“I need to talk to you.”
“You’re such a good listener!”
“It reminds me of a time that this happened to me!”
“Speaking of which, this happened to me today…”
“That’s cool… I need to tell you about my day, though.”
“Sorry I haven’t replied for a few days, but you’ll never guess what’s just happened to me!”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, I am afraid you might have unwittingly turned into a human Alexa in your relationships.
Whilst of course friendships and relationships at times need to be more one sided than others, sometimes some people in our lives are simply just takers. Some people do not view you as a fully formed person in your own right, but rather as an unpaid therapist, a sounding board, a stress ball. From experience, these kind of relationships only end in one way – you feeling a lot of hurt and spending a lot of time scolding yourself for wasting so much time and effort on someone who was only after the things you could give them without ever offering anything else in return.
The truth is, being an Alexa in a relationship is hard work. You are expected to be on call for the other person 24/7. You’re like an on demand service – they click, you wake up, you make it okay. You’re there to listen, to soothe, to offer advice – but in no way are you there to try gain something from this relationship yourself. If you are having a hard time, it’s not for you to talk about it to them – your function to listen to them, not to speak about you. If you suspect you are in Alexa in one of your relationships, just try and steer the conversation away from the other person and see how quickly it comes back around to. People who want Alexa relationships are people who love the sound of their own voice, who one up every story you share and who never let you get to the end of your point because to them what they have to say and what they need from you is so much more important. In the end, when they have done with you, you’re left disorientated, hurt, used.
It’s frustrating having a one sided relationship. You feel your enthusiasm drain away from your body the minute you see your phone light up with another self absorbed message. It’s hard to feel excited about communication when your spirit is being pulled out of you by a human leech trying to use you for their own benefit. Then, when you have been taken from and dropped once you have served your purpose, you are expected to sit back in silence and wait for the next time they urgently need you.
“Are you free? I really need to talk to someone!”
The thing with relationships like this is that they never change. If someone views you as their Alexa, you will always be their Alexa. They will always come to you to fix their problems, to bitch about their coworker, to listen. The idea of listening to you and being there for you won’t cross their mind because your relationship with them was never built on equal communication. You were their Alexa, they were never yours.
One of the hardest but most vital lessons I have learnt growing up is when to walk away from situations that no longer serve you. If you do not feel a relationship is equal, if you feel that you are made to be less important than the other person, then you need to walk away. At times one person might need more support than the other, but fundamentally you should be on a level with each other. A romantic relationship or a friendship is a partnership, one that should be built on mutual respect and commitment to each other. If it’s not, then it’s not for you.
When I was younger I used to believe that having a big group of friends was so important, but now I see how having a core group of brilliant, got your back, I’ll listen to you and you listen to me friends is worth way more than a room full of people who are only your friend on the surface. Once you realise this, streamlining your life and focusing your time, attention and love on the people who matter becomes so much easier.
You are not an Alexa. You are not there to report the weather, to listen and respond on someone else’s terms only, to shut up when you have served your purpose. You are worth more than that, and it’s time to turn off from anyone who tells you any differently.