We have all been taught that it's the right thing to do is try and be a good friend. When our friends need us we should be there to give moral support, or to allow them to vent their feelings. Is there a fine line between being a good friend and compromising ones emotional well being? There does come a point when a friendship that feels emotionally daunting must be analyzed, and a decision needs to be made on whether to continue the relationship. If the relationship feels unbalanced, and you feel like you are giving a large part of yourself, something is probably not right. I agree that friends should help one another out, however a friends obligations should never become your burden.
I have some guidelines that I live by, which have seemed to help me from getting into some of the uncomfortable and awkward situations.
1. Lay the ground rules from the start as not to get things fuzzy. If you are someone who really dislikes watching friends children; you need to be honest from the start that babysitting is not okay, but perhaps walking their dog every once in a while is acceptable.
2. If something feels wrong it probably is. If you are avoiding your friend because she talks on the phone for an hour and a half everyday about her bad relationship, you are going to feel emotionally drained.
3. Quality not Quantity. This is my golden rule of friendships. I love meeting new people and learning about their lives. Does this mean I am going to be best friends with them all? The quality of the friendship is the most important thing.
4. Don't compromise your priorities; emotional well being, family, etc., for a friends problems.
5. Being in a friendship is supposed to be enjoyable and fun, it shouldn't feel like a job.
Suggested Reading on this subject: 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFF's a friendship field guide by Clea Hantman. This lighthearted book puts things into perspective and makes you laugh!