“Watering artificial flowers will not make them grow,” — John Mark Green
There isn’t a better definition of one-sided relationships than this quote. In our lives, we come across many people and many relationships. But there are only a handful of them that nurture under our care while others wilt away, no matter how much we care for them. Friendships are one of those relationships.
We often describe friendships as a two-way street where two people contribute equally to the relationship; a give-and-take relationship, if you will. Even then, we find ourselves in friendships where the balance seems to tilt on one side only.
These are one-sided friendships and quite frankly, they can be draining and can have a significant impact on our well-being and social health.
When I talk about a one-sided friendship, I refer to a relationship where the effort, time, and emotional investment are not as balanced, and where one person shoulders all the effort, time, and emotions. In such friendships, one person may consistently give more than what they receive, causing feelings of imbalance and frustration.
While all friendships might experience times of frustration and imbalance, one-sided friendships often put a strain on relationships and impact everyone involved. So, are you in a one-sided friendship? Let’s find out!
Signs of a One-Sided Friendship
1. It’s All About Them, Never Us
The biggest red flag that it’s a one-sided friendship is that your friend is always talking about how they did something or what they feel happened. They do not show any interest in your experiences or the friendship.
If you converse with them, they consistently redirect the conversation to themselves. They also rarely reach out to you or look at your efforts with kindness.
2. They Are Not Always There For You
Another sign of a one-sided friendship is that your friend is only available when it suits them and ignores your needs. They only make contact when they want or need something from you.
They might ask for your help or just want you to listen to them rant. Your friend never calls or texts you to ask about you or to just hang out without conditions.
3. Time Spent With Them Leave You Drained
If the interactions with your friend leave you feeling emotionally and mentally drained, then take it as a sign that the friendship might be one-sided, after all. In one-sided friendships, there is little to no emotional support or validation.
It’s always about them and once they are done, it’s bye-bye. They don’t seem to reciprocate the emotional validation you give them. They don’t hesitate to come to you, but when it’s your turn, they are always busy.
4. They Don’t Share Much About Themselves
One-sided friendships are imbalanced, and this shows when a friend doesn’t share much about themselves with you. Granted, some people find it hard to talk about themselves, but when someone deflects concerns about their personal life or avoids talking about anything other than superficial details, then it’s a sign of a one-sided friendship.
5. You Can’t Count on Them in Times of Need
A true friend stands with you in happy times and sad times; they do everything they can to help you when you need it. However, a one-sided friendship lacks that.
In a one-sided friendship, you feel unsure whether you can count on a friend. You are the one making the efforts, planning events, and wanting to help them, but when it comes to you, they cancel on you last minute, get frustrated for no reason, and gossip behind your back to others.
One-Sided Friendships Can Hurt More Than Your Well-Being
One-sided friendships can take a toll on various aspects of your life – from mental health and emotional well-being to your social health. Research has shown that the more you’re involved in imbalanced relationships, the more it affects your overall well-being, self-esteem, and mental health.
When you constantly feel neglected in a friendship, it can increase your stress levels and even cause feelings of loneliness as you lack genuine connection and support. When you’re involved in a friendship where you’re undervalued, then it can impact your self-esteem as well. Other studies suggest that unbalanced relationships – even friendships – can contribute to symptoms of anxiety, social withdrawal, and depression.
In another study, it was found that one-sided friendships can lower life satisfaction and increase psychological distress as compared to mutually supportive friendships.
Can You Repair One-Sided Friendships?
Instead of giving up on a friendship, you can take some steps to ensure its survival. Here are some ways you can fix a one-sided friendship;
1. Communicate With Your Friend:
You can begin fixing the friendship by communicating with your friend about your feelings and concerns. Make sure to be non-confrontational about it and emphasize the importance of mutual respect and affection.
2. Set Boundaries:
You can also work on establishing some healthy boundaries with your friend. Having boundaries in friendship can help you set expectations and assertively communicate your needs to your friend.
3. Do Some Self-Evaluation:
Take some time to reflect on the friendship you have. See if the friendship is worth saving based on your friend’s response to your feelings and concerns. Are they willing to change the one-sided friendship? Will they make an effort to change?
4. Ask For Support:
You can also consider seeking support from a mutual friend, or even seek help from a therapist. Having a third party involved can help you figure out and facilitate constructive communication and eventual resolution.
When to Walk Away From a One-Sided Friendship?
One-sided friendships hurt, but if the friendship is doing more harm than good to you, then maybe it’s time to walk away from the friendship. Here’s what to do;
1. Be Clear With Your Intentions:
If you’ve decided to end a one-sided friendship, then plan your approach carefully. Choose a time and place where you can chat with your friends and tell them your intentions. Be honest, direct, and open with them. You can also use “I” statements to be straightforward without coming off as rude.
2. Seek Support:
Ending a relationship, friendship or not, can be hard and emotionally draining. If you’ve decided to walk away from a one-sided friendship, then make sure you have a support system to fall back on. You will need support from your loved ones, so make sure to seek support.
3. Don’t Reach Out Anymore:
If you have decided to end the friendship, then you need to understand that reaching out to them after it’s over and done only makes it all counterproductive. You need to stick with your decision and not reach out to them anymore. If they are willing to give the friendship a chance, let them reach out to you.
4. Take Care of Yourself:
Most of all, take care of yourself. Healing from emotional hurt takes time, so be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to grieve the loss of a friendship. Take care of your needs and engage in activities that bring you joy and help you feel positive.
One-sided friendships can be emotionally draining, but knowing the signs of a one-sided friendship can help you take practical steps to reduce their impact on your well-being and social health. Whether through open communication or walking away completely, make sure you do what’s good for your health.
It’s OK to outgrow friendships that no longer help you grow and invest your time and efforts in friendships or relationships that nourish your mind and soul, uplifting you and your well-being.
I hope we can help you figure out how one-sided friendships can hurt you and what to do about them. Let us know your thoughts and views on one-sided friendships in the comments box below.
The post Signs You’re in a One-Sided Friendship And What to Do About It appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.