Talia Levy

June 16, 2023

when energy isn't reciprocated

I discovered that I was giving people a lot of undeserved energy, because of a past relationship. I was thinking of the questions and starting conversation the most, and I realized I needed to look past seeing myself as a “good conversationalist” and understand the potential problems with continuing unbalanced relationships in this way.

This habit of giving undeserved energy came from that relationship because during it, I was the one who made the most effort to further conversation. I was constantly the one to bring up topics and ask questions. I was giving my energy to a person who didn’t reciprocate or deserve it.

The word “deserve” can seem difficult to define because how do we know if we’re deserving of something? When I use deserve in this way, I just mean are they matching your energy? Do you feel they’re putting in as much effort as you are?

If they’re not, they don’t deserve your energy. There might be exceptions to this in life, but generally and for the purposes of this conversation, they don’t deserve it.

If they want your energy, they have to step it up and become a match to it. Only when they make themselves a match, will you consider them deserving of your energy and spend yours on them.

I was definitely talking to people who I wasn’t a match to. That habit and way of interacting, transferred from that relationship to my friends and acquantainces I would talk to on the daily.

The relationship made me feel like doing so was a necessity. Like I needed to make the effort, or we otherwise wouldn’t talk, and things wouldn’t work. In reality, that’s a sign.

If it’s going to take you doing everything to keep the relationship afloat, it shows it’s not the right one for you to be in. This goes for friendships too.

I also attributed my over-effort to my being a good conversationalist. In some ways, I didn’t mind showing this energy because it constantly reaffirmed that I had the ability to hold a conversation, even when I’m not given much. And that is an admirable skill.

But while yes, I am a good conversationalist, I still have to consider how much the other person is giving to me. The thing I hadn’t stopped to consider was whether people deserved to receive my good conversationalist skills.

When you give people energy that doesn’t get reciprocated, you’re showing others that you’re okay with less. That you’re okay with settling. And you’ll be stuck attracting people who want to meet you at your “settling” state, because it makes life easier for them.

Don’t attract those people. Attract the people who are a match to you by showing that unless they put in the same energy, you’re not going to give them yours.

Since I’ve come to this realization, I’ve been a lot better about not giving my energy to people who don’t deserve it and saving it for those who do.

I don’t go about this in a rude way, but if I find someone’s not a match, I’ll let the conversation die vs trying to keep it afloat. I’ll stop initiating conversations and hang outs.

Hanging out was also something I felt my efforts in planning weren’t always being reciprocated in, so I acted on it.

That relationship had made me pay more attention to the art of conversation as a whole, so I’ve been aware of people’s energy and their reciprocation for awhile. It’s just that now I actually act on that awareness and protect my energy.

It’s incredibly freeing for me to protect my energy like this. It was a bit hard for me at first because I think people know me as a nice person with a lot of energy.

So to think about distancing myself and stopping giving so much energy to people, it felt rude in a way. I also appreciate those traits, a nice person with good energy, and in a sense, I’d care to uphold and continue to be those things.

But what I realized is that protecting my energy is a non-negotiable. And I can’t be so concerned with how others see me.

I know I’m a kind person, I’m respectful, and when I wish to give my energy, I give the best. As long as I know that for myself, I’m good. I don’t need everyone else to feel that way about me for it to be true.

It’s also a non-negotiable because I feel like I’m respecting myself a lot more. By distancing myself from those who don’t show me as much energy as I do them, I trust that I won’t settle.

I’m making myself a match to the things and people I deserve to have in my life, and it’s a very liberating feeling.

I have wondered if for the purposes of being a good conversationalist, whether it’s worth it to talk to people who don’t match my energy in conversation, JUST to continue practicing making something out of nothing.

Because that was a major thing that improved my conversation skills immensely. Creating something out of nothing. So a part of me wonders if I should keep some of those people in my life, just so I can keep building that skill.

But upon further thought, I wouldn’t. Because there’s definitely still the element of figuring out what to talk about with the people who are a match to you. You’ll still get to practice it and build that skill.

Sacrificing your energy and showing the world you’re okay with settling for less than you deserve—putting that energy out into the universe—is not okay.

So while I’m on the journey of becoming a better conversationalist, I’m also on a journey of making the space for people in my life who are a match to me and my energy.

I found the cause of why I’d been overgiving my energy in friendships, and I’ve been protecting it more. I realized that that habit carried over from a relationship of mine where I felt the need to always carry conversation.

I was on this run of always being the one to give so much energy to make up for the other person’s, but no more. Realizing that I don’t need to do that for my relationships and friendships has been incredibly freeing.

I’m protecting my energy and making myself a match to people who can and do match the energy that I give.

About Talia Levy

i write about relationships, self-help, & other random reflections i have. new posts every sunday.