Ah, this is such an interesting question. When to stop giving.
So, of course, healthy friendships / relationships are not tit for tat. We do not “keep score.”
But, it is important to acknowledge that a strong friendship is reciprocal in some way. It’s taken for granted that friends are there for each other. When one is weak, the other props them up. If a friend needs something, we not only try to help but we don’t wait for them to ask for that help. We go ahead and reach out.
We initiate that.
Maybe it’s more accurate to say that relationships / friendships are symbiotic. Mutually beneficial.
They’ll never be 100% equal, and really, who is even measuring?
When a relationship is extremely imbalanced, problems arise.
If one person is doing all the giving and the other all the taking, it is no longer mutually beneficial.
And while I am not a believer in tit for tat or I’ll do this but you have to do that in equal measure, it is ALWAYS crystal clear when a relationship is imbalanced.
The absence of participation by one party is very noticeable. Voids are just that way: obvious.
And then, resentments grow. We ask ourselves why the other party is so happy to take but so reluctant to give?
Yes, why, indeed?
When that question comes up, it’s time to stop giving.
In the best of cases, the other friend “catches up.” And we would hope that would happen.
But if not, extricating yourself from the one-sided giving tree is the right thing to do.
By all means, remain friends. Just stop giving.
Has this ever happened to you? How did you. handle it?