I think we all experience a one-sided friendship at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s a friendship where we are putting in more effort than the other person. Maybe it’s a friendship where the other person only calls us when they need something. No matter how kind or generous we are in these friendships, they never seem to change.
I went through a few years of life when I seemed to attract friends who only called or texted when they needed something.
These were friends who I would have over and spend time with, but the friendship was not reciprocated in the way I deserved.
There was the friend who I was there for whenever she had computer problems and needed help (I used to work in information technology). I was there when she needed help moving. I was there when she lost a parent. Whenever she called and needed something, I did my best to be there to help.
The problem with her friendship was she was very pushy and demanding.
She’d say things like “call her at 6 p.m. on Monday”—not asking if it was a good time for me, and then would repeatedly call me if I didn’t call her at the set time.
She’d call and make demands that she needed help with something and be angry if I couldn’t get to it that day.
She was a toxic person to have in my life.
When I became a mom, I certainly did not have time in my life for someone who expected phone calls at a certain time or made demands that I should come over ASAP to do something, like look at a computer issue.
With her, things ended when she made demands of me that I should take my 6-month-old baby out on a 40 degrees below zero windchill day and pick up a prescription for her. She was perfectly capable of doing this herself. She just didn’t want to go out in the cold. When I said no, I was not taking my baby out in that weather, she told me I should go pick up her prescription for her when my husband got home from work.
That day I decided I couldn’t take any more of her.
I had tried to reasonably explain to her that as a mom, my family comes first. I made the decision for my own well-being to drop her friendship totally without explaining to her since she would not listen anyway. I blocked her phone number from my cell phone, blocked her on social media, and ignored the e-mails that started coming with subjects in all capital letters such as “KIMBERLY ANSWER ME.”
Eventually, the e-mails stopped coming. And I felt a sense of peace. She had zero impact on my life anymore. There would never be another demanding request from her.
Breaking off a friendship with her gave me the courage to distance myself from other friendships that were not as toxic, but still weren’t good.
I was able to evaluate friendships with people who caused me plenty of hurt feelings over the years—people who I invited over and included in things, but only seemed to think of me when they needed something.
I could give you a list of people who the last time they contacted me to invite me to something was to do them a favor.
Come set up my wedding rehearsal dinner.
Come to my kid’s baptism this weekend and run a pre-party errand for me.
Come over to my party where I’m going to be selling stuff from my MLM Company.
You get the idea.
Any of these things would be fine from a real friend. I’m always happy to help! The problem is the context of these requests.
When someone only finds your phone number or includes you when they need you to do something, they aren’t a real friend. The issue is not with you. It’s them.
I thought about discussing with them how these people make me feel, but realized if I suddenly started getting invitations that did not involve favors from these people, I wouldn’t view it as genuine. I wouldn’t be getting included because they wanted me there. It would be because I said something to them.
So I’ve let these friendships drift off. I simply learned to say no to continued requests for help from people who don’t value me enough to spend time with me if they aren’t getting help from me.
When they stopped getting favors from me, it’s not surprising that I no longer get texts or phone calls from them.
I’ve decided I would rather focus on the good friends I have.
The friends who sat with my husband while I had surgery so he didn’t have to be alone.
The friends who listened when I had a tough journey to become a mom and let me cry and complain to them.
The friend who came by with lunch for me when my husband had to travel a few weeks after our son came home since she had a feeling I had my hands full with a new baby.
The friends who love my son.
The friends who check in on me and genuinely care how I’m doing.
The friends who enjoy spending time with me.
If any of these friends asked me for a favor, I’d help however I could. They have been there for me and love me for who I am.
Getting rid of friendships with toxic people frees up my time to be there for the people who deserve a friendship with me.
It’s been healing for my heart to only have friendships in my life with people who care about me as a person. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I have are true and worthy of my time and energy.
If you find yourself in friendships where you are only thought of when the other person needs a favor, I hope you distance yourself from that friendship to make room for the friends who love and care about you all the time.
You deserve better friendships.