I enjoyed laughing at the antics of Larry, Curley and Moe as a kid. Their physical comedy captured my breath and I often seemed to end up with the same expression on my face as the one caught in the middle. Luckily, it was them, not me, feeling the pain of the moment!
But in real life, I hate being a Stooge. Not only am I embarrassed, I regret making the choice of least resistance. Usually it has to do with not being courageous enough to speak up, especially when circumstances are between two people but one of them comes to me to do their dirty work.
They may sweet-talk me into something because they know I like hearing that I'm better at something than they are - "Merri, you know how to say the right thing." "Merri, they won't be upset if they hear it from you." When I'm a stooge it's because I've been duped. I have let my need for affirmation or recognition be more important than my need to redirect them to what they should do. They should directly be involved with the circumstance - not bring me in to replace their efforts.
I have worked with several clients on management techniques to support leadership as well as self-management. This usually involves our recognizing the need to be a part of something - whether it is our business or not. Then helping the direct parties REMAIN the direct parties involved.
Introverts can get the wrong end of the stick. Based on our people skills or our ability to think before we speak, we tend to be the "go to" folks with handling conflict. Stay focused. We mustn't get caught up in being duped. Help others finish their own business. Coach them into reasonable, responsible behavior. Then you won't feel like a stooge. And you will have played your part - this time in redirecting the efforts of the key parties. You won't be caught in the middle.