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Have you ever given something to someone only to regret it later? Giving, can come in all shapes and sizes. If you are not careful you can give away things you never intended to give. Precious resources that you can never get back.
That is exactly what happened to me.
I gave away my physical possessions. I gave away my energy. I gave away TONS of my time. And in the end my happiness also greatly suffered.
It all started so innocently with a couple that my husband and I desired to be close with. From the outside looking in, it seemed like a match made in heaven. From the very beginning we seemed to have so much in common with them.
Our kids were very close in age, we shared a lot of the same hobbies, we could joke around with each other, and really seemed to like being with each other.
It just seemed so right, and so full of potential.
However, very early into the relationship our friends happened to fall upon rough times financially and needed our help. They did not come out and ask for money directly, but they did ask for clothing and toys for their kids.
And so I did what I thought any good friend would do; I rounded up all the clothes and toys we either no longer needed or used and I brought them to her.
I did this a handful of times, until one day I noticed some of the things I had gifted her, were for sale on facebook rummage sites. Shortly after that, I heard through the grapevine that her and her husband were headed off to a nice couples vacation.
“Oh isn’t that nice”
It didn’t take too many vacations before I started to see a pattern, and I quickly started to be a bit more selective about the things I gifted her.
Coincidentally as soon as I stopped giving so much, she found herself “too busy” to hang out and we lost touch for a while.
Fast forward a couple years. We found ourselves involved in some of the same activities and trying to reconnect again.
It didn’t take long before she was “needing” me again.
Only this time it was to watch her kids. I gladly obliged, telling myself that it was something nice that I could do for her and would surely help to repair whatever lost connection we had before.
Sometimes I would take her kids for a few hours and other times I would take them for a few days.
We did many overnights, almost all of them being vacation getaways for her and her husband.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.
Every time I would take them, I would complain to my husband.
I would say things like, “I feel like all I do, is do favors for them, but we never actually hang out or do anything fun with them?”
I consistently told him that “I felt like I was their hired help, only I never got paid”
We rarely asked them for anything, but if we did it almost always fell upon deaf ears.
Nothing ever seemed to come back our way?
We also did lots of physical work for them over the years too! Like when their dishwasher broke and flooded their kitchen. They enlisted our help to completely remodel their kitchen.
We did it with cheerful hearts, because that is what you do for friends? Right?
Between all of these events, we would consistently ask them to hang out as a couple or as families.
<span”>After a full day of working on their kitchen remodel, we would say “Hey, what are you doing next weekend, or the weekend after that? You want to hang out one of these days?”
Once again, met with the excuse of being “too busy” or “let them think about it and get back to us”
They even tried to use the excuse that she was “too introverted” and that is why we never hung out.
Over the years we maybe hung out with them once per year!
When we did, they would choose the time, the place, and even what we would eat! If we tried to suggest something different, they would threaten to call off the whole thing.
It all felt SO controlling.
I am ashamed to even write this, but it took years of this before we finally said enough is enough.
Either they were going to start making us a priority in their life, or they would need to find someone else to do all their dirty work!
We pulled them aside and tried to tell them exactly how we felt. Just like I predicted, they disappeared, like ghosts in the night.
I was sad, disappointed, and downright angry!
How had I not seen them for who they really were?
How was I blind for so long?
Why did I allow them to steal literally 100’s of hours from my life?
All while believing that they were my friends?
In this world there are givers and there are takers.
They are most definitely takers!
When I look back, I see the warning signs as plain as day.
The alarms were going off, almost from day one, but apparently I became so accustomed to them that they became no more than white noise.
If I could do it all over again I would have found the strength to tell them “no” very early on. I would have trusted my gut!
I would have established clear boundaries, and stood by them!
I also would have known that…
Some people will love you only as much as they can use you, their loyalty ends where their benefits stop.
If you allow people to make more withdrawls than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account.
Do you have a taker in your life?
Here are some character qualities to look out for in a taker….
1. They only want to hang out when it’s convenient for them.
2. They don’t show interest in your personal life.
3.They are always making you pay for things.
4.They only reach out when they need help.
5.They’re constantly asking you to do favors for them.
To sum it all up, you can clearly recognize a taker by how poorly they treat people they believe are of no use to them. You know you’re in a relationship with a taker when you feel they suck you dry for all you have—money, affection, time, etc. Once the taker has everything they want, they may relegate you to the “unimportant” sphere of their life.
If this sounds anything like someone you are currently in a relationship with, please do me a favor and don’t spend years telling yourself they will change!
If they didn’t value you from the very beginning, no amount of YOU giving MORE. OF. ANYTHING is going to change that!
Take it from me and love yourself enough to let them go!