Nurture Relationships: Stop Giving to Those Who Can't Return

If you devote a lot of attention and affection to someone and they don’t match it with the same it’s time to stop investing your effort and energy.
Nurture Relationships: Stop Giving to Those Who Can't Return
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

All of us plant figurative “flowers” in other people’s gardens. We do this because we want to nurture relationships. After all, it creates meaningful connections with people who we believe are important to us.

However, sometimes we make bad choices about the gardens in which we plant our seeds of kindness, dedication, affection, time and energy.

Unfortunately, our actions are not recognized. There are people who are used to getting attention but who forget that a relationship is about sharing and reciprocity. Above all, a healthy relationship about a psychological and emotional maturity where both parties win and nobody loses.

It’s not always easy to build strong and enriching relationships with those around us. There are those who fail us, who neglect us, and there are those who sometimes deliberately leave us aside.

However it may be, there’s one thing we mustn’t forget: caring for others and always trying to give our best is not a bad thing. On the contrary: it’s a sign of  honor and compassion.

However, it’s important to never neglect the roots of the most beautiful flower: our self-esteem.

Is it always worth it to nurture relationships?

How do I know which people are worth investing in?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula that tells us who’s not going to fail us. There’s no way of knowing who will always be close, have integrity, or who will always be on hand to support us to grow as a person.

Relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, are shaped over time. They become strong through the moments that test the bond.

It’s in those moments when, almost without realizing it, we discover who that person is and who they aren’t.

However, there are still some clues that can help in answering this question.

Emotional coherence

nurture relationships

Emotional coherence refers to the psychological balance with which we guarantee to others that we are always going to act and react with consistency.

All of us have known people who behave erratically. This makes us uncomfortable. There are days when they’re friendly and accessible, and other moments when they react with a certain coldness and hostility.

Be very cautious and intuitive when it comes to establishing relationships or friendships with emotionally incoherent people. These people may exhibit sudden ups and downs. Some days, they may seem to need us very much, and other days, they may forget about us completely.


Commitment is an ongoing interest in which attention is not lost or broken. Thus, a significant bond is maintained over time.

This aspect can be reflected in many ways:

  • When we need help or support and we can count on those special people.
  • Commitment is also demonstrated by being able to imagine a common future and making plans together.
  • In turn, you have to want the same things. If you ever reach a time when you’re the only one working day to day for those dreams or goals, that commitment isn’t authentic.

Satisfying Basic Needs

Satisfying Basic Needs

We all have basic needs. It’s important to acknowledge this.

Otherwise, we’ll make the mistake of always investing in others and forgetting that we, too, deserve and need care, attention, and recognition.

Here are some of the basic needs that should be provided for in our day-to-day relationships:

  • Affection
  • Support
  • Mutual trust
  • Being treated with respect
  • Feeling that we’re valued and important
  • Being certain that we’re always going to be told the truth
  • Company
  • Sharing positive and enriching moments

The ability to repair, resolve, forgive, and nurture relationships

The ability to repair, resolve and forgive

All of us make mistakes. However, all of us deserve the forgiveness of people who matter to us in order to improve and nurture relationships.

However, there are people who often take an “all or nothing” attitude. This means that they respond with toughness and don’t allow for doubts, weaknesses, or small mistakes.

Not only that, there are also people who can’t ever reach an agreement and who are incapable of dialogue. They can’t hold a conversation and clarify their thoughts, doubts, or errors. Therefore, they can’t reach a solution for the problems that we often come up against in everyday life.

Also read: Don’t Let Internal Conflicts Lead to External Issues

This type of personality is unable to rebuild, re-enable, or recognise the error or do what’s necessary to fix what’s happened. It is, without doubt, a troublesome profile that will make us more sad than happy.

To conclude, if you think about each of these aspects of a relationship or friendship, you’ll see that there are always small clues as to those people in whom it’s worth investing, planting seeds, and pinning hopes.

Otherwise, there are gardens in which it’s best not to venture to nurture relationships.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Canevello, A., & Crocker, J. (2010). Creating Good Relationships: Responsiveness, Relationship Quality, and Interpersonal Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

  • Hallam, R. S., & Hinchcliffe, R. (1991). Emotional stability; Its relationship to confidence in maintaining balance. Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

  • Fuller-Iglesias, H. R., Webster, N. J., & Antonucci, T. C. (2013). Adult Family Relationships in the Context of Friendship. Research in Human Development.

  • Carbery, J., & Buhrmester, D. (1998). Friendship and need fulfillment during three phases of young adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.