We all strive to be loving and supportive friends and family, and to be there for others in their times of need. But what do you do when it’s all take and no give? When someone is always in need? It’s ok to say not to emotional labor.
There Are Exceptions
Let’s first discuss the areas we must be most mindful of, which includes trauma and grief. If someone is in the midst of a health scare, a loved one is sick or dying, if someone has died, a significant relationship has come to an end, or someone has just had a traumatic experience. These are the times in life when we must be there for our nearest and dearest.
When Timing Is Bad
If a loved one calls or texts at work, in the middle of something that requires your spirits to be high, or when you are going through your own tough time—it is ok to let them know that right this moment is not the best time. In fact, this is a skill we should all develop. It should sound something like this:
“I am upset and hurt and having a really tough time at work right now and need to vent and talk it through. Do you have the time and energy to talk right now?”
A response could be “yes”, or “I am always here for you but right this moment I can’t give you my full attention.”
Here’s to being a healthier presence in the lives of those we love, without feeling taken advantage of—and without emotionally draining those we love.