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Strong friendships are based on mutual support, however. In a one-sided friendship, the communicationtime, and effort needed to sustain the connection typically falls to one person. When they need something, they seek you out right away. One-sided friendships can leave you confused and hurt. You demonstrate an interest in their well-being, but they show little interest in you and your needs, unless you make an effort to draw them out.
Your friend may not gossip, lieor do anything outright hurtful. They might be fantastic — when they actually come through. The problem is that they only rarely do come through. A good friend listens with empathy. In a one-sided friendship, most conversations revolve around their needs and interests. When you spend time together, they tend to decide what you do and insist on having things their way instead of considering your opinion. Some people have a harder time opening up about emotional distress or other difficulties. They might deflect questions about their personal life and avoid sharing anything beyond superficial details about themselves.
Instead of dominating the conversation, they spin it back to you, creating an entirely different kind of discomfort. Their reluctance to share may not relate to their feelings toward you or your friendship, but your interactions might still feel flat and incomplete. True friends make an effort to help out whenever possible. Feeling unsure whether you can actually turn to someone when you need them, on the other hand, provides little relief. An absence of emotional support can leave you feeling isolated and more miserable than before.
Perhaps you recently volunteered to help your friend move at the last minute. But when you find your dream apartment and ask for moving help, they fail to reply to any of your messages.
People sometimes need more from others than they can offer in return. A friend experiencing stressful circumstances might respond to this tension by temporarily leaning on others a little more heavily than usual. With healthy friendship, however, this typically balances out. A friend who accepts your support but consistently fails to reciprocate, especially when you need it most, may not have your best interests at heart.
Sure, life circumstances can temporarily prevent someone from devoting energy to a friendship.
While you may not offer time, affection, or gifts in order to get anything in return, it can still be pretty painful when someone keeps taking but never gives. You put in the time and effort. Your friend says they care, but their consistent disinterest loudly suggests otherwise. This can cause plenty of emotional turmoil. Instead of feeling supported and strengthened, you might:. When you start wondering whether the fault lies with you, you might begin to criticize perceived failures and avoid other friends for fear of driving them away, too.
Besides leaving you isolated and vulnerable, this negative self-talk can also damage your self-image. Perhaps your friend occasionally does something to reinforce your faith in their commitment to the friendship but fails to follow through. In their next message, however, they waste no time asking for your help with something. This shift flattens your excitement, leaving you with the clear impression that they value only what you can do for them. People sometimes get so wrapped up in their own concerns that they have little energy to offer others, so your friend may not have any bad intentions behind their behavior.
Regardless, their lack of interest can leave you feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.
After all, isolation can have serious mental and physical health consequences. A friend who returns the comfort you offer with little consideration of your emotional needs may not ease your loneliness, however. Emotional support requires emotional energy. Continuing to devote time and energy to a friendship when you get nothing in return can leave you feeling disconnected, with little energy for other friends.
When an unbalanced friendship triggers feelings of uncertainty or a loss of self-confidence, you might become wary of trusting any friendships at all. Different factors can contribute to one-sided friendships. Perhaps they never text first and then reply to messages with just a few words. You suggest having conversations over the phone instead. Maybe they come to your house regularly but never invite you over. They reveal that they live in a small apartment with family and have very little space for guests, so the two of you decide to meet at the park. Easing up on communication for a week or two can often help paint a clearer picture of your friendship.
Instead of promoting a sense of connection, one-sided friendships can create distress. Even trying to sustain the relationship can leave you exhausted, skeptical of their commitment, and even a little resentful. When you tell your friend how you feel, they insist they care about your friendship, but they continue to cancel plans and ignore your texts.
Stick with your decision, even when missing them or worrying about them. Remember, you chose to end the friendship because it caused you pain. Getting back in touch can send the message they can continue to take advantage.
Like other interpersonal skills, being a good friend can take some trial and error. If you want to give them another chance, however, let them show their willingness to make an effort by waiting until they get in touch.
Spending time with other loved ones can help you feel less alone and remind you that people do care for you and value your company. Besides loneliness and confusion, you might also notice:. A therapist can help you come to terms with and process feelings of grief, loneliness, or depression and teach skills for building new, healthy friendships.
Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. We often talk about toxicity in terms of romantic partners, but certain types of friends can be just as toxic.
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Beware the One-Sided Friendship. s of imbalance The effects Worth fixing? s to look for. Why they hurt. Is it worth fixing? Ending things. The bottom line. Read this next. In a Toxic Friendship? Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph. How to Maintain Your Interpersonal Relationships. Medically reviewed by Dillon Browne, Ph. Abusive Friendships Are Real.
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