Allies Who Are Not Allies

There are always things floating on the web that serve to call out people who think they are Allies, who proclaim themselves Allies, but who don’t actually help. Who actually make things worse. If you are an Ally who is helping, this story will not bother you. If you are the other kind, it’s probably going to annoy you quite a bit.

This is a true story. The events happened as I have written them here. This has not been tweaked to make the metaphor better.

Ten or more years ago, I was driving towards one of the most dangerous intersections in the state (according to the Department of Transportation! No shoulder, extremely busy, tons of semis and people not paying attention to what they are doing). My station wagon abruptly died. I had no cash on me, and about $40 in the bank that had to last for two weeks no matter what — I could not spend it on anything but the things it was budgeted for.

So there was a guy walking across the intersection, and he asked if I needed help. I said, yes, please, we need to push the car around the corner and about half a block to a parking lot where I could figure out what I was going to do. He said “Sure, I’ll help.”
He started trying to flag down cars. I said “What are you doing?” He said “I’ll see if someone has a cell phone so they can call you a tow truck.”

“I have a cell phone,” I said. “I can’t afford a tow truck. I just need to get me and my car out of this intersection.”

He ignored me, and proceeded to flag down a semi. The driver leaned out and asked what the problem was, and the dude who thought against all evidence he was being helpful told him to call a tow truck.

At this point I came unglued. I said, loudly, “I don’t need a tow truck, I can’t afford a tow truck, please don’t call a tow truck because I have no way to pay for one! Thanks for stopping but I just need a push.”

The guy who was not really helping, who was actually distracting me from the task, looked hurt, and then he said “But you need a tow truck.”

At this point? I’d had enough. I was tired, stuck in a dangerous position, not a little humiliated. I said “Are you going to help me push?”

He said “I tried to get you a tow truck.”

I told him to f* off if he wasn’t going to help me push my car.

About that time a friend of mine happened to be driving by. She’s about 2/3 the size of the guy who couldn’t figure out that I knew exactly what help I needed. She pulled into the parking lot, ran back, and at no small risk to herself helped me push my car out of the dangerous intersection, to a place where I could get under the hood and figure out what I needed to do to get it running and get home.

So: were both of these people Allies?

There was no ideological test going on here, it was purely practical. Person X could not internalize what my problem was, so all he did was work on a “solution” that was actually more harmful than if he had just walked on by. Person Y actually jumped in and helped me do what needed to be done.

And that’s what’s going on here. This isn’t about passing a purity test. This is about actions. Is someone helping? They are an Ally. Is someone complaining that their feelings are hurt because they are doing what they think I need and I am telling them it isn’t? Not an Ally.

If a hundred people had come by and all of them had not only suggested a tow truck but told me that it was the best and correct solution to my problem, even though it was a solution that I considered and rejected for perfectly rational reasons (because if I had had access to a couple hundred bucks, I would have called a tow truck myself and had it towed to my mechanics), by the hundred and first I would be saying “Can you help me push? A tow truck is out of the question” and if they stood there and argued with me about how a tow truck was indeed the best solution, I would then be saying “Help me push or f* off.”

I’ve caught some flak (not a lot, but a little) from some people for “not recognizing that you need Allies.”

I know that I need Allies. (I also need more of the LG part of the LGBT community to figure out that I’m part of the community, not just someone they can call when they want money or a vote and can be swept under the rug the rest of the time.)

What I don’t need are people who get upset when I get angry because they are calling a towtruck I cannot afford when what I really need is a quick push that will be easier if more of us are pushing.

Oh, yeah. I never finished the story. The not helpful guy? When he finally quit trying to get me a towtruck? He walked away. He didn’t help push. He never intended to give me the help I needed, only the help that he decided I needed. He took his ball and went home.

(inspired by a conversation with a friend on a social media site)

About fliponymous

Bisexual activist, thinker, writer, husband, father, Licensed Professional Counselor.
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67 Responses to Allies Who Are Not Allies

  1. I think this is the sort of story that will do a lot to illustrate the problem to people who don’t get it. Most of us have, at one time or another, been given the things that people think we want instead of listening to what we want, or even given us the things they want us to want. And usually when those things aren’t met with instant thanks and happiness, then suddenly we’re the ones who are ungrateful, because apparently anything, even the wrong thing, is supposed to be better than nothing. Apply that to gender relations, race relations, any kind of relation, and chances are the supposed Allies will be getting all butthurt when you don’t appreciate their good intentions. But good intentions don’t put more money in your bank account, don’t fix your car, and don’t fix the societal problems we’re going through.

