Someone I know recently mentioned the phrase “voluntold” in one of her sentences, which caused us to laugh at what she was talking about. Although this was a word we had never heard before, it was all too familiar. We were happy to hear that someone had actually made up a word that made total sense to that very action!
It never occurred to me that my mother telling me to help my neighbor take out the trash when I was younger was actually me being “voluntold”. Nor did it occur to me that me being put in charge of a task or committee that no one else was interested in being a part of was actually me being “voluntold”. This has been happening my entire life, and I never realized it until the word was said out loud: “You have been voluntold.”
Volunteering and “voluntold” are two COMPLETELY different words. To volunteer, you have to be willing (and wanting) to help with something, whether it be an activity, helping someone in the kitchen, event coordination, etc. Whatever it may be, it is something that you have volunteered yourself to do out of the kindness of your own heart. “Voluntold”, on the other hand, is when you have been so graciously volunteered by someone else. It doesn’t matter if you were volunteered by someone else behind your back or right in front of your face, but you know when you have been “voluntold”. You get that slight twist in your stomach and a small twitch begins to bother your eyelid. Just as you are about to protest, the other person in the conversation thinks it is a wonderful idea and cannot thank you enough! As you are closing your mouth and slowly lowering the pointer finger you were holding up in the air to dismiss yourself, you come to the realization that yes, you have been “voluntold” to do something that you can not get out of.
So the next time you find yourself doing something with a slight grumble, you may want to ask if you volunteered for it, or if you were “voluntold”. Can’t remember offering those services yourself? Sorry buddy, but you’ve been “voluntold”.