The moral dilemma of what defines a good friend plagues the mind of everyone at some point or another. Whether you consider yourself a more secluded person or a "giver" by nature, being able to self-evaluate is crucial. While being a selfless person is truly a gift, there comes a point where enough is enough. This an open letter to those, much like myself, that struggle with balancing healthy relationships.
If I knew of an algorithm that could produce the perfect friend balance, I would be the first one to share it. Learning to say "no" and turn down those in need (or seemingly in need) is definitely not my strong suit.
First and foremost, learn to prioritize your mental health. There are few things more important in life than your mind, heart, and brain. When you put your well being on the back-burner and focus all of your attention on another's well being, you're not only putting yourself at risk but them as well. Recognizing a need for change is hard enough when you're coming to the realization yourself, having another unstable person in your life suggest that change is downright insulting. Strive to take care of yourself first, placing the attention on your needs will make you way more credible in the presence of others.
Learn to lean on the strong people in your life. You may not be going through some life-altering event, but you are human and there are going to be hard days. Expecting yourself to take care of everyone around you but not allowing others to take care of you is a recipe for mental breakdown. That being said, having a breakdown is 100% okay. Stress hits everyone at a different pace and expecting yourself to handle it perfectly all of the time is unrealistic.
Saying no and standing your ground on your feelings is not something of which you should ever be ashamed. There have been so many times that I have been embarrassed to say no, knowing for a fact that my peer expected an enthusiastic yes. We are our harshest critics. Most of the time, our peers will respect us for being honest about our obligations and what we can and can't do. Being consistent and honest in your promises is more important than saying yes all of the time.
Having a heart for others and wanting to provide emotional and physical support for those around you is a gift. Embrace your personality and do your best to surround yourself with those that reciprocate the care and attention are important for your general happiness. Remember to focus on yourself first and the strong friendships will fall into place after that. The world needs "givers" but it isn't your job to give all of yourself to those that don't reciprocate.