    Well said, and I appreciate the time you took to deliver this message.

  2. Emily Ladau says:

    Thank you for writing this. What a great metaphor to show how frustrating it is when Allies think they know best.

  3. Debra Porta says:

    This is absolutely the best description of what an ally is, compared to what it is not. Thank you.

  4. judyt54 says:

    Flipper, and Ria, you have so described my Dad its scary. If you werent immediately thrilled with what he did, said, or gave you, he’d stalk off in a serious red huffmobile. The world does seem to be loaded with folks like that, and we all suffer from it. this is, indeed, a perfect metaphor (all the moreso for being a true one) for Alllies and Faux Allies’ behavior. These are also the people who expect kiss-the-hem gratitude, so they can feel good about themselves and write you off as a tax deduction.
    (cynics of the world, unite)

  5. I am lucky to have so many sincerely thoughtful people in my life. Unfortunately I have a few family members, like many of us do, that fit the situation described her perfectly.

  6. Jeshyr says:

    OMG yes, this happens to people with disabilities (PWD) all the time too! Somebody shared your post on my Facebook feed and literally the previous item in the feed was about this happening to PWD. Here’s what I had put for the previous comment:

    “I guess it’s the same feeling that makes people literally jump off the pavement onto the road when we go past (even though they weren’t in the way); or people who are halfway through a right hand turn (and blocking the oncoming traffic) stop so we can cross the side-street we hadn’t even started crossing yet; or leap in front of us to open a door, so they end up blocking the doorway with their bodies.

    It makes me crazy frustrated because the intent is positive, it’s just that the execution is so completely fucked up that it ends up seeming not only rude but actively gets in the way of the person they’re trying to help. I always end up feeling guilty if I don’t have the time/energy/inclination to be polite, even though I *know* it’s not my responsibility. UGH.”

    It’s reassuring somehow to know that many minorities share the same issues…

    • fliponymous says:

      “It makes me crazy frustrated because the intent is positive, it’s just that the execution is so completely fucked up that it ends up seeming not only rude but actively gets in the way of the person they’re trying to help.” — THIS.

      It’s not ill-meant. It’s not deliberately being awful. It’s just being so wrapped up in their own worldview of being on top that they just can’t imagine, for example, that someone might not have called the towtruck for any reason other than forgetting their cellphone.

    • rachel says:

      I just wanted to say that it shocks me that I get this for just being an able-bodied girl (well, woman, but everyone seems shocked that I’m 31). Just this morning, a car almost got rear-ended by a school bus for suddenly stopping (nowhere near a stop sign or light) to let me cross.

  7. mel says:

    Dang, I was really hoping that the end of the story was going to be “Guy #1 Does a Nice Thing & Pays For the Tow Truck.”

  8. Molly says:

    If the ally / gifter can release their grip on the YOU need THIS, or just even half that equation, then a lot more not-allies would actually be allies. This particular situation had a set YOU, so he needed to release the THIS to be an ally. In other settings, this can be where re-gifting actually becomes a good thing. This is that moment (the “here, YOU should want THIS” moment) when you can say “Marvelous! Mixing bowls I very clearly don’t need! I’ll be happy to set them free in the universe so they can find the person who will love them.” It took Mom a while to understand that her well intended gift had indeed been a gift, just a very different one than she set out to give. It really was a gift because I’d been able to pass them along to my friend Sam (not as some trumped up “I got this for you myself” but as a “hey, my mom wants somebody I know to have these mixing bowls and you strike me as a likely candidate”) and Sam was THRILLED. Absolutely ecstatic. What a nice bond for my mom to give Sam and I.

  9. Tuffy says:

    This reminds me so much of the Funders in the Movement, foundations others that instead of listening like to do a lot of telling.

  10. Ken Riznyk says:

    I have several comments.
    1. I don’t believe this is a true story.
    2. The writer was just as pigheaded as the first person who stopped to help. If the intersection was so dangerous one is risking their life by standing in the roadway pushing a car. It is a foolhardy thing to do.
    3. After the car is pushed somewhere the person is going to need a tow truck anyway. With new computer systems in cars nowadays it is almost impossible to fix a car outside of a well equipped garage. He is not saving any money and putting people’s lives in jeopardy.
    4. If he owns a cell phone he probably has credit and can afford a tow truck.

