Are In A One-Sided Friendship?

Written by Harini Natarajan , Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

There may come a time when you realize that you have been crossing oceans for someone who would not even cross a puddle for you. This can change how you used to look at that relationship. Friendship, like any other relationship, requires effort from both sides. If you feel like you are the only one who checks up on your friend all the time and they don’t do the same for you, you may be a part of a one-sided friendship.

A one-sided friendship hurts. But, as the cliché goes, time does heal all wounds. As long as you recognize the signs and understand how to handle a one-sided friendship, you will emerge from this situation a stronger person!

Learn how to figure out that you are in a one-sided friendship and how to deal with it in this article. Keep reading!

What Is A One-Sided Friendship?

One-sided friendship is when one person invests their time, energy, and other resources into the friendship while the other accepts them all, often without an ounce of gratitude or reciprocation. Basically, one friend makes all the effort to maintain the friendship while the other friend does not initiate any contact or make any effort.

Most often, you fail to see the signs of a one-sided friendship because you are standing too close to see the big picture. So, how to tell if a friendship is one-sided? Find out in the next section!

How Do You Know If You Are In A One-Sided Friendship?

Do you spend all your time and energy on your friend but often find yourself dealing with your own problems alone, even when you reach out for help? Are all your plans with them as per their convenience, regardless of your schedule or preferences? Do you feel like if you let go, they would not make any effort to make you stay?

If you have answered yes to at least two of these questions, it is time to look for one-sided friendship signs.

A one-sided friendship is more common than you think and can drain the giver of their energy, both physical and mental. People often feel hurt and confused when a friendship is one-sided. One of the biggest questions that can haunt you during these times is, “Is there something wrong with me?”

However, rest assured that despite all the efforts that you are making, if the other person fails to appreciate and cherish you, it is not your fault.

A strong and long-lasting friendship is based on mutual support. It is a two-way street. If your bond is based on loose strings that only you are holding on to with dear life, you may be spending way too much of your energy on something that can end up hurting you in the long run.

You can have an honest conversation with your friend and figure out how to fix this one-sided friendship, but it is possible only when both sides are ready to do so. You can always try to convey your feelings and make them understand what has been hurting you. If they are willing to acknowledge your feelings and do something about it, you are good to go!

Before the talk, let’s look at the signs your friendship is one-sided.

6 Signs Of A One-Sided Friendship

True friendship goes beyond small talks and sleepovers, coffee dates, and dinners. It goes beyond petty fights and sleepless nights. Friendship is about extending your hand and always finding the other ready to hold yours, be it when you are at your happiest and ready to take over the world or when you have puffy eyes and a red nose from crying way too much. If this has been your experience, it is safe to say that your friendship is not one-sided. If not, here are some signs that can help you figure out if you are in a one-sided friendship.

1. It Is Never About You

From the food that you order to the places that you visit when you are together, it is only about them and their choices. If you feel like you never have a say in what you do when you spend time with them, you might be in a one-sided effort friendship.

2. You Are Always The First To Contact Them

You often find yourself starting a conversation with them with a simple “Hi!” over text or a “Hey! Are you free to talk?” over a call. If their replies are slow and your calls go unanswered most of the time, you are bound to feel like you are the only one putting in the effort. Notice if the conversations die down if you do not keep them going with additional topics. If so, it is a sign of a one-sided friendship.

3. They Only Contact You When They Need Something

Does your friend reach out to you only when they are in trouble or need help with something? Does a notification pop up with their name only when it says, “Hey, can you do me a favor?”

These things are bound to make you feel tired of the friendship. If you are always there for your friend, but you cannot really say the same when it comes to your issues, you might be involved in a one-sided friendship.

4. They Put You Down

Let’s be honest – jokes and sarcastic quips are part and parcel of every friendship. However, when the jokes go too far and, instead of a slight pang, they dig daggers into your self-esteem, you should know that it is not healthy, and it might be time to figure out how to end this one-sided friendship. Friendship should be about building each other up, not breaking each other down. If you feel like your opinions and wishes are not valued and whatever you say or do is criticized or looked down upon, it is safe to say that this bond is turning toxic.

5. They Prefer The Company Of Others

Your friends are bound to have other friends, and it is not a big deal. But if you see them constantly leaving you out when they spend time with others and cancel when you make plans with them, it may be time to revaluate where you stand in their priority list.

6. They Make You Second-Guess Yourself

If they imply that you are being clingy or needy when you seek validation or affection from them, you may wonder, “Is my friendship one-sided?” You must realize that looking for appreciation in a bond is normal, and making you feel guilty about it is not.

Moreover, if they project their anger or negative feelings toward you even when you have done nothing wrong, it may affect your mental health, and you will be left wondering if you have done something to upset them. This is the unfortunate psychology of a one-sided friendship. Yes, people may sometimes let out their anger on someone who is not responsible for it. However, if they repeatedly do so and do not apologize or explain themselves later, it might be a sign that your friendship is one-sided.

So, do you end a one-sided relationship? Find out in the next section.

How To End A One-Sided Friendship?

Ending a one-sided friendship may be difficult, especially if you have been together for a long time. However, if you have conveyed this issue to your friend, and they still refuse to change their behavior, you know that it is time to let go. Sometimes broken things cannot be fixed, and when your friendship is one-sided and most likely to remain so in the future, there is no point in hurting yourself further. Let them know your intentions clearly to prevent further miscommunication. Before cutting off ties completely, slowly start distancing yourself from them. If they do not notice your absence, consider it to be the final straw. Friendships are supposed to be fun, not hurtful. It’s better to let go and hurt for a while rather than stay in pain for years. This pain will pass. If you are not ready to let go of them completely, talk to them and find a middle ground where you both are still acquainted with each other, but not as much as before.

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter if you are in a one-sided friendship with a girl or a one-sided friendship with a guy. At the end of the day, you need to know how to deal with a one-sided friendship, regardless of gender or age.

It is acceptable to hold on to such a friendship only if the other person is willing to start making an effort as well. If not, learn to value yourself enough to end things without burdening yourself with guilt. We all have different ways to cope with sadness, and letting go is bound to be painful. Be gentle with yourself, and never forget the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No relationship in the world ever remains warm and close unless good efforts are made on both sides to keep it up.”

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