How do you get your power back in relationships? Sometimes I feel that
it is difficult when people do not reciprocate when you reach out and
would like to learn some skills to know when to surrender in these sort
of toxic relationships. Thank you. I have built great relationships
with some friends, however over the course of the year I feel there are
similarities in these friendships that make me feel that a) I am doing
something wrong or my expectations are different b) they do not
reciprocate that friendship eg: if I take time to wish them on special
occasions it isn't reciprocated. I feel that "friendships that are true
are reciprocated" and I feel I need to understand when I need to back
away so I do not get hurt. I wish the relationships to be two-sided,
however it is hard to gage and would like learn to be better at
observing these situations. I feel it becomes toxic when it is
one-sided as I sort of tend to put people on a high pedestal....hope
this makes more sense? Thank you. signed, Reciprocate, age 43
Dear Reciprocate, I understand your frustration in this matter
and anytime a person feels that a friendship is one-sided that can be
very stressful and draining for sure. Here are some things for you
1. It is our
"expectations" that cause us more stress and strain in relationships
than we can imagine. We tend to expect others to be mind readers
and to know what we expect and want in return. This is a
problem for all involved.
2. Set some
boundaries with your current relationships for now. Have a heart
to heart talk with one of the closest friends in your life at this time.
Before you have this talk please read our article
Express and Own Your Feelings and
Expectations and Hidden Issues. Use what
we suggest in these article and use the "I" statements and tell them how
you feel and then explain to them what they can do that would allow you
to feel that the friendship is not one-sided. Don't shame them in anyway
- just express how you are feeling and ask for what you need in return.
3. If the friend
is receptive to what you have said then the friendship will improve over
time. If they are not receptive then you must own up to the
fact that the friendship is not as strong as you hoped for and then let
it go. Let it go in the sense of stop doing things for this
person. Stop acknowledging birthdays etc and see what happens in
return. Let go of your expectations of them and the friendship.
4. For future
friendships, take them much slower. Don't go on the giving end
unless you can do so without any expectations in return. Get
to know the person and try to learn from them what they would expect out
of a good friendship. If there seems to be a fit in what they expect in
comparison to what you expect then go forward and work on the
friendship. If not then let it fall where it may. No
expectations and no disappointments in return.
5. This may be a good
time to redefine the word "friendship". A good friend for me is
one that has no expectations of me in return. I don't expect them
to remember my birthday or special occasions and I don't want them to
expect anything like that from me. It all seems like to much
pressure and work when there are "unexplained expectations" and someone
is bound to be disappointed. What I do want from a friend
is support and their ear when I just need to vent or talk about things.
I want to be there for them when they need the same. I have
defined and explained my needs and they have defined and explained
theirs and since there is a match we are able to be friends.
Define what friendship
really means to you and then communicate that to anyone that you desire
to create a friendship with in the future. If the needs and wants
are a match then the friendship will flourish and it will be a
you have free will. This advice is given only in the realm
of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a
for therapy or professional counseling. We wish you well.