As we grow older and wiser, relationships (whether familial, platonic, or romantic) inevitably change – that’s simply a reality of the human experience. Some of those relationships continue to improve and strengthen with time and maturity. In contrast, others seem to wither away from a lack of nurturing. However, it becomes puzzling how to accurately determine if someone still truly values you in their life.
Many of us rarely entertain such a question. Understandably, we’re fearful of the answers, which challenge our often skewed perception of reality – of a true, connecting, and binding relationship having taken place.
A relationship shouldn’t feel like a chore – a one-sided exercise with little return on your investment. Unfortunately, this often forces you to tolerate a handful of repetitive excuses for one’s inability to be present and even transparent in your life.
While there are many examples I could provide to help determine if someone still truly values you in their life, here are a few tell-tale signs.
How quickly do they respond to text messages?
Consider the following statistics regarding cell phone usage in America. The average American spends about five hours and 24 minutes on their cell phone each day. Perhaps even more surprising, on average, Americans will check their cell phones at least 96 times per day or every ten minutes.
Now we’re all busy from time to time with our careers, travel, or other tasks which occupy our days, so an occasionally missed text is understandable. But if your texts to family members or friends regularly take three to five days for a response, you’re obviously very low on that person’s priority list.
Cell phones are a remarkable technological advancement. But with the average person checking their phones 96 times per day, it’s increasingly more difficult to justify why you’ve missed responding to someone’s text promptly unless they’re of no value to you.
How respectful are they of your time?
Say it’s your birthday, and you’ve invited some close family and friends to your house for a celebratory dinner. Your special day lands on a Friday, so the date seems opportune to schedule this celebration of another year of living, laughing, and loving.
One friend comes back saying their son has sports practice that evening. To try and be accommodating and fair, you reschedule for that Saturday. But again, your invitation is declined by the same person as their daughter has a sleepover. Frustrated, you toss out Sunday, only for them to respond with a series of dates that work better for them, with little compassion or empathy over the fact that the schedule of others is now dictating your birthday celebration.
If someone truly values you in their life, when a once-a-year event such as a birthday rolls around, people are often willing to adjust their schedules to show their appreciation for you and your time. However, if sports practice is more important than watching you blow out the candles on your special day, that says something.
When you get together, do they give you their undivided attention?
This could very well be one of the most apparent signs that someone doesn’t truly value you in their life. Ask yourself, how often are they on their phone rather than being engaged in the conversation?
Do they ask about how you’re doing in your personal and professional life with sincerity and interest? Or do they spend most of the time talking about their busy lives while pontificating about news headlines, with their narrow views being the only acceptable conversation points?
One-sided conversations are easy to spot among family and friends and are a clear indicator that people aren’t interested in hearing about experiences outside of their own.
I wish I could say that confronting someone whom you believe doesn’t value you in their life will somehow make a difference – it won’t. Chances are you’ll be met with defensiveness and negativity to deflect blame from themselves. This allows them to continue perpetuating the charade that they are honest, compassionate people, and we should feel honored to have them in our lives.
Discovering if someone truly values you in your life is not difficult, but it can be upsetting. Yes, sometimes we all make a mistake that may hurt someone’s feelings – that’s part of being human. But if the behaviors above are consistent every time you interact with these people, I’m sorry to say that you’ve found your answer.
Regardless of the relationship, we all deserve to feel loved, appreciated, and valued by those around us. And those relationships should be a priority, not tossed aside with little importance. The people in our lives won’t be around forever, and time is definitely something you can’t get back once it’s gone.