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Should You Never Make Someone a Priority?

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Ever heard that line, you should never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option? Well, here’s what you need to know about it. By Morgan Miller

never make someone a priority

When you love someone dearly, it’s obvious that you’ll make them a priority in your life.

But what do you do when the feeling isn’t mutual?

Well, that’s where everything starts to go wrong in a relationship.

Misunderstandings in expectations from each other are almost always the biggest reason for bad relationships and friendships.

[Read: How to let go of a relationship that's bad for you]

Making someone a priority in your life

Love is a funny thing.

When you love someone, you can’t help but open the floodgates of your heart and welcome them in.

It feels good, doesn’t it, when you can truly love someone wholeheartedly?

When you’re in a close friendship or a budding romance, it feels good to care about someone.

And it feels a lot better when you know the other person cares about you too.

But when the care and concern is one sided, the relationship could start to turn bitter and take a worse turn.

[Read: Reasons behind why love can hurt so much when it goes bad]

My experience with priorities and best friends

Until some time ago, I had a really great friend. We were BFFs and shared every moment together.

We knew each other since high school, we had even moved in together and were living just like two happy sisters. And everything in my life was just perfect.

Now I don’t mean to sound like a braggart here, but I’ve always found it easy to get the attention of the guys I liked while my friend found it harder to get a guy to stick around. [Read: How to get a guy's attention in any circumstance]

But I never liked seeing my friend sad or alone, so I started tagging her along on most of my dates so she didn’t have to feel lonely at home. I didn’t care if I lost a guy. If a guy I dated couldn’t take both of us out often or be nice to her, he was out of my life. I was very protective of my friend, and I always wanted to see her happy.

I shared all my special occasions with her. I spent months saving up to buy her a perfect birthday gift, and I even dumped boyfriends if she was in a slump and wanted me to spend more time with her every day. It was truly unconditional love, and I didn’t have any expectations from her. In fact, I was extremely attached to her.

One day, she met a guy and started dating him. I was over the moon for her and gave her a lot of space to spend time with her steady boyfriend. At times, I even spent nights at another friend’s place just so my best friend could get some quality time alone with her boyfriend.

A few months into her relationship and I couldn’t recognize my best friend anymore. Well, she looked the same, but her behavior completely changed. She stopped calling me over the phone, and would ignore me even if I was sitting in the same room with her. She would snap at me for no reason at all, and she wanted a lot of space to herself. She was aloof and distant, and our relationship changed completely within a month or two. And I was devastated.

Even when I tried talking to her about it, all she had to say was “Well, people change, don’t they? Why can’t you deal with the fact that I’ve changed?”

She still expected me to do all the pampering, the cooking and the taking care of her, and she even wanted me to buy her things, but she wouldn’t do anything in return for me. In fact, she didn’t even have time for me anymore. And all I wanted from her was to spend half an hour talking to me every day. But she didn’t want to do that.

And in one conversation, she even went as far as accusing me of being jealous because she’s happier than me!

My best friend was a priority to me, but it took me a lot of painful tears, long sleepless drunk nights and painful heartaches to realize the fact that I was not a priority to her.

And that’s when I realized that you should never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. I felt betrayed and cheated. And I felt so used because I sacrificed my happiness for her for years, and all she had to say to me was “who told you to do that?!”

For the first time in my life, I actually realized how heartbreaking and miserable it feels to be insignificant in the eyes of someone you love so much. [Read: What is unrequited love and how to get over it?]

You should never make a wrong person a priority

Needless to say, I’m not in touch with that friend anymore. I still care about her, and am filled with affectionate love when I bump into her. But I couldn’t stay friends with her anymore.

But now that I look back at all those years, I realize something. I can’t blame my friend for what happened. I made her my priority and I allowed her to use me. I didn’t care if I was a priority to her or not, because taking care of her needs made me feel good inside.

When you love someone as a partner or a friend, you’re taking a risk. Your love may be reciprocated mutually, or maybe it won’t. So if you want to have a happy life, take time to fall in love with someone. It’s the safest way to ensure that you’re giving your heart to the right person.

Sometimes, people are just selfish. And there’s nothing you can do about it. But from my own experience, all I can advise you is to avoid people who don’t make an effort to be nice to you. Love and affection should never be one sided. The neglect you feel is worse than the pain you’d feel after a break up. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

A relationship is a barter system

It’s not about keeping count. It’s about unconditionally loving each other. In a perfect relationship, both the involved people give and take constantly. And that keeps the wheel of love spinning smoothly.

