Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye

Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided

Welcome back to The Realms of Relationships. In this edition, I’m going to talk more about friendships. I talked about keeping friendships healthy in my last column. In this post, I’ll share some of the flags that indicate when friends may be taking advantage of us.

Friendships are special to us because they are the people we choose to let into the most personal and intimate part of our lives, the people we trust most. But sometimes in our lifetime of relationships and friendships we may realize that a certain friendship becomes all give and no get back. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the signs that tell us that a friendship we may have with someone is not as fulfilling as it once may have been, how to attempt to repair, and how to decide if it’s time to sever ties.

Friends are those we permit into our personal spaces and hold dear to us. Friends are the ones we share common bonds with, share our world, our homes and often our hearts with. Friends are ones we can rely on for uplifting, favors, companionship, and the ones who have our backs. Do something to betray any of these bonds, it puts a dent into a friendship, and if we let misgivings escalate without confronting our friend about issues bothering us, or better yet, if we have confronted a friend over an issue and they tend to blow it off or ignore our concerns, consider petty, it may be time to re-evaluate that friendship.

As with everything that works smooth in life, there is balance. We take the good with the bad in stride and go about life. Sometimes there are obstacles we learn to work around, sometimes the obstacles must be confronted in order to resolve issues to restore an even balance. If the balance of a friendship begins to teeter, yet one party of the friendship doesn’t see it, someone must alert that person that more effort must be put into that relationship or it’s going to fizzle out. When one party is doing all the giving and supporting and there’s nothing in return – giving back, this is not a friendship. Make sure you’re not doing all the giving and being sucked into an energy vampire sucking relationship.

As a lover and not a fighter, I require peace in all my relationships. I’m a passionate person who cares about all people. I’m also a great communicator, which I learned to become as I’ve spent most of my life observing people and their behavior. If I detect an imbalance or a missing ingredient within a close friendship, I’m going to bring it up for discussion so we can get to the root of a problem to find resolution to continue on with the friendship, hopefully, strengthening the bond once the imbalance is corrected. But what if the other party doesn’t see our side or perhaps thinks we’re making too much out of something insignificant? Or, what if that person is completely blind to a troublesome situation and what if we become tired of rehashing the same issues that never seem to change? Are we just supposed to sit back and live with the lumpy situation, continuing to make excuses to pardon that friend from their faults, or can we keep making excuses to not be available for them? That becomes our decision. But for me, I learned a few relationships ago, when you become a doormat, it may be time to leave.

My Story

It wasn’t the first time I had to lay a friendship to rest. It happened maybe 3 times in my life when I decided it was time to part ways with someone who I’d considered a good friend but realized I was doing all the ‘friendy’ work. But leaving became easier to do with each friend because as the years progressed, I’d learned better to stand up for myself and to not be so easily roped in by people’s antics. Being an empath makes the process doubly hard because my whole life I allowed myself to get sucked into people’s drama because I felt sorry for them. Sure, they may not have been adding anything of value to our friendship at the time, but they were lonely, had a lot of bad breaks from life, and sometimes it was just convenient to have someone to hang out with, which some of us think may be better than being alone – but no, it’s not. I finally learned that being alone without a sidekick was better than being used, taken for granted and not appreciated.

One relationship I ended with a friend almost three decades ago was a smart choice. Amy was a friend I’d met within my circle of my closest oldest friends. I kind of inherited her as when we met through mutual friends, we were both single at the time and lived close to one another, which made it too convenient for her to pop over – a lot.

Amy ‘dropped’ by my place lots – especially when she was in between dating her ex- boyfriend and her ex -ex- boyfriend. I got to listen to the whining and complaining and felt compelled to come up with solutions to her problems. I got to cook her dinners, and rarely did I get to share anything about how I felt about things going on in my own life. And never would she ask.

