An example of how timidity gives people the opportunity to exploit.
Recently at work, we sat down on break about to enjoy something to eat. One of my colleagues Robert eyed something tasty from the vending machine, but didn't quite have enough money to buy it. Turning around to the rest of the group, he asks 'Has anyone got £0.50 I can borrow?'
'Yep, I have' John responds.
Robert then replies with 'What about £1?
'If you want, yes' said John.
'Actually, how about £5?'
'I haven't got £5!' proclaimed John.
Robert just settled for the £1.
"Everything depends on perception, and once you are seen as the kind of person who quickly goes on the defensive, who is willing to negotiate and be amenable, you will be pushed around without mercy."
- Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
Understand - By backing down and being amenable, John brought out the lion in Robert. John was the only one out of the group to be kind enough to offer money, this made he become the hesitant prey.
Takeaway #1 - When you give confidence to people that they can ask you for something, they will keep asking you, and will likely demand more and more each time.
Takeaway #2 - People will sense your lack of self-respect, therefore they will feel justified in mistreating you.
To be clear, I am not saying to never be kind and helpful. However, you need to have clarity on the potential consequences.
To download a free sample of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, click the book cover below.