I was talking to someone close to me the other day and she was railing about how she wasn't getting anything that she wanted from any of her friends. They weren't taking good care of her. They weren't showing up for her. They weren't giving her the love that was due to her. And I said, "I have a response to that, would you like to hear it?" She thought about it for a moment of two, inhaled/exhaled a couple of times and said, "Yes."
"No one owes you anything."
"The only people who owe you anything at all, are your parents, depending on how they see their role, since you're over 18 years of age, and the people you pay for services (doctors, professors, auto mechanics) etc. Besides that, no one is obliged to you."
My dear young friend sat stunned for a few moments while she took in this new concept. "Furthermore," I added, "If your friends aren't treating you right, this is your fault, not theirs. You have either a) picked the wrong people, b) not communicated your needs or c) not been able to see how they do take care of you, love you and show up for you. In any event, it is on you."
"I have told them what I want." she said. "Have they delivered, then?" I inquired.
"No." she said despondently.
"Why have you stayed with them?" I pushed.
"Because they're my friends." she said lifelessly.
"Maybe you should seek out friends who respond positively to your needs when you express them, eh?" I nudged.
"OH MY GOD! I have all the wrong friends. I have had all the wrong friends for years. I thought they were supposed to know me to show up for me the way that I wanted them to because they said we were friends, but that's not it at all and now I'm not going to have any friends! Shit!" she exclaimed.
"Well," softening the blow, "you're going to need to start over a bit, yes," I said, "but at least this time you're going to know what you're looking for.
She looked at me solemnly and said, "I want a friend who will give me a hug when times are bad."
I hugged her and told her that I'm sure she will find that if she looks and keeps her standards up.