Have you ever been the person who remembers everyone’s birthday even though most people forget yours? Are you the friend who calls someone frequently to check up on them but your “friends” don’t check up on you? If you answered yes to any of these, then you, my friend, are the sensitive friend.
This is how I categorize myself as well. I spend so much time trying to be the “best friend” or “the caring one,” yet when I stop to think I always get the “what about me?” thought. Don’t get me wrong; there are few friends in my life that actually do care, such as my spouse and a few close friends. However, the majority of my friends assume that I should always be there for them, but they don’t have to be there for me.
I have to lie through my teeth to make everyone in my life happy. At the same time, they can be as brutally honest with me as they want. I’m almost 100% certain that I set this precedent for myself, but now that I’m in it, how do I escape? So, here are four steps to take that’ll help you overcome being the sensitive friend, and avoid getting taken advantage of.
1. If your friends don’t care about you, don’t care about them.
This is a challenging one for sure. When I don’t care about other people, I feel as if I’m doing something wrong, but in reality, this is not true. On the contrary, it is actually worse to encourage a negative attitude towards you. When you care for others and they don’t care for you, you give them a green light to mistreat you. If you haven’t checked on someone in a while because they’ve been distant, your friend might be more inclined to check on you and see if you’re okay. And if they don’t, you have the wrong friends (I know I do).
2. Stop trying to make everyone happy and focus on yourself.
You may notice a friend who’s having a rough time and try to help them. But they either don’t accept the advice or are never there when you need their help. This seems like such an easy concept. But for me, it’s hard to comprehend that I shouldn’t help the friends that never help me. Does your friend asks you for a favor, but then when you need help they refuse to care? If so, this is not a friendship. This is them taking advantage of you. A real friend will do their best to reciprocate the care you’ve given them because they are grateful for your help. If someone is expecting your help but never helps you then keep them at a distance. Don’t offer any assistance, and live your best life even if it means being without them.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
If you’re having an issue with a friend, the worst thing you can do is to avoid the problem. I am very guilty of this. Since I’m a sensitive person, I tend to hide my real feelings out of fear of losing my friends. As a result, I develop severe anxiety around them and don’t even want to be near them. In the past, I have been told I was crazy or irrational for speaking my mind, but I’ve eventually realized that it was actually them who were the irrational ones. Furthermore, it was crazy that they didn’t listen to and help me since I’ve opened up to them. Hence, remember to always speak your truth and if your friends leave then they were never meant to be there in the first place.
4. If you can’t be yourself, then you have the wrong friends.
If you can’t share your secrets with friends without them gossiping about you or judging you then they don’t belong in your life. If you act silly or have a unique personality and they make fun of you and call you “weird” or “lame” then find someone who understands your personality. You cannot allow people to bully you for being who you are. If you’re afraid nobody will accept you for you, remember this: “there are millions of the people in the world who probably feel just as scared to be themselves as you do.” If you feel uncomfortable, go find friends that make you feel safe and happy.
Finally, it’s not about being selfish or mean. However, when you have looked out for others for so long, you tend to lose yourself in the process. No amount of caring is worth sabotaging your own mental health and well-being. There’s nothing wrong with being sensitive, but just don’t let others always take priority. Let’s all stop being afraid to put ourselves first!