wraps the tool in a velvet cloth when he’s done using it. Sometimes he’ll clean the tool just because. He honors the value of the tool and wants to keep it as long as possible so he treats it accordingly.
In the name of transparency, I have been all of these people. I’ve been the guy who gives his all to a friend only to be disappointed by someone who is looking to get without giving. I’ve lost friends that way. I mourn the loss, learn from it and move on. The same way the confident person washes up on the beach after drowning, but gets up and keeps going. At the same time my wife started as one of those friends I gave my all to and now she’s my wife, so being scared to be hurt can mean you miss your blessing. I’ve been and am the just enough friend. It usually happens in that I give a lot and see the other person is a just enough so I lower the intensity. Some of my best friends that I’m sure I’ll love til the day I die are these friends. We don’t talk every day but when we do, it’s like we were never apart. I was the abusive friend to some people as boy and teenager, but when I became a man I put those childish thoughts away. I don’t think I’ve ever been the abused as a friend, though. So much of that is about being able to read people and when you see red flags recognizing that and categorizing them appropriately. The other part is about not being a victim. If I someone to used me without giving back to me it’s because I allowed it. I own that and I always put a stop to it.
Understand everyone in your life is looking to use you. How they use you and what they are willing to give you for your use is the difference between use and abuse. No one deserves abuse, but far too many allow it in their lives
- Rob Immortal
Rob Immortal prides himself on being the 6'4" Black, loc'd, and Bearded version of one Daria Morgendoffer. The last male heir of a family of Misanthropic Bamas, he enjoys Oreos, exotic dancers, fine leather goods, and anything related to black empowerment. Entering the first stage of his evolution into a millennial curmudgeon he writes on observations as a black married man.