I’ve had this exact conversation in many forms (that’s me on the right). For the record, I’m mostly joking. Still, who among us hasn’t set out to do a favor and over-extended themselves. Maybe you got a flat tire while picking up a friend from IAD, or your friend ruined the tool/car/dress you lent them, or you threw out your shoulder lifting a futon four flights, or that “thirty-minute” chat turned into a huge drain on your time with a super needy “mentee.” Fortunately,

As we get older we learn to set boundaries, to prioritize, and to say no.

In the process, we,  hopefully, learn to respect other folk’s boundaries. If you want to get good at being helpful, practice. Like athletes who stay within 60 – 80% of their optimal heart rate during training, you can grow your “helping muscle” by staying within your limits and volunteering on a regular basis.

Do what you can, but don’t feel bad when you say no to overextension.

Think of it as saying yes to your real priorities.


File Under: 30-minute prototype cartoon, can’t pour from an empty glass