It may be a relationship between lovers, friends, siblings or with parents, a happy relationship is always a barter. But when the scale of give-and-take starts to tip over, one partner will start to feel drained and annoyed. [Read: The 80 20 rule in relationships]

Do you know you’re only an option?

In many cases, you may not even realize you’re in an uneven relationship. You may be clouded by emotions, or worse, you may convince yourself that you need to give more to the relationship because your partner is more deserving of love and affection.

Relationships works best only when love and affection is exchanged in equal measures.

If you ever feel like you’re the one who’s doing all the giving while a friend or a lover is only taking you for granted or using you, back away from the relationship. Walking away will hurt, but it’s still better than having to endure the neglect and the pain of experiencing a one sided relationship every day of your life. [Read: How your self respect affects you and your relationships]

8 signs you’ve made someone a priority when you’re only an option

If you’re unhappy with any relationship in your life, there’s a big chance that you’re in a one sided relationship. Use these 8 signs to find out if you’re giving someone more priority than they deserve in your life.

#1 They expect you to give, but they don’t give back.

#2 They constantly let you down even when you have the smallest of expectations from them. [Read: When should you end a bad friendship?]

#3 You’re just a backup plan in their life when they have nothing better to do.

#4 They don’t care about your feelings. Even when you emotionally pour your heart out, instead of understanding you or hearing you out, they just argue back or try to justify themselves.

#5 You feel hurt all the time when you’re around this person.

#6 They treat others in a special way and give them a lot of attention, but you’re never given any preference no matter how hard you try to please them.

#7 You’re always taken for granted no matter how much you try to win their affection.

#8 They are completely selfish and care only about themselves. They always put their own needs before yours, and they try to manipulate you all the time. [Read: How to stop thinking about someone you like a lot]

If you experience any of these signs in a relationship, you’re probably better off snapping all ties with them. But just remember that it’s not your fault that this person is selfish. Sometimes, some people just care too much about themselves to think from another person’s perspective.

[Read: The 10 types of love you'll experience in your lifetime]

Never forget that meaningful line, you should never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. It seems catchy, but understanding that line could mean the difference between happiness and pain for the rest of your life.


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Have your say!
  • Lidia
    September 23, 2012 | Permalink |

    This exact thing happened to me. One of my ex bf even dumped me for being cold and distant with him and spending too much time with my best friend rather than with him. I actually saw him once or twice a week and use to be at my bff all the time.

    It took me almost A YEAR to move on after being dumped. My first love, still one of the best relationships I ever had. Almost the best.

    My ”best friend”? she finally met someone and completely changed. Told me she doesn’t want to see me anymore, she has to be with her bf as much as possible…; I will never forget that poker face, the indifference and I promised myself to never be fooled in such a manner again. I don’t believe in real friendships anymore.

    Best thing that happened to me, great lesson.

  • Rick Sam
    May 1, 2013 | Permalink |

    Excellent , now i will be more careful :)
    Good website :)

  • GOFLB
    May 25, 2013 | Permalink |

    I’m glad to see that articles here aren’t naturally slanted in favor of females. It really is refreshing that someone gets the fact that guys can be insecure & confused as well.
    -Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy

    P.S. I’m not gay.

  • vicky riser
    September 21, 2013 | Permalink |

    yeah all above are true. I used to be a option for every relative even to my parents too. I found myself alone whenever I need someone to share my feelings. but one day I stopped my cares to all unnecessary persons. now feeling too much better, relaxed.
    but its too late I lost my dreams. I regret and hate the time when I spent my precious time to taking first to others. love to yourself if we don’t than who will?