    • fliponymous says:

      1) This is a true story. Sorry you don’t believe me, but I have to ask why you don’t.
      2) Leaving my car in the intersection would have been both dangerous and caused me to lose my car, because if it had been towed to impound I would not have been able to afford to get it out.
      3) It wasn’t even close to being a new car ten years ago when it happened — it was so old it had a carburetor. And it didn’t need a professional mechanic to get it running again, just some time and tinkering and swearing, which I was able to do in the parking lot — it was some kind of electrical/battery problem.
      4) Ever heard of a Tracphone? Cheap, pre-paid, no credit. Not a very good phone, but it was all the phone I had at the time.

      I find your assumptions very interesting, Ken. Seems like you are having some trouble understanding what the problem here was — lack of money. No cash reserve, no credit, lousy ill-paying job, crappy old car that broke down in an inconvenient location.

      Again, I really wonder what you have invested in the idea that I was lying about this incident. Why would I? It’s not like I’m getting paid to write this blog.

      • Jeshyr says:

        What a bizarre comment to put in a blog about how to be a good ally… Ken, I hope you’re aware that you’re modelling how NOT to be an Ally very accurately here.

        The very first rule of being an Ally is to shut up and listen when the minority group member is telling you what their experience is, and not to tell them their experience is wrong or didn’t happen.

        I wish I found it more shocking than I actually did. The world needs more allies for everybody.

    • Robin says:

      As regards #4:
      1) If someone only has $40 in the bank, then even if they do have credit, it’s quite likely maxed out already.

      2) Even if they do have credit and a bit of room on it, since when has “has a bit of room on the credit card” necessarily equaled “being able to afford it”? They may be able to *pay* for it via credit right that moment, but that doesn’t mean they can *afford* to do so – credit isn’t free money, and it’s going to come due shortly. If someone is scraping by on $40, where are they going to find the money to pay the credit card bill? Then they’ll start getting hit with fees and interest, which only makes their financial situation even worse.

      Also, your expectation that everybody drives a new car is oblivious to reality. There are plenty of people that make do with old clunkers because it’s what they can afford. They don’t have an extra $300-$400 a month to drop on car payments plus insurance, nor do they have $10,000+ lying around that they can use to buy a (cheaper) new car outright. So they go to a used car store and buy something old, so the initial cost will be far lower and insurance will be far lower as well.

    • M says:

      #2: leaving a stalled car on almost ANY road is WILDLY dangerous. On a freeway or the like it is way way over the top dangerous. In the SF Bay Area there are publicly funded tow trucks that move cars off the road – both due to the danger and to keep traffic moving. Even stopping on the shoulder is wildly wildly dangerous. Talk to some tow truck drivers if you don’t believe me. Leaving a car in the road?? Bad.
      #3: I was shocked by the new car comment. I’ve driven very old cars for decades. And I can afford both a tow truck and tow insurance (AAA and similar). I just bought a 1996 car. I consider the cost of a newish car a luxury item, far far down on my list of needs. So many things I need WAY more than a newish car.

  11. Jarred H says:

    This. A thousand times over.

  12. Jenny Creed says:

    Good job getting angry, if it was me I’d probably just have said something like “I hope you’re going to pay for that help you’re buying for me”, and then it’d come as a complete surprise to him when the tow service wanted to be paid and I told them I explicitly told him if he called a tow truck he’d have to pay for it, and then he would probably change his story to say he wasn’t thinking clearly and made a mistake calling them, and then I imagine the towers would decide to bill me rather than him because they’ve got my licence number and if he hasn’t run away by now he probably decides he’s forgotten his ID.

    I mention this to highlight the only alternate course of action you could have taken as far as I can see. Well, besides walking away from your car like a character in an REM video which probably would have even worse long term results. When you only have a limited amount of time to stop a person who’s decided for you that you should spend money you don’t have, someone’s bound to get hurt, and in fairness’ sake there’s no reason that someone should be you.

  13. Robin Renee says:

    I love this story, and those great moments in life when realization and a clear, analogous understanding of a situation suddenly falls in line. I can hear the a-ha happening for you as you “got” how the unhelpful guy in the car situation was so like non-allies to the bi community. Thank you so much – You’ve reminded me to keep my senses clear and ways to deepen my understanding of the world will arrive. Thanks also for contributing thoughtful bi content to the greater conversation.

