THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are You A Backdoor Assistant?

Lots of people have assistants. These assistants are paid to do everything from make reservations and organize schedules to dropping off dry cleaning and picking the kids up from school.

Lots of people have friends. These people are in your life because you like them and they like you. You do not have to pay them anything, although you let them put drinks on your bar tab. They do things like counsel you through a breakup and buy you thoughtful presents on your birthday.

There are some people who seem to have a problem telling the difference between a friend and an assistant. This leads to an insidious and sometimes deadly phenomenon - the backdoor assistant. When a friend starts asking a friend to do tasks that most people would get ten bucks an hour for, you begin to blur the lines between genuine friend and insincere boss. As you try your best to be a supportive friend, you begin to lose perspective.

Are you a backdoor assistant? Take this quick quiz and find out!

Which of these is considerd a totally nice, normal thing to do as a favor for your friend?

a) Pick her up from the airport

b) Pick her up from the airport at 2 AM without any notice because she didn't want to wait in line for a taxi

c) Pick her up from the airport at 2 AM without any notice because she didn't want to wait in line for a taxi, carry her bags full of heavy Roman sculpture up the six flights of stairs to her apartment because "her feet hurt," go through her planner to find out what her voicemail password is because she can't remember it, recite her voicemail messages to her because she's too exhausted to type in said password, then realize it's 5 AM and you have to wake up to go to work in an hour.

d) If you're still reading this and haven't punched anyone in the face yet, you might have a problem.

Don't fall prey to this devastating phenomenon! If you suspect that someone is backdoor-assistanting you, you might want to try counseling. Or you could ask your friend to rush off to Bora Bora for the afternoon because you think you left your car keys there. If you let them go and they come back, they're yours forever.