Ask Dr. V, Ungrateful People

Venus Nicolino holds a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her column addresses Love, Life and Relationships. This week: ungrateful people

Dear Dr. V,

For a long time, I’ve had issues with a friend, and we’ve grown apart. Mostly this year since I got back from a winter trip, my “friend” has been unusually ungrateful to me. The only time she’ll willingly and happily approach me is if she wants something from me. My general nature is to not hold grudges and try to just fight fire with wood, and be nice even further, or at least treat them like a regular human, even if they treat me like a tool.

So I generally will oblige her a piece of gum, or a pencil, or money, or whatever it is her poor little heart desires, but what’s getting really annoying is once she gets it, she never thanks me, or often stops interacting with me in general. I forgot where I was heading with this …

Anyway, I even tried to talk with her about it but she somehow slung the blame at me! How would you deal with someone like this, who probably hates you, but since they know you’re reliable, they’ll try to use you when possible?

How do you deal with ungrateful people?

Kathy from California

Dear Kathy,

In life, each and every one of us has had our fair share of experiences dealing with ungrateful people. These experiences, whether we like it or not, are unavoidable parts and parcels of life’s journey. But how do you deal with ungrateful people? I totally empathize and honestly, when it happens to me, I do feel momentarily sad, but not unhappy or hurt.

Because, deep down in me, when I extend my help or sacrifices to people, whether they are ungrateful or otherwise, I do it out of sincerity and love from my heart, without any conditions attached, and expect nothing in return. So, I never feel hurt by insincere and ungrateful people. You will never be able to make a person grateful for anything, but you can just be happy with your own good deeds.

This being said, I’m no doormat and neither are you. Running into ungrateful people here and there is very different than constantly putting yourself in an abusive situation. Kathy, “hate” is a very strong word. Why on earth would you be putting yourself in this kind of manipulative relationship? You deserve a friendship based on mutually respect and trust not hatred and ungratefulness.

The best thing to do is to take every negative thing that has been unfairly hurled against you with dignity, learn from the experiences, draw your boundaries, move on with life, and focus on whatever you are doing to achieve your life’s mission and goals … oh, and give this so-called “friend” the heave-ho.

If explaining to her how you felt was met with confrontation, it’s time to draw your line in the sand. Count your blessing that you are graced with the opportunities to identify and eliminate one more mean spirited, ungrateful person from ever coming close to you again.

It is within your power to protect yourself and focus on all that is positive in your life. Kathy, you have so much love to give, save it for the people who honor and respect you. The natural law of karma (I know it’s an overused word but I swear a Buddhist monk told me this) basically states that, eventually, ungrateful people will be burdened with angers of their unsuccessful attempts to seek yours and other people’s attention, their angers will turn into hatreds, and finally they are stressed because they always end up consumed by all the emotional burdens they initiated. This Buddhist monk also told me; stay far away from this kind of person.


Dr. V

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