I'm Tired Of Making People A Priority When I'm Just A Backup

Photo: Jacob Lund / shutterstock
group of friends

By Emily Bernstein

I’ve spent most of my life making sure that all of my friends were happy. In college, especially, I reach out to my friends (new and old) to talk to them, but also to make sure they’re doing well. 

I want my friends to be happy and enjoy life.

My friends are always there for me if I need them to give me advice, to let me cry on their shoulders, or to make me laugh when I’m down. And I’m the same way. Every text, phone call, or need to have someone there with you, and I’m there. 

I like supporting my friends and being there for them. I like focusing on someone else and helping them to feel better when they’re feeling bad.

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But it’s begun to feel like some of my friends didn’t have the time for me, nor did they want to make the time for me.

And every time I tried to make plans, it was unanswered texts or cancellations at the last second. Sure, if I was in a crisis, someone was there for me, but sometimes I just want to hang out with you and laugh and be silly.

I would leave space open for these friends only to have it stay open because I’m too busy and school is just crazy right now. My texts would go unanswered for hours or days, only for me to get Snapchats from the same person I was trying to get ahold of.

After seeing Snapchat stories from friends who couldn’t take the time just to answer my "Hey!" text, I would become frustrated, but always forgive them when they (finally) answered me.

It sounds dumb, I know. Oh, Emily, stop complaining about how your friends don’t pay attention to you sometimes; I’m sure you have better friends

It’s true. I do have other friends — friends who rarely cancel on me last minute, friends who are there for me always, friends who support me and tell me that I’m not being b****y when I know that I am, friends who tell me my feelings are valid.

RELATED: 5 Signs You Have A Toxic Friend In Your Life (And How To Break Up With Them)

And it’s taken me years to realize that having these friends, the ones who are going to make me a priority when I need it, are the friends I need to keep.

I’m tired of making some people a priority in my life, when I'm only second best in theirs. 

I am constantly striving to make everyone and everything in my life a priority. I’m trying to make sure all my friends are happy, my grades are good, and sometimes, I put caring for myself last because of that.

And it’s taken me a long time to learn to cut people out of my life who are making me suffer. A long time to learn that not all friends stay in our lives forever. A long time to know that some friends don’t deserve to stay in our lives.

We may have been there for each other in the past. And each relationship is different. And people change. We grow apart. I know this.

I know that, sometimes, we move on. And as I grow older, I need to move on from these friendships that are becoming less than fulfilling.

And this article may sound petty. It may sound like I’m whining like I’m just being b****y. And honestly? I don’t really care anymore. I’m tired of having friendships that feel like half of a relationship, friendships that don’t feel real anymore.

Look, every text doesn’t have to be immediately responded to. Every plan doesn’t have to be followed through.

But don’t make me feel like your backup plan, the person you finally text when everyone else is busy, the person who is second to everyone else. Make me feel like you care for me, in the same way I care for you.

Make me feel like a priority in your life.

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Emily Bernstein is a writer whose work focuses on mental health, pop culture, love, and family. Her writing has been featured in Nature, The New Yorker, Interview Magazine, Healio, Five O'Clock, among others. Follow her on Twitter for more.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.