Many relationships — whether friendships or romantic ones — deal with ups and downs, but sometimes you may encounter one of your relationships being a little too one-sided. Is your friend or partner self-absorbed? Do they consider your needs and interests before their own? In a society where we are generally encouraged to think of ourselves first, it can be hard to have healthy relationships that nurture and care for each other.

Here are some ways to regain a bit of balance in the relationship:

  1. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Having a better understanding of where they are coming from might help you see things from their perspective or reveal something you’re unaware of, like them dealing with a sick relative or family member. That could explain why they’re less responsive to communication or seem distant.
  2. Know your own responsibilities. A great way to manage relationships is with healthy boundaries. Set out what you are and are not responsible for. For example, we can’t make anyone feel anything, just like we can’t take responsibility for another person’s behavior, actions, or responsibilities. We can, however, think of the other person, try to treat them kindly, and make ourselves available for them.
  3. Speak up but try not to be confrontational. If you feel that you need to address selfishness in the relationship use “I” statements instead of being accusatory. For example: “When you do X, I feel Y. I’d prefer it if you could consider Z next time.”
  4. Share taking the lead. Consider ways you could take turns in your relationship, such as picking a place for lunch and making a reservation. You could alternate each week. The same with a regular catch up — take it in turns to make the call/arrange a date.

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