By Lindy Earl
I have friends, both male and female friends, who only call me when they need someone. Not something, but someone. A work event is coming up and they don’t want to go alone, so they call Lindy. They need help shopping for something for their house, and they want a second opinion, so they call Lindy. They have a problem at work and need to talk it out, so they call Lindy.
These people are more involved with themselves than anyone else. There is almost an innate selfishness in them, in that they can’t see that they use people at their convenience. I’m guessing these people also have other friends in their lives they call for other matters or when I’m not available. They have people in their lives as helpers, not for relationships.
Now, many of these people are very nice. In fact, they have been there for me when I needed something. But I try to keep in touch with people, even when I don’t need something. I want friendships. I want to hear about your day and tell you about mine. I want to be happy for you when things go your way and cry with you when they don’t.
You may have people in your life who have you in their lives for convenience. So, what do we do with these people? Here are some thoughts . . .
First, you can allow it. In one case, I have a really good time with this person. We don’t see one another often, but when we do, it’s fun! Even if it is a favor, it’s comfortable and we laugh a lot. So I let them use me, as some people would see it. I benefit from our situation, too, in that very little is expected of me. This is not a demanding relationship.
A second idea is to oust them. This is sometimes the only option. In my experience, this is the best choice when they only see me for emotional support, such as after a break up or a bad time at work. I think they call me because their more daily friends have blocked conversations about their latest mishap. So, having worn out their welcome, they call me. It is asking too much. They aren’t seeking counsel or support. They want someone who will listen to them complain and tell them it will all be okay. I can’t say that when I don’t believe it. What they need is a licensed therapist. So, not accepting their calls, and not returning messages, may be one way to oust them from your life. Of course, I’m in favor of a more direct approach, but that’s a painful conversation on both sides.
A third idea is to control it. Yes, it’s okay to occasionally be there for a friend. Just keep your expectations in check. Your being there for them is not going to suddenly change things. Remember, they see you as a convenience. That’s all you are to them. If you think that helping them will make them open their eyes and realize how wonderful you are, then they are controlling the situation and that’s not good. You could get hurt, so stay in control.
My last idea is to run. If you are in love with somebody, or not over the relationship, then you do not need to, and should not, subject yourself to watching them move on with their life. They should not be calling on you either, but you’re a convenient friend and they know you will be there for them. Run! Surprise them by not being there for them. Do not allow them to manipulate you. Your heart is on the line, even if you don’t want it to be. Do yourself a favor and do not have anything to do with them. Maybe it will change one day, right? Well, maybe so, but until your feelings are equally returned, stay away.
I don’t think any of us intentionally uses friends as convenience items, and we certainly don’t intentionally allow ourselves to be used for others’ convenience, but it happens. Take some time and examine some of your friendships, both guys and girls, and see if any of this rings true. If so, then choose one of the options offered, or create some of your own. A healthy relationship has a lot of back and forth, wanting the best for one another, and not just being there when one person needs you. That makes you a servant, not a friend.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find her on Face Book. Join her FB support group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating.