One of the greatest benefits of having close friendships is that our friends can support and help us when things get rough in our lives.
In exchange for the support our friends give us during a crisis, most of us also help our friends when they need it.
In a relationship between two emotionally healthy adults, the roles of giving and receiving help are balanced. Both people offer help and receive help from each other in approximately equal amounts.
However, there are some people who always take on the role of being the helper, no matter what relationship they are in.
These people have friendships that focus exclusively on trying to solve the problems of their friends. We sometimes call this quality “co-dependency”, and we may label people who are obsessed with helping others “co-dependent”.
A person who is co-dependent will tend to have relationships with people who have a lot of problems – emotional, social, familial and financial. The co-dependent person may spend much of their own time, money, and energy helping other people who have problems, while ignoring the problems in their own life.