It can be a bit disheartening when you get to a point in a platonic relationship where you realize you may be better off by completely removing yourself from the situation. This feeling of dread is exemplified when it’s someone that you’ve been friends with for years or have had countless great moments with. The reality of the matter however, is that you always have to put your own happiness and emotional comfort first, besides, it’s what most other people do themselves. I’m personally learning that consistently attempting to be a good friend and support system to those who can’t return the favor isn’t a sensible course of action.
While I was raised on the mantra of “treat others the way you want to be treated”, as I get older and deal with varying degrees of social relationships, I realize that I need to start treating others the way that they treat me. I’ve come to the somewhat unfortunate realization that not everyone in my life that I have a decent rapport with can be legitimately labeled as a true friend, nor can they be depended on as a support system.
Consistently crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t even step in a puddle for me has been a problem that I’ve long struggled with, but never quite knew how to properly manage for my own sake. I constantly felt the need to still be there for them as I would want someone to be there for me, all the while, those same people weren’t doing much, if anything for me. As a friend, the most I ever asked is that someone make time for me so we can hang out so when someone won’t even do that, is there even a point in being friends?
Finally at 26 years old, I feel like I’m at the point of simply not giving a fuck about “hurting” other people’s feelings, and instead, putting out the same energy (or lack thereof) that’s provided to me.
Now, by no means am I saying I’m a “perfect” friend. I lose touch with people as I now have a busy life and schedule to manage, but it’s never intentional and isn’t a constant thing. In saying that, I also don’t tend to ask anyone for anything, so I’m not a person who brings little or nothing to a friendship or social relationship, yet expects everything.
If I had to describe myself as a friend, I’d do so as such: I’m that friend who tends to go above and beyond when you need something, without you having to ask – whether it be a material, business, or emotional need. Starting a business and don’t know what to do? I’m that friend who will refer you to successful business owners who can give you advice and resources. Having an event? I’m that friend that not only shows up, but tries my best to get more people to come out and support. Need a listening ear? I’m that friend who will listen to you vent out all of your frustrations about life until 3am, without a complaint. Feeling down about yourself? I’m that friend who will bombard you with compliments and get you out of your funk so you can realize just how great you are.
In the past, I’ve simply ignored things not being reciprocated and chalked it up to my anxiety making me feel like as though I’m overthinking things. Currently however, I’m fully realizing the lack of appreciation that some have consistently had for me, and that there’s no reason for me to continue being in someone’s corner when they’re rarely, if ever, in mine. Now, don’t get me wrong – I totally understand that everyone has a life and things that they need to focus on for their own well being and happiness, and that’s absolutely fine. The problem arises when things are never reciprocated or when people only make an effort to contact you when it could benefit them in some way.
This cycle of a one sided friendship can take a toll on you, especially when you’re like me and tend to always put others before yourself because you’re often thinking about the other person/people and what would benefit them. Based on my experience, it simply takes some time and/or a defining moment in your life where you’re truly shown who is really there for you, and those who may not value you as much as you value them. When this happens, you have to take steps to remove yourself as it’s the best thing for you to do.
I’ve officially decided to remove myself from one sided situations and selfish people with no care of their feelings because it’s what’s best for me.
In saying all of this, I do have a few people who are consistently supporting and encouraging me in various ways, and I give my all when it comes to being there for them in any way possible. These people have shown me that I can still be the naturally supportive person that I am, and that I shouldn’t stop being nice just because of the actions, or lack thereof, of others. When you find people who truly care about you as much or even more than you care about them, cherish them and make them the ones that you always stand by.