How To Know If You're In A One-Sided Friendship (And What To Do About It)

The quality of your friendships can affect both your physical and mental health, so maintaining nourishing and fulfilling connections is crucial in order to live your best life. Although no one wants to end up in a toxic, one-sided friendship, the tricky situation is all too common. Unfortunately, it's also common for the person carrying the burden to suffer in the friendship long after they should have left or confronted the other person.

The truth is, re-evaluating close relationships can be scary, especially when you've known the person for a while and when you've shared intimate moments together and personal matters with each other. Nostalgia for what the friendship once was — and hope that it will magically return to that past state — can also make an upsetting new reality hard to accept. One-sided friendships are hurtful and challenging to navigate, but on the other side, there's that much more room for fulfilling connections that lift you up rather than bring you down.

Signs that you're in a one-sided friendship

There are a few tell-tale signs of a one-sided friendship to look out for if you suspect you may be in one. First of all, if you're always the first to reach out, that's a red flag, per Style Craze. It's not enough for the other person to just respond agreeably to your texts and calls; initiating contact is how people show that they care about you and about your friendship. If your gut tells you that you two wouldn't speak again if you didn't call or message them first, that's an important factor to consider.

Another surefire sign is that your friend regularly makes you feel bad about yourself when you're chatting or hanging out together. Whether they gaslight you, ignore you when their other friends are around, make everything about themselves, or mock you, that's not what a real friendship looks like, and you don't have to tolerate that behavior.

What to do about a one-sided friendship

Relationships are supposed to enrich our lives, and if a friendship actively making your life worse instead of serving that purpose, it's time to address the problem head-on. Before giving up on the friendship altogether, you can try approaching them to express your hurt feelings and see how they respond. If they listen closely, apologize, and change their behavior after your conversation, that's a really good sign. 

However, if they don't hear you out or change at all after you've made your case, it's a good idea to let go and focus your energy somewhere more positive. If you're giving your all and not receiving much in return, that "friend" doesn't deserve you. There are people who will appreciate you for who you are and who will make you a priority in their lives. While feeling lonely is difficult, feeling disrespected, anxious, and sad all the time is simply not worth it. Take care of yourself and do what's right for you.