Let’s be real: we’ve all had those moments in our interpersonal relationships that just made us do a double take. Whether it was what someone said to you or something less obvious, like an action, it was probably brushed aside and ignored by you. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a great quality to have, sure. But does giving that person the benefit of the doubt every time seem great? Does it even seem like a doubt anymore? Or more like turning your head away from the problem at hand? The truth of the matter is, most people don’t want to acknowledge the unfavorable behaviors of people they are close with. Acknowledging them means conflict. And conflict typically means disagreement which could possibly change the relationship. Which is bad, right?
Wrong. If the relationship is in need of some maintenance anyway, then what is the harm in trying? Here are 6 signs that maybe it’s time to have a talk:
1. You feel uncomfortable around them. When you’re around the right people, spending time together should come easy. It should always feel safe and comfortable. You shouldn’t have to worry about changing who you are for your friends because who you are should be one of the reasons that they are your friends. Your friends should also respect any personal boundaries that you may have. Don’t like talking about sensitive subjects? Did something they say trigger bad memories? Time to talk about it. Your friend may not even realize they are making you uncomfortable and discussing it with them will make the relationship better for both of you.
2. There doesn’t seem to be any return investment. Don’t get me wrong; I am NOT saying be friends with someone based on what they can do for you! A relationship is between two people. For that relationship to remain successful and healthy, it’s important for effort to be put in on both sides. There are no one-sided friendships! This is especially the case if they don’t show gratitude for your efforts or brush them off as nothing. Gratitude could be as simple as a genuine thank you. If you feel you are the only one putting in effort, it may be time to communicate that with your friend.
3. You feel tired. We all get tired. Tired of homework. Tired of early mornings. Tired of ramen noodles and PB and Js. That’s not the kind of tired I mean. I mean mentally exhausted. Emotionally drained. Some friendships require so much effort to maintain that it takes away from your own personal well-being. Sometimes you find yourself trying so hard, but nothing ever seems good enough. You feel like maybe you can never do right by this person. This is very unhealthy for you, especially when you are also trying to do right by your classes and responsibilities as well! Don’t let this drain you! It’s time to talk!
4. They don’t listen. Listening is one of the key elements of communication. Without it, we would all just be loud toddlers with our hands over our ears. You may think this point may seem a little absurd. If they don’t listen, why would they listen when you sit them down and try to have a talk with them? Honestly, if this is the thought that is running through your head, it’s most definitely time to have a talk. Being listened to is so important because, without it, people start to wonder whether or not they are really, truly valued.
5. There doesn’t seem to be respect. One of the biggest let downs is finding out that someone you are close to is disrespectful. Whether that disrespect is aimed at fast food workers, other friends, professors, veterans, it doesn’t matter. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. If you are friends with this person, they should treat you with respect.
6. You can’t seem to trust them. What more do I have to say for this one? Who wants to have a conniving sneak around them? The person that you have to worry about leaking some scandalous (or even not-so-scandalous) secrets or the person you can’t trust to leave valuables out around are not people you want to be friends with. So communicate this with them. Who knows? Maybe there’s an explanation for their sneakery!