Friendship Part 2: Unrequited Friendship

I like to start this topic with a story. When I was in elementary school, I had this friend who always wanted to hang around me. We rode the same bus and she lived really close to my house. She would always come over and ask to play. I didn’t like this friend very much. She was pretty weird and I really wanted to spend time with the more popular kids. When she wanted to hang out, I didn’t say no. However, I did make attempts to avoid her so that she wouldn’t get the opportunity to even ask. Now, as an adult I realize that it doesn’t matter that she was weird. She wasn’t cool or popular, but she treated me better than any of those other kids did and I should have appreciated our friendship more. This is an example of unrequited friendship. To her, we were really close friends, but I did not feel the same way. Throughout the years I have found myself in her shoes. Thanks karma.

Unrequited friendship is not as cruel as unrequited love. It isn’t something that is heartbreaking, but it is still kind of sad when you realize you are in that type of relationship. You think you are close with someone  until you realize that they don’t do certain things for you or invite you to certain places/events. When that realization hits you, you almost don’t want to do things with that person anymore. You start to wonder why you even bother inviting this person to places or why you go out of your way to do certain things for them.  You realize you spent all this time and energy on a friend that you thought you were close with.

Is this something you brought upon yourself? What I mean when I say this is did you want to be close friends with this person so badly that you were willing to do all this stuff for them thinking that they would feel the same way about you? And when they don’t, who should you be upset with? When you realize that you are in an unrequited relationship, don’t stop being friends with that person. You all are still friends, but just not as close as you thought. You have to adjust your expectations of the relationship. Maybe you are okay with the friendship being unbalanced. When I was in college, I had this friend (barely) that I would let use my meal swipes and that I would invite to certain events. This guy never did anything for me. But, I knew from the jump the type of relationship it was. I enjoyed the conversations we had in the dining halls and I just thought he was really cool to hang out with. I knew he only hung out with me for the free meals, but I was perfectly fine with that.

Now, if you are not okay with the unbalance then you have to stop doing certain things for that person. It’s hard because the other person has no idea how you are feeling and are unaware of what is happening. You can address it, but that could cause more issues because that person didn’t really do anything wrong. It’s tough, but you have to respect yourself first and foremost. It is like eating. We eat because when we exert energy we need to refuel. If you exert all this energy in a friendship that is not feeding you in return then you are going to be drained and starving.

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