I haven’t really blogged that much recently because I didn’t want it to be like my old blog, where I felt forced to write all of the time because it was what I was doing for a living.
With this blog, I just want to be able to write when I feel able to so that it doesn’t become tedious. But recently something happened that I feel I need to write not just for myself but for anyone going through a similar situation.
Last night, I had to step back and re-evaluate my worth. It may sound silly, but there was a sudden moment when I realised that I wasn’t happy with the way I was being treated by someone very close to me.
I realised that the person I was close to, I wasn’t close to for the right reasons. Our friendship was very one-sided, and to tell you the truth I was getting nothing out of it. I don’t want to go too into detail because I’d like to respect this person, but I feel this is something important I’d like to write about for myself.
I was in a friendship with someone for two years. We had a great time together, we were always very close and we could go months without talking and then pick things up again like we’d never been apart. There was only one problem. I was contributing most things to the friendship.
They gave me their time, their positivity and their entertainment – and in return, I funded it.
Now, a friendship should work equally. You should both be able to enjoy your time together without one person falling shorter than the other. But that wasn’t the case. I was often left with a hefty dent in my bank account from consistently footing the bill for this person. And at first I accepted it, after all my money was going towards memories with this person, and I was having fun – but it wasn’t so fun afterwards when I had to be a lot stricter over necessities, simply because I was never just paying for me, it was always for the both of us.
I excused it for so long, telling myself ‘it’s just what friends do’, but recently I realised that’s just not the case. Because it wasn’t just the aspect of paying for things. I read back through my messages and realised that every time we’d met up, we’d make plans only to be told just before they had no money. Most people, surely, would let a person know before making plans – but this person did it because they simply expected me to accept it, and continue with the plans despite them being unable to contribute to them themselves. As a one-off, this is fine. But as a regular occurrence? It’s not okay.
If I wasn’t able to pay for it, we wouldn’t hang out. And for most people that would be fine, but because I’d become so used to funding our time together I started feeling obligated to do so and would actually feel guilty about not being able to do something because I didn’t want to foot the bill.
It was like the friendship wasn’t free – I either bought it or I was left with nothing.
I’ll admit it, much of it was my own fault. I could’ve said no on so many occasions but as I mentioned above, it felt obligatory – as though we’d have no friendship if I didn’t just suck it up.
And for me, that was a big deal. As someone who’s chronically ill, I don’t get to go out much. I only see a few close friends because going out more publicly and meeting new people makes me nervous because I am constantly worrying about my stomach. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that immediately, before any plans commence, I will ensure we are close to home so that I can come back if needs be. That they’ll remind me to take my medication. That they’ll be there if I begin to feel poorly so I’m not left alone.
And that makes you feel like a burden.
So, to have someone around me who I could enjoy my time with, and felt 100% comfortable with, was a pretty big deal – even if it was taking a chunk out of my bank account.
But a recent occurrence showed that I couldn’t go on like that. I won’t go into detail but the gist of it is that I put a lot of effort into this person to get them through a bad couple of days, putting them first and leaving me having to take a chunk out of my savings.
Two weeks after I’d done so, and I hadn’t heard from this person. Not a peep. Not even a message of thanks.
And last night, I decided enough’s enough. Why should I constantly put effort into a friendship with someone who refuses to put effort in with me? Why should I feel it’s okay for someone to take and take and take from me when I’m getting nothing in return? It’s not an equal friendship. It’s relationship of power – one where I never had the upper-hand. And friendship shouldn’t be about that. You should never feel obligated to do things just to keep a friendship going. It should’t be one-sided. It should be a mutual agreement of respect and understanding – and you should never, ever feel taken advantage of by someone who is meant to be promising that.
As I mentioned above, I was naive, and I only wish I’d taken a step back to evaluate the situation sooner so I didn’t have to learn such an expensive lesson, but alas, here we are.
Of course, these feelings within a friendship won’t always occur for financial reasons – but they send the same message. If someone is repeatedly taking you for granted to the point you expect nothing less and come to expect it, put an end to it. Don’t be that person, like me, feeling guilty because you don’t want to give something to the friendship that your ‘friend’ isn’t giving you in return.
Take some time to evaluate your own feelings and ask yourself whether it’s worth it. Whether the friendship is worth it or whether that friendship will only last depending when you finally decide enough is enough.
Know when enough is enough.
Know your worth.
I only wish I’d known sooner.