Did I violate a social norm in helping this homeless person?
October 11, 2013 6:29 PM Subscribe
What's socially acceptable in terms of giving food assistance to homeless people? What should be socially acceptable?
posted by anonymous to human relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So, I was on my way into a co-op market where I live to get some dinner and a lady outside told me she needed some money. She seemed a bit out of it and I told her I couldn't give her any money, but if she was needed something to eat I could get her some food. She wanted something to eat. I was at a grocery store so it seemed to make sense that she could come in and get what she wanted and I'd pay for it.
So I guess she was a little more strung out than I had noticed initially because she was behaving erratically in the store and lots of people around were visibly uncomfortable. Like she asked me to help her get some chicken because she found it too difficult to use the tongs. Her behavior didn't faze me too deeply but I ended up feeling very awkward about imposing on the store and other customers in a sense. It made me question myself. I don't mind having a conversation with people on the street and I feel like I'm aware of the stigma of homelessness and want to understand what it feels like to be invisible in a sense. We ate and talked but I don't get the impression that any of it broke through the addicted/craving headspace she seemed to be in. It's like it only served to make a bunch of people uncomfortable.
Then as a result of acting from that place, I ended up feeling that I pulled the store and the surrounding strangers into having to deal with the situation, and just got this ick feeling of having broken some social rule. I guess I'm trying to process my feelings about it. And if figure out if I did break a social rule, and whether or not it is the sort of social rule that should be broken or needs to be left well enough alone.