What Should You Do when Someone in Your Life Is Taking You for Granted?
“Taking someone for granted is when you expect a person to be there but lack appreciation for their role in your life. If you feel taken for granted, it is probably because you are giving more than you are getting,” Samantha Ettus, a work/life expert and author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, related on Reader’s Digest.
There are countless “takers” in this world and many with ungrateful hearts. And yet, often, we are not able to identify them — or refuse to acknowledge them as such — because they are part of relationships in which we have invested a lot of time, effort, and emotion. When it concerns loved ones or our bosses, we do our best to endure or give the relationship almost limitless “second chances.” However, love and patience may not be enough. There’s a time to say no or let go.
Here are some signs that someone is taking you for granted and what you can do about the difficult situation, according to Reader’s Digest:
- A Friend Doesn’t Repay Favors You’ve Given. It is an imbalanced friendship when you do your best for your friend, but this friend doesn’t take the time to repay your efforts. She’s always promising to lend you a hand when you ask for help, but at the last minute she retracts her word or fails to show up. It’s hurtful and frustrating, especially if you’ve always been there when she needs you and you’re just short of moving heaven and earth to help her out. But this friend of yours doesn’t mind breaking promises and not being there when you need her most. What to do? Talk to your friend and let her understand how it makes you feel every time she lets you down. If her attitude persists, it may be time to give up your friendship and seek new friends who are mature and compassionate.
- Your Friend is Always Late. This is another habit among friends that’s deeply frustrating. There’s often someone in our circle of friends who’s always late after you’ve agreed on the time and day that you’d be meeting together. And there’s always an excuse, like being too busy at work or at home. But everyone has hectic schedules, and we demand even from strangers to respect our time. Talk to your friend who’s a habitual late-comer and explain that time is the most precious resource to all people because it’s finite. You can never gain it back once the hours and moments are lost. Ask your friend about her problem with time management, and you can share tips on more effective day-to-day planning. Sharing Steven K. Scott’s definition of personal productivity is a great motivation: “The degree and quantity of significant accomplishments you are able to achieve in a limited amount of time that reflect your true values, dreams, and goals.”
- You’re Being Continually Obliged to Do Something. This often happens in your kid’s school, where you do your best to get along with teachers and other parents. However, you’re always being asked to do or contribute something to school or children’s activities. If you feel that these favors are already disrupting your life or running your patience thin, then say “no.” You don’t have to keep pleasing everybody just to make sure that your kid is being treated well in school. Say “no” politely and sweetly — and maintain your boundaries with diplomacy.
- Your Significant Other Lacks Appreciation and Respect for You; He’s Not Even Concerned about Your Well-Being. Saying “thank you” and “please” are important social graces, but unfortunately it’s often least practiced at home. Some people even neglect asking their partners about their day because of a lack of interest. All of these things are important in personal relationships, especially in a marriage. Love needs to be nurtured with appreciation, respect, and kindness, or else it will “wither” away. What to do? Be honest with your significant other about the way he’s been treating you and how it makes you feel, but choose the right time and setting.
- Fading Intimacy with Your Partner. You begin to feel the coldness in your relationship little by little. It may lead to resentment and disconnection from your significant other. Actually, love does have 3 phases, with excitement and romantic attraction naturally fading in time, commonly replaced by sweet intimacy. However, there are also cases of love going cold — with one individual trying to do everything to salvage the relationship. If that’s you and you feel that you’re getting drained because of the one-sided affair, then discuss the problem with your significant other — but with no criticism. Just ask what he thinks is causing the change in your relationship and what can be done about it.
- You’re Expected to Drop Everything for Your Significant Other, But He Doesn’t Have Time for You. This is another case of too much self-sacrifice on your part that can result not only in an unhealthy relationship but an unhealthy you, as well, due to stress and frustration. If you feel that you’re suffering from this kind of controlling behavior, discuss the matter with your partner honestly and resolutely along with facts to back up your statements so he could clearly understand your point. But if he refuses to accept the reality of your relationship, it’s best to end things than for you to play slave to your significant other all your life.
- Your Partner Doesn’t Support You Enough. “When you don’t speak up and say what you need, it is easy for someone to take you for granted. No one is a mind reader. If you leave things unsaid, the other person may think that you are content with the situation,” said Helene Lerner, author of Time for Me: Self-Care and Simple Pleasures for Women Who Do Too Much and founder of WomenWorking.com. There are also relationships that are “hot-and-cold,” meaning you can sometimes feel your partner’s support for you and other times none. He tends to support you if what you’re doing is based on his interests, but he would leave you on your own if it doesn’t concern or benefit him. This is selfishness, which you must speak with your partner about before it harms your health.
- Division of Home Responsibility is Not Fair. This is a common problem in households, with the women often doing most of the chores and other duties at home. Based on the 2023 research of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, US women do nearlly two hours more of unpaid household work per day than men. What can you do? “Have a conversation over their favorite beverage, and make a list of all the things you each do for your home and family over the course of a week. Trade lists, and unless you are partnered with a neanderthal, they will see the imbalance and want to make the list more even,” advised Ettus.
- Your Boss Makes You Do the Job of Three People. This is case that clearly shows the value of self-respect. If someone notices that you’re a push-over or a weakling, he will try to take advantage of you or bully you. If that someone is a person of authority, he will make you work as hard as a donkey and pay you less. Assess your value in the company, then talk with your boss about your real worth so you’ll earn the promotion and raise that you deserve. But if he refuses to listen to reason and the virtue of fairness, then look for other employment where you’ll be valued.
- Your Co-Worker Tries to Steal Credit for Your Hard Work. Don’t let a fellow employee get away with this attitude. It’s unhealthy and corrosive in a workplace relationship. Tell him honestly about the matter and how much you don’t appreciate it. If the attitude continues, be assertive. Don’t let your entitled co-worker steal the show.
- Your Co-Worker is Showering You with Deceptive Flattery. “Blinded by the rosy glow of false flattery, you fail to spot his true motive: using you to do his work. And since you ‘know everything,’ he never has to look up any information on his own — he can just ask you,” warned behavioral expert and attorney Wendy L. Patrick, PhD. Don’t allow yourself to be exploited by this type of toxic worker. Say thanks for the compliment, but never agree to do his work for him, especially when you have a feeling that you’ll just end up resenting it.