The No Strings Attached Apple Crisp


A few months ago I made apple crisp for a team that I serve on at work. The apple crisp was partly to celebrate our accomplishment, partly because I love a good apple crisp, and partly because they totally guilted me into making it. (I made one for another team and this team got jealous, but that is another story.)

We consumed most of that crisp, with many having two or three helpings.

Some apple crisp remained.

In order to be able to clean the baking pan, I called another co-worker and offered the remaining apple crisp.

“Hey, I made this apple crisp, it is really good. Do you want some?”

Long pause…

“I guess so…but what do you need?”

I was a little stunned at the reply. I had to regroup.

“I don’t need anything, you see I made this for this particular team, and we had extra and I thought of you.”

Another long pause…

“Ok, but seriously, do you need something from me?”

Eventually the crisp was delivered. A cautious first bite, followed by a second and a third. As I left their office, the suspicion remained.

A few weeks later, I stopped by that office again (not because I needed anything). It was then that the real story came out.

At a company prior to this, if someone did something for you, it was not simply a gesture of goodwill. There were strings attached. Receiving from others created an obligation for you.

Nothing was free. Everything came with a price.

Maybe what we all need is a little more no strings attached apple crisp.

Try it out. Do something for others without expecting something in return. It may be awkward at first because of the expectation of strings from those around you.

Let us all know how it goes. Next time I may try cookies.

The Cost of Free

FreeRecently, someone was describing a difficult relationship. This is no ordinary difficult relationship, but one with someone who is deeply connected with this person.

They have a long history.

It has been difficult.

They still have to interact on a regular basis.

To make matters worse, the other person offers things for FREE. Since these things are typically valuable, there is an incentive to accept these FREE items or events.

As this person described the situations, conversations, or interactions leading up to these FREE offerings, something became abundantly clear.

These offers were anything but FREE.

The COST OF FREE was significant to this person, their family, and those close to them.

The COST OF FREE to this person was in the emotional stress and obligations that these FREE offerings came with after the fact. They became indebted to this other person.

The COST OF FREE to their family was the toll the stress had on their ability to connect with them during these difficult times, and the time away that the other person would eventually require as payment.

The COST OF FREE to those close was also in the form of stress, but also the inability to have the time to connect because they owed someone else their time, energy, and creativity.

I encouraged this person to calculate the COST OF FREE from now on and compare it to the value of what was being offered. Before this, they just saw the value of what was being offered and felt the obligation to say YES.

Now they can calculate the COST OF FREE and if that cost outweighs the offer, they can say NO.

Have you considered the COST OF FREE? Maybe it is time count the cost.

You may find a way to FREE yourself.