Initially we were good company for one another – someone to have a meal with, go for a drink or watch a movie with. But after 2 years of it, my ear was getting too full of the ‘woe is me’ stories and zero growth in our relationship. Oh sure, after some time had passed, I did broach the subject with Amy, but I also grew to realize that whatever I’d discussed seemed to pass directly through both her ears, and she didn’t understand what being a real friend was. I call them fair-weather friends.

Fair- weather friends are those who come around or call when they have a need to be fulfilled – when it’s convenient for them. They aren’t necessarily bad people, more like self-centered, selfish, and often clueless when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships – romance or otherwise. These types of people will not go out of their way for someone else, usually have trouble in their romantic relationships for same reasons, and deny what they don’t like to hear.

Amy treated me like her personal Shrink or a sounding board for all her dilemmas – and there always seemed to be one with her. Me, always feeling as though it’s my duty to fix people, was kept in the vortex way too long.

Eventually, as that time in my life became a huge growth spurt in growing my self-esteem in both friendships and a crappy relationship I was in at the time, I realized then that it was time to unload the pressure of that relationship too. Without a fight or a phone call, I just slithered away. I first took her calls, but made myself consistently unavailable to her ‘drop over’ requests. Then eventually, I just stopped answering her calls and faded out. A good indicator I was right in doing so was that she made no attempts to further contact me or even questioning why I just cut her out. This was a confirmation it was time. There was no need to second-guess.

Friends who suck the life out of us are what I call energy sucking vampires. They are needy people who will swoop right in on us if we offer them a cushy nest. They are the ones who will ask for favors, visit and forget to leave, borrow things and never return them, and most known for draining our soul. And if you are an empath who constantly finds yourselves attracting these types of people, it’s time to become more aware of these behaviors and how much you will allow. Weigh out the pros and cons of a relationship. If you’re finding the con column getting a little too top heavy, it’s a good idea to consider cutting the ties.

If you find that you’ve discussed your feelings with your friend and they deny any actions you’ve pointed out, become defensive and/or accusatory as a lame defense, deny or blame you without admitting, apologizing, or ultimately, getting angry because you brought up the discussion, it’s pretty clear that your suspicions were right in the first place and it’s time to go. Empaths in particular, tend to let things drag on a little too long because we will do our utmost to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings, often taking the zings ourselves to keep the peace. But if it’s not peaceful, we need to leave.

There are no age limits, time limits, friend limits. You shouldn’t put a timeline on a friendship – meaning: Just because you’ve invested ‘x’ amount of years in a friendship and it doesn’t feel right anymore, doesn’t mean you must remain because you’ve put in the time. No. If you’ve put in the time and the friendship and it’s not growing or feeding you back in any way, it’s time to move on.

Do you have a sticky friendship experience you’d like to share here?

You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020


I’m a nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. My intent is to inspire others by sharing my stories about events I encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.

I love to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When I’m not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find me writing with humor in some of my other works and blog posts.

When I was a young child, I was very observant about my surroundings. Growing up in a tumultuous family life; otherwise known as a broken home, kept me on guard about the on-and-off-going status of my parents’ relationship. I often wrote notes, and journaled about the dysfunction I grew up in. By age seven I was certain I was going to grow up to be a reporter.

Well life has a funny way of taking detours. Instead, I moved away from home at eighteen with a few meager belongings and a curiosity for life. I finished university and changed careers a few times always striving to work my way up to managerial positions. My drive to succeed at anything I put my mind to led me to having a very colorful and eventful life.

