“Just tell Suzanne that you’re tired of her pushing her work off on you,” I advised my friend. “Let her know that you are no longer willing to carry her. You’ve been covering for her a long time.”
“I know,” she sighed. “But I don’t want to make a big deal our of this. Suzanne will be angry and she’s the kind of person you don’t want mad at you.”
I was frustrated by her unwillingness to stand up for herself. “It’s taking a toll on you and it’s never going to get any better if you don’t have a conversation with her.”
She looked at me and smiled. It was a smile that communicated, I get it. You’re probably right, but that’s just never going to happen. “It is what it is,” she said.
I walked away. Suzanne had certainly discovered exactly the right person to cover for her. My friend takes her job seriously, she’s not a complainer, and she hates conflict. She will do nearly anything to avoid having someone upset with her. She’s a frequent flyer on the path of least resistance.
The Suzannes of the world seem to find folks like my friend. They zero in and take full advantage. But I believe that others can’t take advantage of us unless we let them. It’s our responsibility to create boundaries that clearly indicate what’s acceptable and what’s not.
It’s not easy to speak up, but it’s essential to find our voice if we want behavior like this to discontinue. My friend believes she’s avoiding conflict, but I disagree. The inner conflict she’s experience is real and it’s damaging.
When we find ourselves in this position, it’s important to pray and seek God’s guidance on the most appropriate way to address the problem. But we must address it. Letting it continue gives the enemy a toehold in our lives where anger and resentment can grow.
If the path of least resistance is a familiar and well traveled route in your life, perhaps today is the day you will finally book a new itinerary!