When was the last time your friends or loved ones actually acknowledged the things you do for them? You cleaned the whole house, worked late so you can afford that vacation, or spent hours on that home-cooked meal, and not even a “thank you”? Ouch. Oh, and I know: Both of you can’t look good at the same time. It’s either you or the house. Speaking of which…Time to clean out your car again, just in case anyone needs 27 half-empty bottles of water. Heh. But seriously, there are those people we care about who make little or no effort to truly involve us in their lives. It’s hard not to end up feeling unappreciated for who you are or even worse: taken for granted.

You’re constantly going out of your way for him, tending to his every need and always putting him first. There are some things you did once in a while just to be nice; and she now expects them of you all the time. The sad truth is that some people really do not understand just how much you do for them until you stop doing it. Does your relationship feel mutual to you? Do you feel supported emotionally, or are you constantly yearning for more attention and closeness? Perhaps you make him a priority in your life and then expect him to make you one in his. Or you are forever giving her so much, and not getting much in return. You are always the one who has to compromise. You feel as neglected as a white crayon.

No one should ever make you question your worth as a person. Even the strongest feelings can expire when we feel ignored, rejected, or dismissed. If someone you care for puts other people or things before you on a regular basis, it sure may seem as though they value those things more than you. Please don’t lose yourself trying to hold onto someone who does not care about losing you.

Just know that each time you take her for granted, you are teaching her to live without you. Sometimes our friends treat work colleagues, or even casual acquaintances, better than they treat us. How infuriating is that. What we should all do are some small gestures to make our family and friends feel wanted and loved. And yes, we all deserve that. So save that last piece of cake for him. Oh, and “clean” eating is not doing the dishes while eating a cake. If she catches a cold, pamper her a bit. You get the idea.

I know. We can all shake our family tree, waiting for the nuts to fall out. It is human nature to get comfortable with the way things are – especially with family or a friend you have been with for a long time. We get so caught up in our daily routines and lifestyle that we do not even realize how we are coming across to the closest people in our lives.

At times, people are not being dismissive of you on purpose. That does not mean that you should ignore or neglect your feelings. No, no. That is a surefire recipe for resentment and anger, which will surface. Trust me on that. It may be subtle at first, but it will eventually shred your inner peace. Your reasonable needs should be treated as such.

Yes, there is such a thing as being a pushover, being too compliant, or always accommodating. Perhaps you’re an easygoing sort, born to be mild. But efforts on your part still deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated, sweet friends. Never make your friend feel alone, most especially when you’re there. How about you treat her like your smartphone. Stare at her all day long, and make her feel like she’s the most important thing in your life. Oh, and nice try “Unknown Number”; I don’t even answer the phone for people I know. Lol.

I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t kindness be its own reward, Caroline? Certainly – when you are selflessly serving others or being charitable. But if someone you care for is being self-absorbed, please name what you are feeling and, if possible, share it with them. Do you feel small when you are with them, or perhaps disregarded, or disrespected even? Most importantly, please do not let their bad behavior affect your opinion of yourself.

A good relationship will always involve some sacrifice. There is only one thing in this life more precious than time: It is whom you spend it on. Be careful, sweet friends. It’s been observed: When you take things for granted, the things you are granted get taken.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.