1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

One Sided Friends

Is Your Friendship Unbalanced?


Friendships that are one-sided, which means that one person tends to have more vested emotionally in the relationship, can be difficult on many levels. While these types of relationships may satisfy a temporary desire for friendship, ultimately they will break down. This can leave the person that put more effort into the friendship feeling sad, used, angry, or any combination.

Signs of Unbalanced Friendships

Vincent Besnault/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Your friendship may be one-sided, or perhaps your friend is just busy at the moment and unable to devote the same amount of time to the relationship. Signs of an unbalanced friendship include:

  • One person repeatedly having to call or email to get a response from the other.
  • One friend failing to contact the other unless they need a favor.
  • One person at the whim of the other in terms of plans, frequency of get-togethers, and activities.

The key characteristic of an unbalanced friendship is consistency. In an unbalanced friendship, one person repeatedly "keeps the friendship going" while the other seems to care less about the relationship.

Why One-Side Friendships Occur

Lonely Person Without Friends
Stockbyte/Getty Images

You might wonder why anyone would put effort into a friendship when the other person just doesn't seem to care. There are several reasons why one-sided friendships occur. Typically one person:

  • Mistakenly believes they are friends while the other thinks they are acquaintances.
  • Is lonely and desperate for friends.
  • Feels that everyone has a good side and will spend the time to see if it's true with their new friend.
  • Believes that their mentoring relationship has crossed over into friendship.

How to End a One-Sided Friendship

New Friends
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

The great part about unbalanced friendships is that they are very easy to walk away from. If you are the one putting the effort into keeping in touch, simply stop and move on to find other friends. Very often in one-sided friendships, the self-absorbed friend won't even notice or care enough to contact you to find out what is the matter.

If your friend does contact you at some point, be cautious with how much effort you put into the friendship going forward. You may be dealing with someone who will continue to use you or worse, someone that just doesn't get what friendship is all about. If you find that your friendship immediately falls back to an unbalanced state, move on from that person for good.


Stay up to date on the latest Friendship news and learn more about meeting new people, forming friendships, and keeping great pals in your life. Sign up for our free Friendship newsletter today!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.