A relationship can be the best part of life. However, it can also become very one sided and destructive to your personal and emotional health. First off, it’s important to understand that you can’t chose family… but you DO have complete control over what friendships you let into your life.
What is a 90-10 relationship?
A 90-10 relationship is when one person is devoted to the relationship 90% and the other is only involved 10%. The instance I’m talking about today, is when you’re the friend in the relationship who is doing 90% of the work, and your friend is only showing up 10% of the time. By showing up I mean they’re not making an effort to connect with you, and then expecting you to do all the work to stay friends with them. As the 90% you sometimes end up feeling responsible for this person. They’re expecting you to always call them, to make plans with them, and their feelings probably get hurt easily if you appear to be busier than they’d like.
How to change it:
The first step to changing this relationship from 90-10 to more 50-50 is that you have to own your part in it. The relationship isn’t just because of your 10% friend. It’s also because of you. Ask yourself what you’re getting out of the relationship. Do you often feel like the hero because you solve the problems? Or feel important or in charge because you make all the plans? In most 90-10 relationships the 90 friend feels significant and important at first but it wears off, leaving them feeling resentful, tired, and stressed.
Now that you’ve owned your part in the relationship the next step is to chill out. Don’t let the fact that you realized its 90-10 instead of 50-50 turn into a monster. Don’t put all the blame on you, or your friend. The best way to approach any change is to slowly teach them now to treat you. You’ve probably been in this relationship awhile, so you know what’s going to happen. Predict their actions, and when the stress increases trying being proactive instead of getting sucked in. Let them know you appreciate them and what your current situation is. It’s okay to be busy and let them know that, like saying you aren’t always available for a phone call or can’t always answer text messages quickly, but be prepared for them to test the waters and push your limits. This may be uncomfortable but change starts with you. If you aren’t happy being the 90 then you need to start changing your behavior and your interaction with your friend, teach them how to treat you, but do it slowly.
If you’ve tried to slowly make changes and it isn’t really working or nothing is really changing, then you need to evaluate the relationship and see just how much stress its worth. Working through how much stress you currently have because of the relationship and how much you can tolerate will help you see where your limits are. Only so much stress can be dealt with from one relationship; you have to think about the worst-case scenario, and if you’re ready to handle it. Friendships do fluctuate over the years; and don’t get me wrong, there are times when friendships need to be one sided because the other person is going through a hard time. However, view your friendship as a whole. Has is been one sided for the entire duration of the relationship? If so, it’s time to take a moment to reevaluate what you want from having this person in your life.
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