  14. judyt54 says:

    One of the beauties of this is, it obtains not just in the bi community or the LGBT in general, but it’s a life story, as well. Anyone can wear this, and probably has, including our cranky Ken person up there. I suspect, however, he was one of those who would have driven away after insisting that what you NEEDED was what he was prepared to offer. No less, no more.
    I am also reminded of those officious hostesses who see that you have passed on the brussels sprouts… “Oh, here”, she insists, “you need the sprouts’ they’re soooo good for you”–and when you ignore the sprouts she has piled on your plate, then tells you you’re wasting food.
    This is Attempt to Control the Situation, and it’s universal.

  15. M says:

    Many thoughts. First, my definition of “help” is that which the person receiving the effort finds helpful. Obviously, you seem to be in agreement with this. Also, as you are studying psychology, you may want to look into some of the aspects where this idea meets resistance. Such as the whole belief system wherein people addicted and need intervention, or otherwise won’t do what’s good for them, or should do what professional decide. Do I think there’s a point where it is worthwhile to force people? Maybe. I’ve been unsure on this for a while, but usually do think there are cases where force or coercion are valid. But even there calling it help seems questionable to me. You may also want to look up “harm reduction” which is the totally fabulous and awesome concept that it is worthwhile to help people do what they want to do even when you don’t like what they are doing. Most often it is used in contexts like addiction or prostitution, contexts that are quite risky. The idea being that rather than only helping people who do what others decide is best (e.g. Stop use of addictive substance), it is a good thing to help people have less risk even while letting them decide.

    Next thought: this unhelpful help concept applies in many many areas of life. In some areas people are very likely to have strong opinions of What You Should Do. Anything medical or psychiatric comes to mind. Anything dealing with legal problems. Anyway, I don’t see it as being particularly an issue about allies. It is an issue any time anyone needs or offers help.

    Finally as regards bisexual people: folks want different things, so being an ally to “bisexual people” might be impossible, using this definition. Some bisexual people are FINE with the term “gay marriage” as a term, others are upset that it marginalized bisexuals. I think asking some bisexual people is a step, but people have really different views of where to go and how to get there.

    • Klondike says:

      Wow, way to jump on the bisexual comment. Yes, folks want different things. That’s true of every community I’ve ever been a part of, and is hardly distinctive of bisexuals. There are still very obvious things that would-be allies can do: stop refusing to believe that bisexuals exist, stop assuming that they exist to annoy straight people or gay people, stop trying to help them be better straight people or gay people, and, in the advanced course, they can invite other folks to do the same.

      • M says:

        Hey Klondike, sorry, I didn’t mean to sound negative about bisexuals or allies of bisexuals. But, um, I can imagine the mess it could make. I’m particularly aware of the differing strategies of bi folks since I am one, and i often forget that lots of bi people are not offended by (or even sensitive about) the term “gay marriage” for example. While me, I’m ready to boycott GLAAD about it (and other similar stuff). IME more bi people are NOT concerned about this than are, I think.

        Sure, of course my comment applies to other categories of people as well. Remind me not to say I’m an ally? I guess a lot depends on what kinds of things people are getting called out about. I haven’t read the kinds of Internet essays about allies that this article is discussing, so I don’t have much context for the “unhelpful ally” thing. I read the essay and was thinking about what would result if I tried to use individual needs (like for a push not a tow truck) in the concept of ally.

  16. Delft says:

    Great analogy!
    It’s remarkable how often “allies” who are not in your situation think they know what you need much better than you do.

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  18. Thanks for this. I know many people who feel thrown under the bus when they are looking for an ally.

  19. telzey says:

    Yeah, congrats, you got hit with a Privilege stick. D-bag dude had money for a tow truck and simply could not conceive of someone who did not have money for a tow truck–it was literally out of his ken. I have, in the past, thought of this sort of experience as a thing men do to women all the time, i.e.: swoop in, diagnose the problem without actually listening, take everything out of your hands and insist that “THIS is the right way to solve your little problem”, then get terribly butt-hurt when you finally have to blow your stack to get them to knock it off (or if you act in any way that does not resemble dewy-eyed gratitude for their magnanimous help), but really it’s something any privileged person will pull on any other non-privileged person. I’m very glad you had what it took to tell him to go f*ck off, thus derailing his d-baggery and getting your car out of the intersection w/o incurring tow truck debt, but it’s something that women often have a hard time doing, as we are trained from birth to “be nice” and pour oil on the waters. We tend to get run over a lot by this sort of mansplaining non-ally.

