It is really old advice that we have all heard before, but may have not spent a lot of time contemplating or applying to our own lives. I mention often how many memes I witness floating through social media are about letting go of abusive people or simply eliminating those individuals who only seek to be on the receiving end of a relationship from our lives. I don’t know whether this is because people have so much difficulty establishing relationships, or because there are so many takers out there in the world. Being a positive person, I choose to believe in the former, but saying that, I also have to admit that I have had to extract myself from many relationships with people who I will not exactly call takers, but I will rather refer to as people who just are not ready for the kind of help I have to offer.
In almost all of the situations where I have had to back off of a relationship, it is at the point where I have come to understand that the friend in question is absolutely unwilling to motivate themselves to solve their own problem,s and is either incessantly relying on me to solve them for them or to comfort them through their constant grief over their situation. I believe that there are three general reasons that people become this way:
Firstly, are the people who are simply highly immature and are attracted to people with maturity and wisdom like fish to shiny objects. They seek out friends who they believe are going to revolutionize their lives, yet they constantly find reasons to dismiss the very relevant advice that they are receiving and cling on endlessly expecting something to change, without taking any action at all. These people are harmless, and may actually find the inspiration that they need to change their lives one day, but the bottom line is that you cannot do it for them. Back off and look them up in a few more years and see if they have grown up enough that they might actually benefit from your guidance.
Secondly, are the people who have been fucked over by their childhood, and very likely their parents. I know that this is harsh, but more and more society is turning out spoiled brats of adults who have entitlement issues, believe that the world owes them, and that everyone else should be taking care of them. They too can change, and may eventually turn themselves into healthy individuals, but again, that is their own battle to fight, not yours. No one can ever do what it takes to change someone else, no matter how hard they fight to do it. This is the very reason that I work so hard to give my children a sense of responsibility for themselves. I do not want them going out into the world unable to establish true friendships, because they expect all of their friends to take care of their spoiled adult asses.
The third one is a tricky one, and don’t freak out when I throw this word out there, but there are a whole lot of sociopaths living out in the world who have no desire to murder people or do terrible things to the world. They are simply genius level at getting whatever they want by mimicking human emotions to the point that they endear themselves to other people They do this so calculatedly that they can convince others to do almost anything for them. These are the absolute hardest of the needy friends to identify. Sometimes they are referred to as social vampires. This might be a friend who you know to be particularly intelligent, but they remain completely content in a very mediocre job, or even still live with their mom and dad. You will find yourself bending over backwards to do things for them that you would not ordinarily do for other people. While I am definitely saying that they are probably not planning to murder you in your sleep, they should be backed away from as soon as you recognize their nature, because they will take and take from you as long as you are willing to allow them to be a part of your life, and no they do not change. They keep moving on from relationship to relationship to get what they need and they are so intelligent that their behavior often goes unrecognized. If you actually suspect that you have a relationship with one of these types of people, just look at the other people in their life. If their other friends and family are unhappy people; it is a very strong sign. If they have almost no close friends or family in their life; it is a red flag.
The difficult part about all of these situations is that those of us who are truly kind and giving people often have a very hard time saying no to one-sided situations. All that I can do is to explain how difficult it has been for me to say no in the past, but it has been very necessary and I have done it. When we are faced with destructive relationships we owe it to ourselves to extract ourselves from them. If you have a friend who is exhausting you with their neediness, and who isn’t taking any steps to change their own situation, it is time to let them go…at least for now. You owe it to yourself.