No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It’s great to give, but be careful to set boundaries

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readMay 26, 2023
Photo by Nick Hawkins on Unsplash

Thanks to my upbringing and faith, I think it is better to give than to receive. That doesn’t mean I’m not selfish at times, or mean, or even b*tchy. I’m human, and dealing with cancer can make me cranky at times.

When I’m in pain, it’s harder to control my temper. But I try, and I try to find ways to give to those I care about even when life seems rough.

However, I also try to set boundaries because I think that’s healthier for everyone in a relationship.

That being said, I recently let someone ride roughshod over my boundaries.

Of course, I bear the responsibility for this myself.

Here’s what happened:

One of my Facebook friends decided that since I publish articles on Medium, I could help him do the same.

Now, he and I were, at best, acquaintances. I’d met him a few times several years ago as part of a gaming group and one time he drove me home afterwards. During that trip, he told me about how his brother died, and I offered sympathy and told him about resources in the area.

He left town shortly thereafter, and, aside from the occasional FB joke or comment, I wasn’t in touch with him.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.