  • Itu
    November 16, 2013 | Permalink |

    Hi there. I am a male in a 1yr 8months relationship, that started as a long distance relationship, between CPT and JHB wich resulted on my partner moving from CPT to JHB, since she has family this side even though her past experiences with them had left a strong note that she’l neva come back this side wich she did anyway . Evrything started of well for us. seeing to it tht we make time for each other even ogrnising for her to come here and go back to cape demanded per studies until she finaly dicided on moving permanant this side (with her studies ) no matter how hard she explaind it was living with her Aunt. then we cooled off from guest houses and going out regularly since we could spend most of the time togethr. all this time both were students even though with me it was a litle diffrent since i was in an apranticeship wich in the process demanded i travel as per contract yet I made sure I came back at any given time as possible, even when it seemed a little impossible for me to travel weekly from.Mpumalanga to Jhb, yet I dd for the sake of being with her. after completing my apprentic i decided wil neva concider any job tht would put us through what we have hd to endure. and all tht is just a reflection of how we both had to sacrifys beyound doubt of love. now things seem to have taken a turn and am little woried. my partner and I are both born again and I remember very wel telling her wen we met tht I love her “yes” but not as much as God Loves both of us n ever since we became lovers n way even before we dated sh has always proven to b a laddy h puts has her spiritual life 1st on th sam hand evn though I say this maslf av equaly stood th same test of responsibility from my congregation yet always put her 1st evn f it ment sacrifysn my personal believ and qualities just yestrday i askd her to meet me at a mall sinc t was her sistrs birth day al day long we hadnt seen each ada though i calld and askd her several times during th day tht she acumpanies m for some turns at town, knowing tht later shel have to go to chrch and her excuze was she had nothing to wear as al her cloaths wer on a washin line th waznt much i cld do abt tht..took my bible met her at th mall togethr lookd somthn for her sistr you know wen u realy tyk serious being wit yo partner u always try yo luck just for u being togedr den i askd her f sh cldnt sacrifies chrch meeting only yestrday wich she startd sayn i hv a demon tht wen i met her i knew God came 1st imediatly i regretd having to ask tht of her we left and tried to put past being adrssd as demonic evn f sh might hv said t jokingly and askd her f sh jst cldnt sacrifies 1 chrch meeting coz i hd ma bible wit i cld also go to ma chrch bt bcz i ddnt think askn fo her time, cld seem demonic n demanding to her, i was willing to sacrifies ma chrch meeting since t is once in a while eventualy she seemd to hv dcided on not goin since sh mentiond not knowing wt wld b her excuse fo tht ..t shook m though i ddnt want to show or myk an eassu coz th same prson cld commit maslf n her sister to her friend pastors chrch crusade and along the way say sh isnt going bcz she is tired wel in th end t ws not like her not goin to chrch ws imposible bt now bcz it was to b about us had to to seem impossbl in th END the one thing that left m so wondring was wen she felt so strongly tht she can neva make such sacriefyses for us by saying to m tht she dznt understand becouse tomoro is still ANOTHER DAY .

  • Titus
    December 15, 2013 | Permalink |

    This has opened my eyes. I have a GFF who is my friend’s ex. I always loved to be around this girl because she always made me feel happy. Due to some misunderstandings me, my friend and this girl drifted apart. However I met this girl again after three years and this time my affection for her grew double. I became more emotionally attached to her. I have given gifts for her on her birthday and other special occasions. However she has never given me any gift till date in our 4 yrs of friendship. I sometimes feel low when I don’t get anything from her. She even gives gifts to friends whom she has known since a month or so. She hangs out with all other friends except me. She gives me excuses if I ask her to meet me. Even after all this I feel like caring for her and being with her all the time. I am able to give her all the love she needs but she doesn’t see me the way I see her. She calls me unless she has something to clarify. Not once has she called to talk casually. Even after all this rejections I continue to care for her.
    I think with this thread I have learnt a lesson. I have stopped ,pinging her and I have kept it as low as possible. I know it’s hard for me to get over her because I have enjoyed every moment with her. But I have to move on……..

  • Kit
    January 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    I’m so glad that I stumbled onto this. It’s so refreshing to know that I’m not alone in dealing with horrible heartache at the hands of what I thought was my very best friend. Unfortunately, I’m right in the middle of my heartache but reading this has helped. My best friend and I were basically inseperable for well over 10 years. We had babies a month apart, raised them together, hung out and talked everyday. We went through huge life trials together such as watching my husband beat cancer and helping her through a tough divorce. After going through so much together, I knew that the already strong foundation and bond we had, would only get stronger. I loved her unconditionally and tried my very hardest to be the most loyal, supportive and loving friend that I could possibly be. I’ve never tried to “be there” for anyone like I did her. For well over a year now she has made me an option and basically stripped me of any confidence or trust I had in our 12 year friendship. She began dating a guy and slowly our relationship became the most hurtful one I have ever had. I have been in denial for a long time and questioned myself so many times as to what I did wrong. But I know in my heart that I did everything humanly possible to keep our friendship afloat. But she has put me down, taken for granted and basically used me for so long that I know I have to severe the tie completely. It’s so hard because I have such a soft spot on my heart for her and I want to be there for her but I can’t let someone continue to trample my heart the way that she has. I never dreamed she could hurt me as deeply as she has. So thank you for sharing your story and tips. I have spent so many nights crying and asking myself why. I have cried to her way too many times to count but it doesn’t seem to phase her. It’s scary how quickly somebody you know so deeply can change and become so cold to your feelings.

