Are you always nice to the people you care about, but when you need them they're suddenly too busy? You should really take a look at these.
Not so long ago, I understood that being too nice isn’t always a positive feature. I had always been proud of being a friendly person who would do anything for those I cared for. So, after being abroad for a year I came back very excited to see all those people I considered to be my closest friends. However, I realized most of them weren’t available for me anymore, and I just thought that when I was away, they had continued with their lives and it was harder for them to make some space for me. In fact what really happened was that they had taken me for granted and thought I’d be there to do whatever they need me to, and once I wasn’t really there to do so, they no longer needed me that much.
At first I was really sad and confused, but one good day after one of them called me to ask me for a favor, I understood that relationships should be two-sided, so I stopped craving to spend time with them or even talking to them frequently (of course, most of the favors ended as well). Now, this not only happens in romantic or friendly relationships. It's also a thing with family, co-workers, and basically every kind of social relationship, and it’s because they’re so used to you being so nice that they just take you for granted. So, here are some signs you can spot to know if that's your case and how you can solve this.
They call you to ask you for something
Now, it’s not always a matter of being around opportunistic people only wanting to use you for their own benefit. The thing is that if you’re always taking care of people around you and you’re always there when they need you, making it easy for them to get used to your attention. Now, if you feel someone often calls you to ask you for something, it’s most likely that they already know you’ll help them, so they’ll only be around when they have a problem you can solve for them.
The first step to break with that pattern is to understand that being nice, or being there for whatever they need, isn’t really what brings you closer to people. In other words, if people want to be with you, they’ll just do it. No one is so important or special for you to try to earn their affection and company with favors.
They have too many things on their mind whenever you call them
Once again, if someone wants to be with you, they won’t need an excuse to do so. They will just be there. It’s quite common for people who take you for granted to just plan and go on with their lives making themselves their main priority, and for that reason, they feel they can schedule making plans with you whenever it fits them and not the other way around.
They start by letting you down whenever you ask them out or even claiming they already have plans. So you really need to stop setting your time to fit theirs. Start doing what you want and if they can't be with you when you need them, don't change your plans on their behalf. Once they see you're not available anytime they want, if they really care, they'll make an effort to spend time with you.
Your opinion isn’t appreciated
Perhaps the heading is quite strong, but I was thinking of a particular scenario. Say you’re always there for one person, call it a friend, partner, colleague, relative. So, no matter what they do, you’ll always support them. However, when they’re facing any situation, they don't really take your opinion into account because they already know you’ll support them and help them pick up the pieces.
This one might be particularly hard to change, since these are people you really care about, and it’s perhaps in your nature to be there and support them when they have a problem, but it’s not your job to do the dirty work. It’s their problem and they’re the ones who must solve their issues. Yes, it’s fine if you’re supportive and care about people, but you’re not their therapist nor superman to solve their problems. Take a step aside and let them deal with their situations.
You feel there’s something missing
That’s basically what we’ve been talking about all the time. If you feel that your relationship with that person is not balanced, it’s because there’s something wrong. I used to have that feeling all the time, but I always assumed it was just me being more attached to the people I cared about. You’ll find excuses everywhere claiming that not everybody is like you and that it doesn’t really mean they don’t care about you. Perhaps that is true, but that doesn’t mean you should just settle for this. There are tons of people that will love being attentive to you, so you don’t have to beg for their attention.
There are no boundaries
If you’ve reached this point, it’s because you’ve probably accepted any request from people around you. There are some boundaries in any type of relationship and once one person crosses it without you telling them you’re not fine with it, there’s no going back. What do I mean with boundaries? Calling you in the middle of the night (more than once) to ask you to do something, meddling with personal things of your life, not calling you in months and one day just showing up to ask you for a favor, and the list goes on.
If you feel things are getting out of control, clearly establish your limits. If they don’t get it or just decide they can do whatever they want because you won’t do anything about it, it’s because they don’t really care about you or what you think. And to be honest, is it really worth it to have a relationship like that?
It’s great being nice to people if it’s in your nature, and it’s most likely that you won’t change that. But there’s a huge difference between accepting the fact that people around you aren’t like you and letting yourself be pushed over. If you want more tips on how to spot manipulative people who are just taking you for granted, take a look at these:
Images by @messinaphotos