Ever the optimist, that is me. I’ve conquered quite a few battles in life; health and otherwise, and my refusal to accept the word ‘No’, or to use the words ‘I can’t’, keeps me on a positive path in life.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling. Find out more about D.G. Kaye: D.G. Kaye Writer

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for Conflicted Hearts

Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2020

In her book Conflicted Hearts, Kaye recounted her vivid memories of painful experience growing up with a narcissist mother whose interest was partying, smoking, gambling and getting male’s attention to herself. Her mother threw out her father frequently and had male companions in the house with the children’s presence. Kaye’s father returned home long enough to make babies but had no guarantee to stay. She felt sad for her father. She couldn’t concentrate at school. Instead, she expected the disappearance of her father or anger from her mother. She did not receive the nurturing needed for a happy childhood. Instead of being a child, she felt responsible and be the parent to her father. Later, she found out that the paternal grandparents didn’t like her because her mother was pregnant with her and caused her parents’ marriage. She felt it was her fault, and that she was the reason for her father to marry her mother. She considered herself as the black sheep, the accident. If her father married someone else, he would have been happier. Her mother was never home and had babysitter watching the four children until Kaye was twelve and became a babysitter.

Aunty Sherry was the only adult to show her guidance, concern and attention. Sherry got married in her forties and didn’t have children.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – MeWe: Debby Gies
Twitter: @pokercubsterLinkedin: D.G. Kaye
Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye

My thanks to Debby for taking on the challenge this year of exploring the complexity of relationships, and sharing strategies to improve the way we manage those important to us.  As always your feedback is very welcome. Thanks Sally

89 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye

  1. Hi Debby and Sally, I loved this article and think you have so done the right thing, Debby. You should never tolerate bad or poor behaviour. I’ve recently learned a great deal, for the first time in my life, about setting effective boundaries – telling someone what you expect of them and what you won’t tolerate in order to have a healthy relationship. And then sticking by those boundaries! Most people will react well and uplevel, but if they don’t and want to deny/argue/put it back onto you – then it’s time to pull the pin until they are agree to accept your boundaries. Thank you for writing this, Debby. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing how you’ve come to deal with those who take advantage of us Toni. It’s quite clear you are well -versed in this behavioral pattern. I’ve been a magnet for it all my life, and I too only learned to take a stand in the last decade. Knowing when to ‘pull the pin’ is essential to our sanity and self-esteem. ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You are so right, Debby, advising one not to stay in a one-sided friendship. You hit the nail on the head. Like you, I learned that the hard way. Many thanks to you and Sally for sharing your experiences with us. Take care and be well. All the best to you.


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  3. Reading this has made me realise that the guilt I have been feeling for a long time about ‘losing’ a friend of decades, is pointless, Debby. So, once again, you have helped me. Thank you. When my mother died three years ago, and I phoned my friend, she decided she would not come to the funeral as there were issues with my sister, who, obviously would be there.Even though I told her I needed her to be there, she still refused. I remember putting the phone down and being stunned.And then taking time to evaluate our friendship. It was a shock; it had been a one-way street for years. For months I didn’t get into contact with her – and nether did she, which I suppose should have told me something. Then I did a stupid thing, I wrote to her, telling her how I had felt, how I had valued her friendship over the years ( I even apologised for not being in touch before then, I knew she would have expected to have made her usual summer holiday with us), but that we should both move on. I felt I had made closure. I hadn’t; she rang to say how hurt she was, that I hadn’t been there for her, she was lonely, she had so many problems. I was back to square one. And the guilt resurrected itself – and has for weeks now. But you have helped, Debby, I now know how to deal with this. In the world we are living in at the moment I know I need to cherish those I love, who also care for me. Thank you. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judith, I remember the incidence you experienced after your mum passed away, we talked about a few things – and your sister. It sounds to me like you’ve been caught in very similar situations that I have with both this friend I mentioned incidence about and my ex best friend. Sad really, but exactly what you wrote – you informed your friend how you felt (which I did), it didn’t change a thing, in fact, it only brings more of ‘woe is me’ from those types of people. A clear sign that we must move on from those people and probably the hardest part for empaths like us is to stop feeling guilty for our decisions. That part can take awhile, but in time we’ll learn to digest it, the main thing is to create the distance, and you’ve done that! Proud of you girl!!! ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Debby. It’s been playing on my mind for a while. Your post helped me to evaluate and come to terms with this – not something I ever thought I would do with this particular friend. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the advice, Debby. Yes, I think we’ve all had some of these friends and it’s important to know when it’s time to let it go. I’m also forever checking, trying to make sure that I don’t become too self-obsessed by my own problems to not see anybody else around me. I’d hate to be one of those people. All the best and keep safe. Thanks, Sally.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ha Olga, I don’t think you have to worry about becoming ‘one of those people’. There are plenty of them in the world to go round. It’s just important we keep check on our own self-esteems and think about our own well-beings. Friends are supposed to enhance our lives with joy, companionship and goodness not make it more difficult. If we aren’t getting the goodness from a friendship and those friends don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with their behavior then it’s in our own best interests to make an exit.
      Stay safe Olga! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Such an insightful post, Debby. Many people aren’t good at establishing boundaries and it’s so important. I agree that one-sided relationships aren’t worth the trouble, anxiety, and effort, and I have no problem letting them fade away. Not all of us are meant to be friends just as we aren’t expected to love every book we read, right? The key seems to be finding the right friendship fit and investing our care and energy there. I have one friend that goes back over 50 years (holy moly) and the effort feels effortless. 🙂 Great post.

