Hi everyone and welcome back!
In case you missed last week’s post on "Are You 'Being Used' Or In A 'One Sided Relationship' Part 1" here’s the link for your reference which I recommend you read first before this post as we address what warning signs to look for.
This week I want to discuss how we can go about reducing our stress when it comes to 'being used' or in a 'one sided relationship'.
I don’t know about you but I don’t like the feeling of being a ‘door mat’ to other people? At the end of the day I think I deserve to be treated better, and I hope you feel that way too!
When we start to analysis what type of relationships we have with people we can understand what their intentions might be. And if it turns out you're being used then here are few different avenues you can take, because let’s face it there’s ‘no point in getting emotionally stressed due to an inconsiderate person’.
Firstly, you need to decide if you want to ‘save the friendship’ or ‘kill it off’ as both options require completely different approaches. Depending on how you feel about the person will ultimately determine your decision.
There are four different approaches I take depending on who I’m dealing with and how confident I feel I can communicate with them:
- Kill off the friendship in a non-confrontation way
- Kill off the friendship by being up front and telling them how you feel
- Save the friendship by broaching the subject and being upfront and honest
- Save the friendship by subtly dropping hints and hoping to get your message across
First and foremost, it’s important to tackle this situation correctly because going in ‘all guns a blazing’ is not going to work (I know this from personal experience!!). I would suggest being a little calmer and clear in the mind in order to communicate effectively.
Secondly, I want to ‘stress’ all people and circumstances are different therefore these approaches might not be suitable for everyone.
It’s also important to note you don’t always have to try to work out everything if you think the person will not change and/or just take everything you say the wrong way and become defensive.
If you are not good at confronting people and feel that might stress you or you just can’t be bothered trying to ‘save’ the friendship, then here’s a guide with a few ideas which might help you work out what approach to take.
1. Kill off the friendship in a non-confrontation way
This approach is great if you are certain you don’t want to continue the relationship or can’t be bothered dealing with that person anymore. This is also the least stressful way for both parties in killing off the friendship.
The easy non-confrontational avenue might go a little something like this however it’s important to remember all people and circumstances are different. So depending on the situation here are few ideas which may help you free yourself from this emotional stress.
Slowly little by little become less engaged in their lives which you can do by not calling them to start off with. Then over time if they call/message you then catch up with them only every second time they contact you. Don’t make plans to see them in the future just be vague about your plans if they ask.
Over the course of time, this will effectively ‘kill’ off the relationship. This is done by slowly distancing yourself over the course of time. If they ask why you are being distant, just tell them you have been busy. You never know maybe they might change their attitude towards you, and start putting in more of an effort!
2. Kill off the friendship by being up front and telling them how you feel
This approach is can be a little intimidating if you not confident in your communication skills however I’m about to help you with the way you can try and word the start of the conversation. I would only take this approach if I was sure I wanted to end the relationship once and for all because it was causing too much emotional stress to continue.
The most important piece of advice I am going to give you is, don’t rehearse a conversation in your mind because it never, ever happens the way you think it will!
Don’t make a really big deal about it and if you think you can’t do it in person then maybe an email/letter might be a good idea? I’ll get to the email in a minute, first things first the face to face conversation.
Start out with general catch up and see how the person is at the time. Then when you think it’s an appropriate moment maybe say something along these lines?
Start with: I wanted to raise something with you in now a good time to talk? If they say yes then maybe start off with something like this. Over the last few months/years I feel this relationship has become one sided, I sorry if you don’t feel this way, but that’s just how I feel. It’s gotten to the point where I feel I can’t continue this friendship, I’m sorry but it just needs to end. Then give examples.
Give an example: Remember the other week/month when…… I feel I am always there for you but you aren’t there when I need you like the other week/month…..
Follow up with: I feel like there is a constant pattern emerging and I don’t want to feel this way anymore. Because I respect you I wanted to let you know I no longer wish to continue our friendship, I hope you understand where I am coming from. I’m not attacking you personally so please don’t take it that way. I require a different type of friendship/relationship than the one we have right now. I wish you all the best in life and I hope you are happy.
Even if the conversation doesn’t go that way use key word phrases:
- I feel like I am here for you all the time but when I need you, you aren’t there for me
- I’m not happy because I feel upset and at times taken for granted
- I feel I have supported you and I don’t understand why you can’t do the same for me? It’s upsetting to me and I don’t want to feel this way anymore
- I don’t know how to say this because it hurts me to do this but…….
- I feel our friendship has taken a turn and I don’t know what happened but….
- We used to be so supportive of each other but lately I feel that’s changed.
They might accept what you say, there might be an argument or even resentment. At the end of the day when you are ‘ending’ something it doesn’t always go the way you want it to. However, if you feel the relationship has to end then stand your ground and make it happen. Try to remember to remain level headed and as calm as possible during the conversation.
