So many people think that if they do something once, they have to do it the same way all the time from then on, because “a precedent has been set.” In most cases, that’s just not true. For the most part, when you do something once, it can be dismissed as a “one off.” Twice is the minimum for a precedent to be set.
Breaking the Habit
So, if you paid for a co-worker’s lunch one day when he forgot his wallet, he should not expect the same treatment next week. If, however, you make it a point to pay the next time — even though he probably has his wallet — he might seek a third outing, because he knows he’ll get a free meal.
This same principle can be applied to almost any situation. So many of us get ourselves all worked up about having to do something a certain way, when we could really just explain the previous situation as a “one time deal,” and most people would be completely okay with that! And even if it’s been an “eight time deal,” that doesn’t mean you are required to provide a ninth!
Precedents can be broken at any time, with or without explanation. It’s not like you’re going to get arrested or something! It’s time to stop doing things you don’t want to do, just because you think others expect it, based on past willingness.
by Dragica Farnoush
Residential Life Magazine