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One Key Sign That You're Being Taken for Granted

Being underappreciated in one relationship can damage others.

Key points

  • It's not always clear when someone is taking you for granted, especially if you typically give more than 50%.
  • Just because someone tells you that you are appreciated and valued doesn't really mean that you are.
  • Raise concerns directly as soon as they emerge. How that person responds will say a lot.
  • There's a difference between being temporarily preoccupied and being low on a person's priority list.
Vincent Besnault/Getty
Do you feel taken for granted in a relationship? Well, maybe you are.
Source: Vincent Besnault/Getty

You probably don’t enter any relationship, personal or professional, thinking, “Gee, I really hope that someday I get taken for granted.” Nonetheless, you may very well find yourself in a situation where the other person is indeed undervaluing and underappreciating you.

It makes sense to want to identify such situations as quickly as possible. But that can be easier said than done.

Your significant other, friend, boss, teacher, coworker, or whoever may rain you with sweet nothings, claiming that you are indeed appreciated. The world is full of sweet talkers who can make it seem like you matter to them but really don't.

This can get a bit confusing, especially if you are used to giving well over 50 percent in relationships, being accommodating, wondering whether your expectations are too high for people, or making excuses for other people. So how do you tell, in the words of Marvin Gaye, what's going on?

Well, one good way is to see what happens when you do raise any significant concerns to that person, especially if any concern relates to that person or your relationship with each other. How seriously does that person take the concern? How quickly do they address it in a find-a-solution way?

The response itself can tell you a lot. For example, when I once told someone, “I don’t feel like you're really hearing what I have to say,” that person responded, “I hear you” and then abruptly left the conversation without giving me an opportunity to say anything more.

The very definition of taking someone for granted is assuming that the person will always stick around, regardless of whether you put enough effort into maintaining the relationship. Few people would leave their cars unattended for months or ignore all warning lights that may appear on the dashboard. Why then should anyone assume the equivalent for their human relationships and somehow expect such relationships to keep going and going with both sides providing adequate fuel?

If someone is taking you for granted, the big question is whether you are actually allowing that person to do so. Are you expecting enough out of what should be a bilateral relationship? Are you letting your concerns slide rather than raising them to the other as soon as they emerge? Instead, it's a good idea to do what can be called "raising the Titanic," that is, raising concerns that over time may contribute to the sinking of the relationship.

Raising concerns can help determine whether the other person is temporarily, unconsciously taking you for granted versus in general keeping you low on their priority list. Even the best of relationships can suffer through periods when one person is distracted or occupied and momentarily takes the other for granted. That can be understandable.

Raising concerns with the other person can be like saying, "Hey, I'm here" and snap the other person back into realizing how important it is to put in effort to maintain the relationship. A legitimate oversight usually prompts them to repair matters by addressing your concerns. Even if they can't immediately resolve your concerns, they can at least demonstrate real effort.

However, it's a different story when that person simply ignores or dismisses your concerns. Or tries to explain them away without substantively addressing them. Or maybe even gets annoyed with you for bothering them with your concerns. You really can't force someone to make you more of a priority. That person has to choose to do so.

What you can do is see where you stand on their priority list and decide whether you are fine with being in that position. If the answer is "no," then it may be time to move on and seek a more balanced relationship.

Keep in mind that being underappreciated and undervalued in one relationship can be a big drain on your other relationships. After all, one minute spent on a person who is taking you for granted and doesn't deserve your time is one less minute for someone who does deserve your time. Don't take for granted what being taken for granted by someone can do to other people in your life.

Facebook image: Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock

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