NOTE: There’s also a high probability that when you confront this person there might be an unfavourable response because no one likes being told ‘they’re not perfect and you don’t want to be friends with them anymore’. It can be hurtful for the other party to hear you say you're not ‘wanting to be around them anymore’. That’s why it’s important to work out what is going to cause you less stress in the long run, do you kill or save? What works best for you? Is having a potential unfavourable and confronting discussion going to be more beneficial for your mental health long term? If you want to wait until I *blog about ‘how to deal with your feelings after a confrontation’ because the conversation might go south and became unfavourable, then hold off on this discussion until then and maybe try implementing the ‘killing off slowly’ approach? * blog will be coming in the next few months.
My email/letter advice is pretty much the same as above. In your own words type/write the message you wish to get across. Again I personally would use the words ‘I feel’ and follow the example above. Start with your introduction, give an example than follow up with final thoughts. Maybe saying something like ‘I wish our friendship didn’t have to end this way but I respect you too much to not tell you the truth, therefore I am letting you know how I feel’. This may help soften the blow to the person who receives the email or letter. Avoid saying things like ‘You don’t respect me’ or ‘You should treat me better’ because that can inflame and trigger and annoyance in people as they can feel they are being attacked.
3. Save the friendship by broaching the subject and being upfront and honest
This approach can go either way as the person you are confronting might be taking it as a personal attack or they might see your side of the story and together you can work things out.
As advised above (Kill of the friendship by being up front) however here are the differences:
Start out on a lighter note: Is it just me? Am I going a little mad? Or has our friendship started to be a little one sided? Tell me if you think I am reading too much into this, I just feel somethings not right at the moment.
Then give an example: Remember the other week/month when…… I feel I am always there for you but you aren’t there when I need you like the other week/month…..
Then follow up with: Rather than just distancing myself from you I am trying to work this out because I value our friendship.
Remember your key words: I feel, I’m not happy, Is it just me? This way you are giving them an ‘out’ pass so they don’t feel like they are being attacked.
If after this conversation if nothing really changes then it’s time to either accept or reject the relationship.
4. Save the friendship by subtly dropping hints and hoping to get your message across
This approach is great if you are trying to gauge how the person will react if you decide to tackle it head on. Also, it allows the person to have a little think about what you are saying so they can go away and process what was said. However, there is also the chance they might not get your hints therefore you may need to reassess your approach.
An easy example of words you say light-heartedly and without tone:
The other week I really needed help it's unfortunate no one was around to help me, I feel I’m constantly there for other people, but no one is there when I need them! I feel like I’m alone when I need help from others (this needs to be said without tone in your voice or it can be taken the wrong way).
Work out subtle hints into the conversation by bringing up a subject and a person who makes you feel like you are in a one sided friendship and ask them for their opinion:
‘I wanted your advice on what you think I can do about ‘insert name here’ because I’m starting to feel they are not supporting me when I need them, but I am expected to support them in their hour of need. Give examples of how you support them. Give examples of how they don’t support you.
I did this with a friend of mine, here’s the abridged version of the conversation:
C32: “I’m annoyed this person expects me to ‘like’ their business pages on Facebook and they want me to like and/or share their posts but hey will not do the same for me on my blog!”
Friend: “That’s not right”
C32: “I know considering I show them support I don’t understand why they can’t do the same for me. I have spent hours helping them with personal problems. Is it really too much to ask for them to hit the ‘Like’ button?
Friend: “No a friend should do that”
C32: ‘My thoughts exactly”
That friend who I was talking to was smart enough to understand I wasn’t only referring to someone else, but I was also letting them know I was upset they didn’t like my page because I support them in so many other ways. A few weeks later they ‘liked’ my Character 32 page on Facebook so my subtle hint worked.
NOTE: At times we can feel we are being used or in a one sided relationship and the other party have no idea you feel this way. So be mindful with your words and if they are willing to accept the way you feel, then maybe there is a chance you can fix your relationship. At times we can be subconsciously selfish and not realise we are hurting those around us.
So what does the 'Big 3’ Stress Solutions Puzzle look like when it comes to 'being used' or in a 'one sided relationship'?
I won’t repeat everything I wrote last week (Part 1) in this section of the blog, but if you need a friendly reminder here’s the link to help you out (scroll down to the 'Big 3' Stress Solutions Puzzle section of the blog).
Sometimes friendships are just one sided and that’s the way it is. But it’s not healthy to stay in that relationship if it’s causing you emotional stress.
When we are dealing with people who make us feel like we are 'being used' or in a 'one sided relationship' it becomes very emotionally stressful. We can start to over think and over analysis things. It can make us doubt our self-worth which can lead to insecurity issues.
The feeling of not being good enough is a horrible feeling so it’s important to remember you are just as important as everyone else. You are worthy of having people around you who appreciate you.
Remember the people who you have in your life that support you, and forget about the others who cause you to be distressed. Life is too short to worry and you have the power to be happy!
Life is about learning, loving, living and being happy! So put yourself and your self-worth first. Don’t let other people bring you down. You are fantastic and worth it and once you clear the negative people out of your life it frees up the room to fill it with more positive people.
Even though putting yourself first is a priority it’s nice to remember to help others if/when you can along the way.
Until next time be thoughtful, be mindful, be present. This is Character 32 doing her best to help you!
(Note: I’ll be blogging on multiple subject matters regarding friendships/relationships in the new year 2017)