This was written on 6/6/18: I was thinking today, wondering why it’s so important for me to understand where a person is coming from when they meet me and begin to share things they want or like.
Moreso when there hasn’t been a mutual sharing of information or very little sharing of information.
I reflected on my life, friendships, and relationships and how much of a giver I am. I understand we all desire something from others and some to the point of not realizing or caring the other person in our life isn’t receiving what they desire or need from us, which is the foundation of healthy emotional and physical boundaries. There’s always some level of expectation whether or not we’ve shared what our expectations are for ourselves and others.
Reflecting on some of my friendships and relationships, I’ve realized that I was often in unbalanced ones. They each began nicely and being me, I’d give and give and it’d be appreciated. Sooner or later, my giving became common place, was no longer consciously noticed. In fact, my giving became an expectation and primarily without reciprocation. I’d share my growing feeling of being taken advantage of and unappreciated. If the expectation of my giving and entitlement of my giving continued, I’d slowly stop. The other person usually became critical of my behavior and questioned if I still cared. Thus began the continual decline of the relationship until I made the decision to discontinue the relationship. At this juncture, it was toxic and highly unbalanced.
Since my mother became unwell enough to require 24-hour care, I’ve been constantly re-evaluating people as they come into my life, usually at the onset to determine if I even wanted to pursue a friendship or relationship with them. And, yes, I have re-assessed my current friendships, some of which I’ve since ended. People often share with me what they like, what they want, and how they feel I’m a good match to meet their needs. What my desires and needs are aren’t even questioned and that puts me on high alert in thinking the person is objectifying me and seeks to use me for their pleasure. It happens quite frequently in the kink community. My personal experience is because my profile says I enjoy something, a person will message me saying how he wants me to do such and such because I like it and how much he would enjoy it. There seems to be a lack of thought, and understanding, that simply because I enjoy something doesn’t mean I would enjoy it with them. It doesn’t seem to matter to the person that we’re complete strangers. So, in a writing on my profile, I ask that when messaging me that they state what they desire from a pending friend request. I like knowing upfront what this person is seeking to gain from me so I can make an informed decision as to whether or not I want to engage with them. I understand thoughts and feelings may change and things can be fluid. However, knowing at the onset gives me a reference point to where this person may likely end up in my life.
There’s a saying: “Givers need to set limits because takers never do.” I’ve found that to be true in my life. As well as dealing with people who feel entitled to have their needs and desires met simply because they exist and have made them known.
It grates me when I hear someone say, “I was told I should befriend you because I can learn a lot from you.” Am I an object simply to be learned from? What are they seeking to learn? They’ve assumed I’m their personal teacher, counselor, or life coach. They’ve put me in a position without my knowledge or consent. What about a friendship growing organically and mutually? Can whatever develops between us be reciprocal? I admit to being skeptical of other’s intentions and motivations; so much so that I’ve developed the habit of asking upfront when it seems the person is seeking to gain something from me. No longer will I engage in non-reciprocated friendships. No longer will I allow myself to be used, taken advantage of, or let my giving go unappreciated. I don’t have a problem with ending a friendship if any of those things happen.
What are your experiences with givers and/or takers? Was there a time when you reassessed and re-evaluated your friendships and relationships? If so, what prompted you to do so?
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