    As Oscar Madison once said to Felix Unger, “You’re like a vicious Saint Bernard!” 😉

  20. Dason says:

    This is a nice post but I think what it could really use is relating it back to what is actually bothering you. I’m not a part of the LGBT community – I hope I’m an ally (I certainly wasn’t annoyed by your post). However, I don’t actually know what it is that fake allies do that bother you! Personally if you want to change those behaviors then please spell those out. The analogy is a great way to make people see how something could be unhelpful but without a concrete example of the behavior as it applies to LGBT “allies” the analogy might not connect with the people you want it to connect to. By actually outlining the behaviors that you find to be unhelpful I think the post could be more useful.

    • fliponymous says:

      The number one problem is people whose actions make it clear that they are not allies who are helping but Allies who are getting their Social Justice Merit Badge.

      Go here and follow some links. Then go check out this.

      There’s a place to start. Let me know if you want more. 🙂

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  22. shakezula4s says:

    If this was a typical suburban intersection, then I think you’d have a great point. But because it happened at one of the most dangerous intersections in your state, it’s really a story about your misplaced priorities.

    Given the level of danger you described, what you’re actually saying is that your life and your friend’s life are worth less than forty dollars. One month of dire financial straits pales in comparison to a lifetime of guilt and regret if you or your friend got hit by one of those semis while you pushed the car.

    Sure, the guy who stopped to help you was bull headed and he should have listened to you. But he had the right solution. The fact that you and your friend managed to deft the odds and push the car into the parking lot gives you the luxury to judge the pedestrian who stopped by. If, God forbid, the intersection lived up to its reputation while you and your friend pushed the car, your story would have become one of those cautionary tales they use for highway safety psa’s.

    • fliponymous says:

      Well, you’ve missed the point altogether.

      I did not have enough money to pay for a tow. Period. If I had spent every penny I had, I still would have been unable to pay the towtruck driver.

      I had to move my car about a hundred feet — about 40 to get out of danger.

      He had the right solution for HIM. But it was not a solution that was at all useful to me.

      • baroness says:

        shakezula’s comment is a great metaphorical reaction to go along with this, because it gives an example of someone completely pushing aside the point and instead focusing on semantics and very small, trivial things that have nothing to do with anything. It is the same kind of reaction that unhelpful ‘allies’ will have to a complaint about this kind of behavior.

        • Debra Porta says:

          Exactly, and SO prevalent in these kinds of discussions. It’s complete deflection from the actual POINT being made by the author..and indicative of the one thing that an ally can do that is most helpful-actually LISTENING to the person or group they are hoping to support. Thank you.

  23. judyt54 says:

    shake, that puts you on the level with the guy insisting on the tow truck. You can’t invent money you dont have. Thats the bottom line, and its’ so hard for people who have credit, and money, do not get–refuse to get, even. The same folks who say “what you should have done” and drive away because they got a hurty paw for not having their suggestion appreciated. What the guy should have done is helped Fiipper move the car. No questions, no arguments.

    If you want to get an even tighter focus, think about this: suppose because Mr. Good Samaritan had driven away and because of that the car got hit. If you’re gonna help, do it. Get your hands dirty instead of throwing roses at it.

    I am reminded of a drowning man who needs help. Guy carrying a rope comes along and says, Ill go get a lifeguard, i dont know how to swim. =)

    • fliponymous says:

      I find it very interesting that people who appear to not get the reality of poverty like to turn this story around and blame me for not doing what someone with their level of resources would do.

      I mean, damn, if I had money for a towtruck… I probably would have gone and bought a better car. The idea that “one month of dire financial straights” was what I was facing is amusing. Shake, think about this: people who have $40 to last for 2 weeks and are driving crappy cars that break down for no good reason are generally not people who are just having one bad month. These kinds of things happen because every month, for years, there is too much month at the end of your money. There is no emergency fund tucked away, no spare credit card in your wallet. At the bottom of the financial barrel there is nothing but splinters and guilt.

