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We all crave human connection. Especially during the pandemic where we have been isolated, it is only natural for us to seek attention, affection, and love. As we start to transition back to a more “normal” day-to-day life, and slowly re-exposing ourselves to interactions with our family, friends, and romantic partners, we have an opportunity to take inventory of the meaningful relationships in our lives and assess which are actually bringing us joy. I think a lot of people believe this only applies to romantic interests, and while it certainly is important in that aspect, it is equally important to look at any prospective connection, whether it be romantic, platonic, or familial, and determine if you actually feel wanted in those relationships. Are they reciprocating the energy and interest that you are showing them?

Personally, I am hardly the type of person to just cut someone out of my life at the slightest inconvenience or after the first strike. I believe that all types of relationships require work, and sometimes you both might be giving equal energy, but a lot of times that can fluctuate with other events going on in both of your lives. It will not always be easy, and it will not always be equal effort, but if you are left consistently feeling unfulfilled by them, or exhausted from expending time and effort on them that you never seem to see in return, then I believe it is worth re-evaluating what that relationship is actually doing for you.

All this to say, in no way am I advocating for isolation, being a loner, or cutting everyone out of your life in a rude and spectacular fashion. Relationships are a vital part of human health and happiness, but a relationship that makes you anxious, drains you, or only ever seems to be a detriment to your day is incredibly one-sided and barely qualifies as a relationship. Honestly, redirecting that time and energy that I used to waste on people who did not value my presence or my time has been one of the best things I have done this year. That time I spent worrying about how I could get them to reach out to me? I now spend it studying. That energy I would waste on someone and never see it back? I now use it to catch up with people who matter to me, and who make it clear that I matter to them. Because the truth is if someone wants you in their life, they will make time for you, they will make the effort. Everyone is busy. Everyone has lives, schedules, and tasks that they have to complete. People that want to be in your life will never make you question that fact. I am not saying that you will talk every day or that life will not frequently get in the way, but meaningful, stable relationships are the kind in which you can go to bed without wondering, without questioning what you mean to them.

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That being said, completely disappearing out of someone’s life, refusing to talk to them, and just moving on might seem like the easier option, but if you really care about this person, talk to them. Address how you are feeling and get everything out in the open so that you can figure out if it is worth moving forward. Someone that does care about you will make a conscious effort to keep you in their life, and frankly, no one deserves any less.

Everyone deserves to be surrounded by people that care about them, and while there are a number of relationships in life that we have to tolerate, whether that be the pushy relative or lazy coworker, it is worth assessing those closest to you every once in a while to make sure that you are being treated well, and are also treating them well. Most of this article has been about considering your own feelings to be sure that you are not being taken advantage of, but a large part of relationships is assessing whether or not you are putting in the effort. Are you trying to maintain that relationship? Are you making a conscious effort to be a better friend, sibling, or partner?

Relationships require work on both sides, and checking in with myself on how I wanted to be treated made me more conscious of how I was treating the people in my life. While you are making sure that you are being respected in your relationships, take a minute to consider how you are respecting others. If you care about someone, make sure you show them. If they consistently make you question whether or not they care, they unfortunately probably don't. You deserve to feel cared for in all of your relationships. If they are trying to walk away, let them. We can't force people to be in our lives, no matter how much we want them to be, or how much effort or time we spend trying. Let’s stop chasing people who are running away, and start spending that energy on people who actually bring us happiness. You don't deserve anything less.

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Loralee Hoffer

Virginia Tech '23

Loralee Hoffer is a senior at Virginia Tech majoring in Psychology with minors in Creative Writing and Adaptive Brain and Behavior. Through her writing, she enjoys sharing her experiences with health and wellness, relationships, body positivity, and campus life. Proud to be a part of the Her Campus team, she hopes to empower women and gain valuable experience, education, and friends along the way.
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