Are you starting to feel as if your friendship is taking more than it is giving you?
You willingly go the extra mile when your friend sends an SOS signal.
Yet, when it’s your time to ask for help, he or she is suddenly too busy to care.
Also, somewhere along the way, you’re the only one sending messages and planning get-togethers when you miss your friend.
Unfortunately, your friend’s hot and cold behavior often means that you’re stuck in a one-sided friendship.
It’s a relationship where you play the role of an attentive listener, advisor, and helper whenever the situation arises.
Your friend, on the other hand, is only on the receiving end.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- Here are tell-tale signs of a one-sided friendship:
- 1. One-Way Conversations
- 2. Always Unavailable
- 3. Constant Forgetfulness
- 4. Lack of Respect
- 5. Reverse Pep Talk
- 6. Mixed Signals
- 7. The Other Friend
- 8. Manipulation
- 9. The Gut Feeling
- 10. They’re a closed book.
- 11. They take what they want — or guilt it out of you.
- 12. You feel exhausted after spending time with them.
- 13. They act offended or angry when you take a step back.
- Why Do You Have A One-Sided Friendship?
- Can You Fix a One-Sided Friendship?
- When Should You Give Up on a Friendship
Here are tell-tale signs of a one-sided friendship:
1. One-Way Conversations
Does your friend ever let you talk? Do they follow up on you when you’re facing a crisis?
Most one-sided friendships are easy to spot when you observe how you communicate with each other.
There is a high chance that you’re always the listener whenever you talk to your friend.
They’ll also never take the initiative to ask you about your life because they prefer to be the center of attention at all times.
Apart from this, your opinions and suggestions are often ignored over theirs.
It’s why you never truly feel like you’re part of the conversation when you’re around this friend.
Eventually, these exchanges drain you out because you never get the emotional support you need from them.
2. Always Unavailable
As you grow older, you realize that your friends can’t be with you all the time. The different schedules, responsibilities, and locations tend to drive you apart.
Nevertheless, true friends still manage to find a way to stay in touch despite these obstacles.
In contrast, a one-way friendship means that you aren’t on your friend’s priority list. From never responding to your messages, always canceling plans to being busy during an emergency―your friend isn’t around for you.
At times like these, you should ensure whether or not they’re genuinely going through problems of their own.
Or perhaps their unavailability only applies to situations where you’re the one who needs supports. Their actions will reveal if you matter to them.
3. Constant Forgetfulness
Birthdays, special events, likes and dislikes―good friends have a knack of remembering these things about you.
Also, if you’ve known each other for years, then they’re aware of intimate details compared to everyone else.
Is your friend an exception to this rule? Think of all the things you know about him or her, and compare it with stuff this person remembers.
We’re specifically referring to things that an old friend should know like birthday/anniversaries, allergies, personal style, and other preferences.
If the score is uneven then something is surely amiss.
You can test this theory by asking these questions:
We understand that hectic schedules and other commitments might cause them to forget certain things.
However, if this forgetfulness has become a habit then it’s a clear example of a one-sided friendship.
4. Lack of Respect
Perhaps, the most heartbreaking thing is when your friends disrespect you. People like these discard your feelings to do what they prefer or think is right. Sometimes, this means overstepping boundaries.
Here are a few things that these so-called friends do:
In other words, they have no qualms about disregarding your opinions.
Nor do they realize that the constant neglect is making you feel lonely and hurt.
5. Reverse Pep Talk
Great friends have a way of uplifting your spirits. They do their best to encourage you and motivate you whenever you chase your dreams. They’ll also be the first one to congratulate you when something good happens.
The scenario changes completely in a one-way friendship. You may notice that these friends don’t react well to a happy announcement from you. Neither will they support you when you’re planning to try something new.
Rather, they’d happily criticize the prospect and fill your mind with doubts. The worst part is when you come face to face with silence when you’ve got something important to share.
As a result, any conversation that revolves around you ends with dejection.
6. Mixed Signals
Believe it or not, but some one-side friendships scramble your brain. The main reason for this is the inconsistent behavior of your so-called friend.
At times, they let you believe that you’re the most important person in the world. Those moments eventually wear off, and they go back to ignoring you.
They’re also moody and get defensive if you ever point out their inconsistent behaviors.
The most hurtful moment is when you catch them lying about something they’d told you. It’s the moment you know that your relationship was nothing but a ruse.
7. The Other Friend
Three’s a crowd! Have you ever been pushed out of a friendship because of another person?
Even if you’ve got a group of friends, there will always be someone you’re closer to. These kindred spirits are the people you relate to the most.
It’s also easier to talk to them about anything and everything that’s going on in your life. And for the most part, they reciprocate the feeling.
But there might come a time when they grow out of this relationship, even if you don’t.
Then one day you realize that they have another best friend who has changed the equation. The third-party will most likely get the attention you often crave and will also receive more respect.