      Anyone reading this story and thinking that my priorities were out of whack? I issue you this challenge.

      Next time you see a driver in distress, a stalled car in a busy (or isolated) spot, *pay for the tow and the repair*. If you’re able but not willing to do that, then you have no right to make judgments about their priorities. If you are willing but not able? Something tells me that you’re someone who would help push.

      • shakezula4s says:

        Be careful what you assume. You were worried about a short-term loss of your car due to your dire financial situation. I’m close to your age and no one in my family has owned or driven a car since 1972. I didn’t own a credit card until I turned 30. Life without transportation can be very inconvenient. But it can be done, and your description of the situation indicates that you should have left that roadside immediately.

        • Robin says:

          It depends what area you live in as to whether life without a car is inconvenient or impossible. Areas with usable public transit make living without a car a possibility, but many areas (especially more rural areas) lack that infrastructure. And when somebody lacks money to get to the end of the month without running out of money, they generally also lack the money to move elsewhere.

        • fliponymous says:

          Actually, no. It would not have been short-term loss of car, it would have been impounded at best which would have been permanent (because impound charges stack up daily). Having a car was a condition of the job I had at the time, and the job was directly linked to my living situation: so loss of car=loss of job=loss of housing. Immediately. Directly. Not to mention the possibility of criminal charges for abandoning my car in a dangerous place. Not to mention significant loss of mobility in a city with an adequate but far from great public transit system.

          You are judging me as a person that values $40 over my life. I’m trying to explain that *you are not bothering to understand my situation and are insisting that not only is your solution the best one, but that I am somehow a :faulty human being: for not agreeing that your solution is what I really needed*.

          The whole point of the article, which you have ignored in the minutae of what you think was the proper action in the circumstance, was this: Ignoring the possibility that the person who is in the situation might actually know what the best course of action would be in favor of your own opinion which is based on *your abilities and options* rather than the actions that are reasonably available to the person you are talking down to is *not* being a good ally.

          Again, you are doing a great job of proving the point. Thanks.

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  25. I’m creating a safe zone training and I would like to include this story. I would of course give you credit for it (with a link back to here). Thanks for your consideration!

  26. Flip says:

    This was a great anecdote. This for me exemplified issues with bureaucratic government agencies (basic social security problems where they consider their faceless judgment more important than your own needs) and treatment by others about psychiatric issues. Wish i had more real allies now that i’ve realised most are just fakes.

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  29. tehgay says:

    This is perfect.

    Perfect perfect perfect.

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  31. The story actually reminded me of something that I did- someone had driven their car into the ditch in front of my house, and nothing we could do could push or pull them out. They couldn’t afford a tow truck, but I couldn’t really see a way out of it other than to get one. I couldn’t really afford one either, but I drove out to get some money to pay the tower. Fortunately, their mother came along, and somehow just gunned the car out of the ditch with sheer estrogen or something.
    So I don’t know how to apply that to the above metaphor- maybe sometimes the prescribed solution is effective if you put some additional support or something? But really good article, I had to look for it again after barely glancing at it at work.

    • fliponymous says:

      That’s actually perfect. If the solution is X, and everyone agrees that X is the solution, and an Ally is able to marshal the resources to accomplish X, then by all means go for it!

      The place where the problems come in is when the putative “Allies” decide that X is what’s needed, and if the group they are claiming to be allies to says that X isn’t the solution because it either doesn’t address Y or we don’t have access to what is needed to make X happen, the so-called Allies act like we’re a bunch of f*ing idiots who are applying some kind of purity test or being “ungrateful” or whatnot.

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  33. onmyown says:

    My partner can NOT understand why I didn’t ask my siblings for help, even just a mean, years and years ago when I was homeless and hungry (and not for lack of trying very hard to find work). My siblings were NOT my allies by any means, not by a long shot. Since other people found/find my siblings to be allies, it’s incomprehensible that they are not such for me. It is impossible to explain. They are the guy insisting on a tow truck while loudly shaming and berating a person just needing a little push.

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  35. purpleonetoo says:

    I couldn’t push because of my COPD. But I could and would have paid for the tow truck. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

    • fliponymous says:

      It would be a good thing to offer. There are cases where the offer may be refused (usually on grounds of pride or dignity). I would have taken you up on it gratefully, although I could see circumstances where I might not have. That day, that time, you bet I would have jumped at the chance.

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