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Author: slowlythere Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3078  
Subject: How do you respond? Date: 1/3/2008 1:51 PM
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A long time ago, I used to be honest about volunteering.

After I started to get responses sometimes about, "oh, so you did your good deed for the day (week, month, year, etc.)," or "so you earned your brownie points for your merit badge" (often sarcastic). To be honest, it actually disturbs me as I just don't get why some people assume that people only volunteer because they need to earn "points" (literally or figuratively). I remember also pointedly two weeks ago (just before Christmas), I was helping a blind man with his dog to navigate a difficult area (he had asked for assistance and then I was the only one to offer). He also said to me, "so you've done your good deed for the day, etc."

Honestly, I don't try and do "good deeds" to make myself feel like an angel. I do so-called good deeds because I can, I have an interest in doing so, and I don't mind sharing (time, energy, skills, etc.). Strange as it may seem, sometimes I pick up that some people resent do-gooders. I'm not sure.

The first time that I noticed being distressed about this, I had been volunteering at a facility for homeless and transitional housing. After about a month, some of the transitional housing residents got comfortable with me, etc. About half of them were there for mental illness issues as well, which may have some bearing. One of them, had kept asking me, "but what do you get out of volunteering? Why are you doing this? Don't you get [something substantive] for doing this?" It seemed to him that there was no logical reason for anyone to volunteer unless there was some sort of justification, pragmatic purpose, or perhaps even probation (seriously). In the case, I should point out that this man was somewhat hostile, suspicious, or something, but I simply can't understand why he started to try and literally challenge me as for why I'm there.

Though he may have had his own reasons, I realized afterwards that even every-day "functioning" people seem to have the same deepseated suspicions when they've never willingly and genuinely volunteered. I've tried to think of how to respond to it, but I find that many of the people who seem to ask this question just don't get it and become suspicious of people who volunteer. Then again, I also should mention that I'm around a lot of people who apparently would never consider volunteering (or have literally called such people "saps" or "suckers").

I've wondered about if others have ever had these thoughts and concerns. Also if you have any ideas for humorous, even humorously sarcastic, responses, I'd appreciate it. (I've debated saying something like, "well I'm on probation and conditions of my probation involved community service," though I'd like to make it funnier than that.)
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