Friendships, like all relationships, are mutually beneficial. Both of you should participate equally in the give and take aspect of this bond.
Otherwise, you’re probably being used by your friend because they know that you won’t say no to them.
Here are common things that manipulative friends do:
If these scenarios are familiar then your friend sounds like trouble. You should start keeping your distance and learn to say no. That way, he or she won’t get a chance to take advantage of you.
9. The Gut Feeling
Sometimes you can’t explain why your friendship has begun to feel one-sided. The only thing you know for sure is that something doesn’t feel right.
It might be because of one of the many examples we’ve given or because of something different.
The best strategy is to trust your instincts because they’re usually right. Your mind might have unconsciously noticed the signs you’ve been ignoring.
There’s also a chance that you’ve started to realize that spending time and energy on such friends is futile. It’s why their blatant lies, repeated cancellations, and selfishness are rubbing you the wrong way.
10. They’re a closed book.
You share personal struggles with them, possibly because you’re hoping it will make them feel closer to you. But they don’t tell you anything about what’s going on in their world.
When they seem depressed or anxious, they don’t want to talk to you about it, so if you ask them to, they’ll either deflect and change the subject or leave.
It hurts more if they confide in one or more of their other friends but not in you. If you find this out and ask them about it, they’ll either have some half-hearted excuse, or they’ll find a way to blame you for it.
11. They take what they want — or guilt it out of you.
Maybe things of yours go missing every time this “friend” comes over. It’s more common, though, in one-sided friendships, for the other person to use flattery or insults to guilt you into giving them something they want.
- “Wow! I love that. You have such good taste. So, when can I borrow it?”
- “Must be nice to be able to afford that. I wouldn’t know…”
- “Not to be harsh, but… that just isn’t flattering on you. It’d look better on me.”
Feel free to respond to these comments with the awkward silence they deserve.
12. You feel exhausted after spending time with them.
You put so much into this relationship to keep it going and show them how important they are to you. They, on the other hand, keep taking and demanding and wanting more of your attention, your sympathy, your money, or something else they can use.
They’re taking advantage of you, and on some level, you know it. Every interaction with them is draining. You feel diminished, neglected, and used up. And you’re aware that you feel more lonely around them than you do when you’re alone.
13. They act offended or angry when you take a step back.
A friend would want to know what’s bothering you and what they can do to help. This person only sees that you’re not as available to them — i.e., you’re not as easy to use — and they respond by getting annoyed or angry.
They honestly don’t care what you’re going through as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. Tell them you need a break from them, and they’ll use everything they’ve got to make you feel guilty about “abandoning” them.
On the other hand, they might not even notice if they don’t want something from you.
Why Do You Have A One-Sided Friendship?
As the cliché goes, it’s not you, it’s them.
We’ve all been in and out of one-sided friendships. That’s how life is and will be, no matter how old you get.
Sometimes it’s because we can’t let go of the people we love. Or, we have misinterpreted our significance in their lives.
In our experience, most one-way friendships occur because:
The important thing is to understand that people change, and so do their circumstances. It’s why you should stop holding on to friends who’ve already moved on.
Can You Fix a One-Sided Friendship?
Whether or not you can fix a one-sided friendship depends mainly on the other person. In fact, the only things you need to do are the following:
- Keep being the friend you are.
- Let the other person know what you expect of a friend.
- Commit to not settling for less.
You have the right to expect a friend to show an equal investment in the relationship. If they’re not interested in a close friendship, that’s fine. But you can let them know you’ll only give as much to a relationship as you’re likely to receive.
Friendship is a two-way street. If they want in, they can meet you halfway.
When Should You Give Up on a Friendship
Not all friendships are made to last. And sometimes, holding onto one does you (or both of you) more harm than good. If you see any of the following in your relationship, it’s time to say goodbye.
- You catch them in a lie, and they blame you rather than apologize.
- You catch them stealing from you, and they lie, saying you gave it to them.
- You find out they shared a secret of yours with someone else without your consent.
- You can’t trust them to be there for you (even in an emergency).
- You don’t trust them not to turn on you.
If it makes sense to do this, or if it helps you, thank them for any good they brought into your life, and let them know you wish them well. Then let them go.
The Last Straw
Lastly, the biggest example of a one-way friendship is the fact that it always feels like you’re chasing your friend.
Whether it's making plans, waiting for their replies, or being emotionally available―you’re the only one who makes an effort to maintain the friendship.
If that’s the case, then you should talk things over with this person. Try to make him or her realize that you don’t think you're being treated well.
The other idea is to stop going out of the way to lend your support. Your friend will eventually take a hint and try to make amends. If this person doesn't, then it’s obvious that you were in a one-way friendship all along, and you two were never real friends.
In the end, all that matters is what you want with this relationship. It’s better to surround yourself with strong, supportive friendships that to carry the burden of a one-sided one.