Like any relationship, friendship is a two-way street. Unlike family, we pick our friends, which means there must be a reason why we want them in our lives. However, being in an unbalanced friendship can feel like a chore -- especially if you are putting in more effort than the other person.
Needs Are Imbalanced
In a January 2010 Psychology Today article, Susan Shapiro Barash, author of “Toxic Friends” warns against unhealthy codependent friendships. Keep in mind that a friendship needs to be equal -- one person should not have more power over other. If you feel as though you need your friend significantly more than she needs you, it's possible that what you have is a one-sided friendship.
Your Interest Highlights His Disinterest
Sharing good times and having fun together are friendship qualities mentioned in a research article titled, "Definitions of Friendship in the Third Age," published in the "Journal of Aging Studies" in 2000. If you find that you’re initiating all or most of the time you spend together or the conversations you have, you may be dealing with a one-sided friendship. This is especially true if you sense that you are not a priority in your friend’s life. If he turns down your invitations more than he accepts them, he may not be as interested in being your friend as you are in being his.
Her Advantage Is Your Disadvantage
No one wants to feel as though she's being used. If your friend only comes to you when she needs something from you, but once she gets what she needs, she’s out of sight, you might have a one-sided relationship. If your friend only appears when she needs a favor, but fails to be there for you when you’re in need, she is not doing her part as a friend. Ask yourself if being a friend to her is causing you more inconvenience than providing pleasure. If it is, it may not be worth holding on to the friendship.
He Manipulates and Misleads
A friend shouldn’t constantly make a fool out of you. You don't need a manipulative friend who sees you as a means to an end. For example, if your "friend" is only your friend because he wants to get to know other people that you know, he's not really your friend. If he belittles you or is constantly making fun of you, but holds on to the friendship because you have connections that can benefit him, you're in a one-sided relationship. People who lie and use others to get what they want are only looking out for their own interests, and not a friendship. A good friend should support you and “have your back,” psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith emphasizes in his Psychology Today blog post.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images