  • Howard
    January 7, 2014 | Permalink |

    I’m breaking off a 5 year friendship with my closest female friend where we would talk and text multiple times a day. She’s been seeing a counselor for years because she grew up with an emotionally abusive dad and probably because of that she’s constantly getting into bad relationships and keeps people at a distance. I’ve allowed her to behave selfishly at times because she’s been through and is still going through so much, but I think that was a mistake. Every few months my patience wears thin because we plan times to hangout and she’s always cancelling and rescheduling. A while back I asked if she wanted to go on a winery trip with me and my friends and she said that she was on a diet where she wasn’t drinking alcohol. Just a few days after my trip she posted pictures of her going on 2 different winery tours with girlfriends she is always saying treat her like garbage. I was confused and angry and called her out and she just said she had already planned those. I didn’t talk to her for a few days and then she worked her way back in. We hung out a few times after that then she said she was busy for 2 weeks, which was fine. We still talked daily and planned to have dinner on a Tuesday, which got rescheduled to Wednesday. Then the day before I asked if we were still on for Wednesday she said she couldn’t, but Thursday or Friday would work. Then I got a text message Thursday morning saying she couldn’t make it. That was it for me. I told her I had to get some space for a while. Sadly enough I’m sometimes regretting my decision, but we had the same argument over and over about her inconsistency. I’m still thinking about it everyday.

  • Mystery User
    January 30, 2014 | Permalink |

    I felt like crying while reading this… It took me 3 years to realize my “best friend” was just using me. I was nothing more than an option for her to get some comfort for her many insecurities which she suffered with. I disappeared for one month to deal with a life threatening problem in my life and when i reconnected with everyone and everything in life, this so called “best friend” was giving me this really strange attitude as if she didn’t need me anymore and had moved on. She claimed her priorities had changed and up till this day she still messages me after i spoke to her about her trangression in 2013 and continues to act as if i never expressed discontent.
    I’m glad i came across this article. Life is very strange and twisted. I will be silent with her from now on until she realizes how hurt I am for what she’s done to me, if ever.

  • Kit
    February 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    Mystery user,
    I’m so sorry for the hurt you feel because I can totally sympathize. My best friend has major insecurity issues, especially when it comes to men. When she’s not good with her boyfriend, that’s when she can seem to be so sweet, caring and nice to me. However, when things are good with him then I am stuck on the back burner once again while I beg for her time, whether it be an evening walk, dinner or a movie. I think that’s why I’m struggling to totally let the friendship go. When she’s good, she’s really good and I’m still clinging to the good fun times. My heart is slowly starting to harden towards her and I’ve warned her that it is but she dismisses my words and tells me that I’ll be fine. I’m not fine and with each passing day I’m beginning to resent her more and more. This is defintely the most stressful relationship I’ve ever had. Doesn’t seem like friendships should be so much work.

  • Harshita
    March 27, 2014 | Permalink |

    I am so glad I came across this!

    This article can save a lot of people and a lot of tears as well,
    I feel awesome after reading this, useful for future reference as well! :D (y)

  • Harry
    April 5, 2014 | Permalink |

    It’s a nice write up.. I just broke up with my girl after a 2 and a 1/2 year relationship.. That she dumped me was acceptable but the way she treated me after wasn’t.. She regularly called me when she needed emotional support or a pep talk.. She cried and wailed in front of me at times, she wanted to meet me all the time as she was emotionally fragile. I helped her through that and her exams leaving aside all the prep for my own exams which were a few mths after hers.. The day she got done with her exams she called me to meet her and told me that it wasn’t working and that she needed time off, leaving me alone and vulnerable.. She’s never given me the space or the time to get over her.. Even now she calls when she faces a difficult situation or is feeling low.. I really needed someone to talk to a few days back and cldnt think bout anyone but her. I called her and she didn’t recieve my call. Neither did she call back and when I did land up talking to her she said she was busy.. I have clearly become an option in her life, even though I did feel like a priority when v were together. I shall never let this happen again! I wish her all the luck and hope she’s blessed with a good life, but I can never b her friend!

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