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    • It seems you are familiar with this road Diana. And so true, there are many who don’t understand boundaries. Even best friends know instinctively when not to step on toes. And so true, we all won’t love the same book, but we do have the right to choose who our friends will be. Sometimes we may choose wrong, but the end result should be the same: live, learn, and leave. Glad to hear about your wonderful lasting relationships with your dear old friend. I’m blessed to still have one of those – I used to have 2. But also blessed for all the good friendships I’ve made here through the years. Stay safe! ❤ xx

      Liked by 3 people

  6. You are so right Deb, when selfishness peeps through relationships, its time to quit. Intuitive by nature, I could see those traits of parasites too early and so have always been skeptical about getting closer to friends. One of my colleagues, who calls herself my friend has never appealed to me because of being nosey, another one wanted that I should stand by her even when she was wrong. I have very few real friends and they have always been there for me. I can look in their eyes and know what is there in their heart. Relationships are like that, that’s my belief. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Spot on Balroop. I know you also have ‘the gift’ – the sense of knowing when something is off. It’s all so clear when we look in the eyes which are so revealing of the soul for those of us who know how to recognize. Yes, we may have many friends, but when it comes to testing out we find out how few really are at the plate for us. Like everything else in life – we need to pull the weeds to keep the good parts growing in health. Thanks for adding to the conversation. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  7. What a lovely post, Debby. We’ve had numerous discussions on this topic. It’s taken me years to realize how I allowed others to use me. Like you, I only want peaceful relationships. Life is too short to be abused. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you very much, for this great posting too, Debby! “Fair weather friends” is a good term for what at least will break down every relationship. It is still true, that the best way to get to know your friends is to have problems yourself.

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  9. Sally and Debby, this is such an interesting post! Recently I heard on a podcast (I think it was Brené Brown) that relationships were rarely 50-50. Sometimes they were 40-60; sometimes 80-20; sometimes 55-45 etc. It’s a question of balance, as you said, Debby. There are times when we need more and times when we are able to give more. But, if we find ourselves always on the giving end of the line it becomes exhausting and unfair. Also, when a person doesn’t listen to our story it can be very hurtful and makes us turn away from them. I’ve had my share of turning my back on relationships. It’s not very pleasant but the alternative is worse. I like your line, Debby: energy sucking vampires.
    As I become older I tend to stay away from negative energy people and seek out positive, caring friends. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for chiming in Carol. And so true, a fair relationship will never be exactly even. At times one party needs more from the other and vice versa. In a good relationship nobody needs to keep score. The point is when we begin to feel like we’re doing the 100% and getting nothing in return, our feelings have been discussed and ignored or rebutted, it’s time to leave the party. I’ve walked away from family for those exact reasons. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  10. A very insightful post, Debby…I have certainly discovered the meaning of friendship more so since moving here …Not just friends but family ..messages and calls go both ways from here to there and from there to here..funny that…There have been people whom I have been friends with for years and never a word and people who were more of an acquaintance have kept in touch…A funny old world…xx

