how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

one-sided friendship

In this blog post, we talked about what one-sided friendships are and describes 9 signs that will help you to identify whether you are in a one-sided friendship or not. 

What is a one-sided friendship?

A one-sided friendship is a friendship in which one person does its best to keep the relationship alive and harmonious, while the other enjoys all the attention and benefits.

One person is the fuel of the relationship, the other enjoys the ride.

Unfortunately, the friend who is more involved usually doesn’t get much attention in return.

On the contrary, it receives very little love, respect, trust and any other benefits we normally have from friendships.

Basically, it’s like someone treats you like their psychologist/servant/personal assistant.

It is not an equal, beautiful, productive relationship, or a relationship that will bring you any value.

It will only consume your time and energy until you are able to say stop.

Some also worry about Why can’t i make friends, either because of their nature or because they don’t trust anyone.

how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

9 signs of a one-sided friendship

There is no point in keeping people in your life who are not of quality, do not support you and do not make you happy.

Here are 9 signs that you need to end a toxic friendship.

  1. All the text messages from this friend start with a “Sorry!!” Whether it’s late or “they just saw the text“, they always come up with excuses that have lost their meaning. Sometimes they don’t even seem to care so much, the apologies are just a formality. 
  1. When making plans together, you always have to do something that suits him/her. Sure, he will come to brunch, but it is always his favourite restaurant that is 10 minutes from his home. Who cares that you’ll get there in an hour?
  1. He only seems to have time for you when other plans are cancelled. If you receive a message at 10 in the evening and you are asked if you feel like going out, even though he told you all week that he is going to a concert that evening… it is clear that he has no way to get to that concert, and you are only the plan B. At least if it only happened once!
how to walk away from a one-sided friendship
  1. When you need help, the discussion turns into one about him/her. Strangely, all your problems remind him of something similar he’s going through!
  1. When you discover something interesting, your friend starts telling everyone that he/she found out about it before you.Now that you’ve told me about this show, I remember seeing it too!
  1. Your friend forgets about your existence when they begin a new relationship. When he/she enters into a relationship, you don’t see each other for months because he/she is spending time with their new partner.
how to walk away from a one-sided friendship
  1. You’re always the one asking to go out. If you look through the history of your phone calls, in 90% of cases the two of you spoke only because you were the one that called.
  1. Your friend owes you money all the time. Whether he asked you to lend him some money or you paid for him many times, when it comes to giving you your money back, he suddenly becomes forgetful. 
  1. He/She always makes mean jokes about you. It’s normal to joke with friends, but some of the jokes he makes are simply mischievous and you feel embarrassed, especially because there are other people around.

How to walk away from a one-sided friendship

When we are thinking about walking away from a friendship, it means that something is no longer right, at least from our point of view.

Or maybe it was never a real friendship. We just used each other, or let ourselves be used.

One option might be to stop being available, to have the courage to refuse to go out together, to end a phone call or an online conversation that lasts longer than you would like.

If you do this several times, then he/she will either understand that he can no longer count on you and look for another person, more available, from his entourage, or he will start a discussion, he will reproach you for not making time for him (or for her).

And then you can tell her how you feel, or what you no longer feel about your relationship.

It is preferable not to blame the other person for the way they behave because it does not matter so much who is “to blame”, but that you are not on the same page anymore, and the relationship is no longer as you would like it to be.

how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

Separation from your best friend: how do deal with it?

No matter how others perceive it, breaking up with your best friend is very painful. 

As the years go by, it gets harder and harder for you and your best friend to stay in the same type of relationship as in the beginning.

You don’t see each other as often, you don’t go out in the same places as before, and your priorities change in your life.

Over time, friendship often dies, if not maintained, just like any love affair.

When it’s done, it’s done!

Unfortunately, the idea of ​​”friends forever” rarely applies, as some psychologists mention.

Irene Levine, a psychologist and writer of a book about breaking up with her best friend, conducted a survey of 1,500 women with broken friendships or already separated from their best friends. 

Being left out by your best friend is as painful as being left out by your boyfriend, husband or lover,” she says, which is not surprising.

Friendships need a lot of negotiation and compromise, just like in a couple’s relationship. You need to be able to resolve conflicts and set boundaries.

Even sociologists say that the difference between a breakup and a breakup between friends is that one is recognized, the other is not: “When you talk about a breakup with a boyfriend or a divorce, it seems that you should not feel the same as in the case of a breakup from a platonic friend. People don’t understand why, since we choose our friends, it’s so hard to give them up, “says Carol Smart, a professor at the University of Manchester Research Center. 

how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

But the loss of a friendship can be a significant event in life, because they have become the most important and stable people in our lives, besides our family.

The intimacy and intensity of friendships between women tend to last longer than our grandparents’ generation, for example, because the period of youth extended to 30 years.

People get married later, have children later and stay in school longer, which allows people to focus on their friendships in a way they could not if they had full-time jobs and families.

How do you survive a breakup with your best friend?

Breakups happen for all sorts of reasons: betrayal, the feeling of replacement, excessive attachment of one or the feeling that the relationship is no longer mutual, lack of support especially in major cases or the fact that, over the years, they have nothing in common.

The experience can be traumatic and make you feel incredibly lonely because it’s like breaking up with someone you love, but you’re not allowed to complain about it – “it’s just a friend”, but that is not true.

how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

You do you

This can also mean forgiving and reconciling with your friend, even though you are still hurt. 

To keep the relationship you should let time heal the wounds and problems in order to be able to eventually reconnect. 

Remember: neither of you is better than the other.

Is not that someone was wrong and someone was right; you have simply reached different points in life, literally and figuratively. And that’s fine.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we talked about what one-sided friendships are and describes 9 signs that will help you to identify whether you are in a one-sided friendship or not. 

We also discussed how can you break up from this type of relationship and how to deal with its outcome. 

What you have to remember is that you have to value and respect yourself enough to receive as much as you give. 

Please feel free to ask any questions or to leave a comment on the content. 

FAQ about one-sided friendship

What is a one-sided friendship?

A one-sided friendship is a relationship in which only one person is making the effort to maintain the friendship. 

How can you tell a one-sided friendship?

In one-sided friendships, only one person does all the efforts to maintain the relationship alive.

If you are in a one-sided friendship you may not feel listened, treated with respect, or like your presence matters. 

How do you fix one-sided friendships?

If you want to fix one-sided friendships, you have to have an honest conversation with the other person.

Teel them how you feel, point one or two concrete examples that prove the way you feel, and listen to their side of the story also. 

When should you walk away from a friendship?

You should walk away from a friendship if you feel that you no longer have anything in common with the other person; when you no longer share the same values and beliefs; when you no longer recognize yourself. 

Is it OK to end a friendship?

Yes, it is OK to end a friendship, especially if you no longer feel the benefits of this relationship.

Friends should be there for you, support you, understand you.

If your friendship brings you sadness and/or anger, it is better to end it.

Further reading

  1. Friendship: The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond,  by Lydia Denworth
  2. The Friendship Cure: Reconnecting in the Modern World, by Kate Leaver
  3. The Loneliness Companion: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Self-Esteem and Finding Comfort in Yourself, by Shrein H Bahrami 
  4. Friendships Don’t Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends, by Shasta Nelson

how to walk away from a one-sided friendship

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.