Everyone wants to be liked - we all want friends. Sometimes the hunger for friendship and acceptance can become so great that a person becomes blind to a painful reality: you have not been befriended by another, you are instead being used.
Lean On Me
The line between a healthy friendship and unbalanced dynamic can often seem blurred. In the natural give and take of a friendship, there are times in which one friend leans on another. The thought is that, as situations shift over time, each friend serves as a supporter as much as she is supported. As a friendship stands the test of time, you can look back and note the way a friend has been there through the good times and bad: breakups, loss, job promotions, wedding days, childbirth, even death of loved ones.
Used and Abused
If your relationship, however, focuses more on the trials and tribulations of one person than other, it is possible that you are not in a friendship at all. It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming more of a personal assistant or sidekick than a friend - the desire to be liked and accommodating leads to a slippery slope.
If you think that you might be on the losing end of an unbalanced relationship, look for these red flags:
How to Restore Balance
If you feel that you are being taken for granted or used, raise the issue with your friend. Explain that recent events - or your entire relationship - make you feel as if you are not being valued for who you are as an individual. In some cases, your friend might not even realize that she has been taking advantage of you - balance could be restored quickly.
In other cases, a person who has knowingly been taking advantage of another will try to angrily defend herself. If she won't listen - or if she comes to repeat the behavior that has frustrated you - you can either grin and bear it or decide to part ways and develop more balanced friendships with other people.
If you are starting to feel as if a friend has turned on you, consider whether jealousy is rearing its ugly head.
Reconnect with old friends by searching for them online.