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  11. An insightful post, Debby, thank you and thanks to Sally too. Boundaries are healthy and it’s taken me a long time to get the hang of them. I sense nowadays when my balance is off and I feel drained and take action. A loving connection does not have an agenda and is growing, allowing each to be an individual, there for each other. These past weeks have been illuminating that’s for sure and it’s sad to say, but some family members can be the worst! ❤ to you both ❤

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  12. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – April 12th -18th – Relationships, ABBA, Guacamole, Pasta, Guests, Poetry and Funnies. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  13. This is a great article, Debby. You’ve nailed it. I think we’ve all probably had some of those so-called friends who suck you dry and never offer anything in return to quench your thirst. Knowing when to hold them and when to fold them is an important survival tactic. Thank you.

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  14. Energy vampire—I’ve never heard that term before, but it accurately describes some dynamics. I think marriages should take some work, but friendships shouldn’t have to be so hard. I was thinking the other day about someone I’ve been friends with for over forty-five years. I can’t ever remember us having a serious fight or disagreement.

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  15. All so True Debby.. I hope you got the longer reply I left on your blog.. So I will not repeat here.. . Not to worry if it went missing.. Happening alot lately… It spoke of knowing how that balance is the key of ups and downs… And after 45 yrs of marriage, Learning to give and take,and accept one no one is perfect.. 🙂
    Love and Blessings.. And Much love your way too Sally… Thank you for sharing ❤

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  16. Being a nomad for such a long time (17 years) makes it easy to “slip away”, whether I want to or not. Good thing is that I have solid old friends still in Belgium. They’re not best friends, but when I see them again, after a year or two or three, it’s like we just met up the week before.

    Most of my good friends have been made during our travels. Those relationships have to be maintained through emails and social media. Once in a while, we manage to meet again when our paths cross and that is precious. While I have a lot of good friends, I only have one best friend. She now lives in Grenada and we talk on Skype weekly or bi-monthly. We both look forward to these conversations, but I’m always worried that will stop one day, as she has a community around her, while I don’t.

    Another thing I sometimes worry about – when I have a bad time and complain about it – is that I’m the one draining her, sucking her energy, just like what you described in Amy, Debby. I do my best to acknowledge those moments and apologize for my whining. Which, I don’t have to do according to her, of course. And, I’m always interested in hearing her stories, despite being a talker myself. I hope I will be able to maintain this precious friendship as it has meant the world to me in the last, especially during hardships.

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    • I can imagine forming and keeping friendships would be more difficult for a nomadic lifestyle Liesbet, but we have so much more opportunity nowadays with internet to stay connected where we wish to. Good friendships will last if they’re cared for. There’s nothing wrong with venting to a friend, that’s what friends are for – they know, understand us, and care about how we’re feeling. We shouldn’t feel that we can’t express our feelings to friends. It’s when we abuse the privilege that infringes on friendship. Life is never rosey all the time for anyone. But if someone is always complaining, using us as a landing cushion to vent all their anxieties, all the time – ESPECIALLY when they don’t have an ear for us back, then there should be a reckoning. ❤

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  17. I find great value in your relationships column, Deb. I, too, have had my share of ‘fair weather’ friends. Fine to listen to their problems, but don’t try telling them yours, right? It helps me reading your experiences, recognising myself as an empath thanks to your spot-on posts and experiencing similar situations over the years. Coronovirus lockdown, among many things, will make a lot of us reavaluate the value of ‘true’ friendship – online and off. Thank you both, dear Deb and Sally, for another great post and column. Hugs 🙂 ❤ xxxxxxxx

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