How Should I Handle A One-Sided Friendship?

one sided friendship

One-Sided Friendship

A one-sided friendship is an imbalanced relationship wherever one person puts in significantly more effort, care, and investment than the other. This dynamic can manifest in several ways:

  1. Unequal effort: One person consistently initiates contact, plans activities, or reaches out, while the other rarely reciprocates.
  2. Emotional imbalance: One friend provides emotional support but rarely receives it.
  3. Lack of reciprocity: One person’s needs and interests are prioritized, while the other’s are often overlooked or ignored.
  4. Inconsistent availability: One friend is always available, while the other is frequently unavailable or unreliable.
  5. Uneven commitment: One person values the friendship more highly and prioritizes it, while the other seems indifferent.

This kind of relationship can be emotionally draining and unfulfilling for the person putting in more effort. It may principal to feelings of frustration, resentment, or low self-esteem.

If you’re experiencing a one-sided friendship, it might be helpful to:

  1. Connect your feelings and needs to your friend
  2. Set boundaries to protect your emotional well-being
  3. Evaluate whether the relationship is worth maintaining
  4. Seek out more balanced friendships

What Do You Do When A Friendship Is One-Sided?

When you find yourself in a one-sided friendship, there are several steps you can take to address the situation:

1. Communicate openly:

  • Express your feelings and anxieties to your friend
  • Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory
  • Be specific about the behaviors that bother you

2. Set boundaries:

  • Limit the time and energy you invest in the relationship
  • Learn to say “no” when necessary
  • Prioritize your own needs and well-being

3. Reassess the relationship:

  • Consider whether the friendship is still valuable to you
  • Reflect on whether your friend’s behavior is a temporary situation or a consistent pattern

4. Seek balance:

  • Encourage reciprocity by asking for help or support when you need it
  • Suggest activities that involve mutual engagement

5. Focus on self-care:

  • Invest time in other relationships that are more balanced
  • Pursue hobbies and interests that fulfill you

6. Consider scaling back:

  • If efforts to improve the relationship fail, consider transitioning to a more casual friendship
  • Reduce contact gradually rather than abruptly ending the friendship

7. Seek support:

  • Talk to other friends or family members about your situation
  • Consider talking with a therapist or counselor for guidance

8. Be prepared to let go:

  • If the relationship continues to be draining despite your efforts, it may be time to end the friendship
  • Remember that it’s okay to prioritize your emotional well-being

How Should I Handle A One-Sided Friendship?

Handling a one-sided friendship requires a balanced approach of self-care and direct communication. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Assess the situation:

Reflect on specific instances that make you feel the friendship is one-sided

Consider if this is a temporary phase or a consistent pattern

Communicate clearly:

Have an honest conversation with your friend about your feelings

Use specific examples to illustrate your concerns

Be calm and non-confrontational

Set boundaries:

Decide what you’re comfortable giving in the friendship

Learn to say no to unreasonable requests

Limit your availability if you feel taken for granted

Adjust your expectations:

Recognize that your friend may not be capable of meeting all your needs

Consider if you’re expecting too much from this particular relationship

Seek reciprocity:

Ask for help or support when you need it

Suggest activities that involve mutual participation

Invest in other relationships:

Spend time with friends who value your presence

Cultivate new friendships that feel more balanced

Practice self-care:

Focus on activities and people that make you feel valued

Don’t neglect your own needs while catering to your friend’s

Reevaluate regularly:

Check if your efforts are leading to positive changes

Be prepared to make tough decisions if the situation doesn’t improve.


One-sided friendships can be emotionally draining and unsatisfying. While it’s natural for relationships to have some imbalance at times, persistent one-sidedness is problematic. The key is to recognize the signs, communicate openly, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize your well-being.

Remember that a true friendship should be mutually beneficial and rewarding. If efforts to balance the relationship fail, it’s okay to reassess its place in your life. Sometimes, scaling back or even ending a one-sided friendship is necessary for personal growth and emotional health.

Ultimately, surrounding yourself with reciprocal, supportive relationships is crucial for your overall happiness and well-being. It’s important to value yourself and seek connections that reflect that value.