A good friendship is one to treasure. You lift each other, support each other when you’re down and are there for one another through thick and thin. You have fun together, make memories together, and share a close and powerful bond.
But now and then, there is a friendship that doesn’t fit that bill, where you give more than you get – if you even get at all. Here are 3 behaviors that reveal a one-sided friendship and how to let go of them if you’re in one.
3 Behaviors That Reveal a One-Sided Friendship
Do you feel like your relationship’s not as friendly these days? Watch out for these behaviors.
Do you ever meet a friend and then find yourself feeling really exhausted or drained afterward? It’s tough to fathom why. On the one hand, if you’re an introvert, it could just be the social interaction in general that could be tiring out. But pay extra attention to how you feel – are you extra drained? More tired than usual?
It’s tough to admit that someone makes you feel exhausted whenever you spend any time with them. These types of people are often not reciprocating the friendship, leaving it one-sided. This causes you to feel tired around them, which could be because:
- You have to be the one making more effort and putting more energy into interactions and conversations.
- They tend to be very damaging, bringing the mood down and emotionally draining you in the process.
- You feel scrutinized by them and frequently have to defend yourself against invalidation, being treated like you’re inferior, or feeling insulted.
- They are toxic, and you feel exhausted from handling the toxicity.
Anyone can cause you to feel drained, so if someone makes you feel this way, step back and think about it. It would be best if you didn’t spend too much time with people who make you feel worse than you did before spending time with them. Sure, conflict arises with everyone now and then, but it shouldn’t be a constant thing. Try reducing the time you spend around or with them and monitoring how you feel. If you feel better without them, it might be time to call it quits.
2. You Can’t Rely On Them
Not everyone can indeed be there for you all the time. All the people in your life have their own boundaries and personal lives. But a true friend is one that you can count on and rely on at least most of the time, and they will do their best to be there for you and help you when you’re truly in need.
In a one-sided friendship, you’re never able to count on the other person. You might feel alone, isolated, or ignored. You might:
- Do a lot more for them than they ever do for you.
- I feel like they’re hypocritical as they expect a lot from you but never give in return.
- Have important events skipped out on by them
- Not receive replies to messages or have your calls be left ignored.
- Be left alone after they forget or cancel plans on you time and time again.
- Be on the receiving end of frustration or annoyance whenever you ask for their help.
- Please have your personal information, secrets, or feelings shared by them with others.
3. The Use You Emotionally
A fake friend you’re trapped in a one-sided friendship with will take advantage of your emotional labor. They may behave as if you are required to listen to all their troubles as they vent to you, even when you’re not in the right headspace for it.
Worse still, this so-called friend may accuse you of being an awful person if you don’t drop everything to be at their emotional beck and call. It’s hard to pinpoint this because it’s a form of abuse that’s subtle – they’re not hitting you, stealing from you, or actively treating you like garbage, but they’re guilt-tripping and manipulating you into going along with their demands. It’s not great! Here are some signs you’re being used emotionally in a one-sided friendship:
· They Run To You For Any Crisis
Whenever this friend of yours deals with an adverse event, they run to you for help and beg for assistance. But when it comes time for you to request their service, they’re never around. They expect you to drop everything for their troubles but wouldn’t do the same for you.
· You Know So Much About Them That It Weighs You Down
You know everything about this friend of yours, and while that’s not a bad thing in itself, it becomes negative if they don’t remember anything about you at all. You’re frequently expected to keep track of everything they’ve ever told you, but they won’t remember your birthday, that you dislike tea, or even how to spell your name.
· You Get Used As A Therapist – Or A Punching Bag
Are you the only one doing any emotional labor in your friendship? It’s outstanding to vent to your friends, but they shouldn’t be responsible for managing your emotions, providing you with solutions, or counseling you. It’s nice when friends can do that, but they aren’t your therapists. In a one-sided friendship, you may feel like you’re being treated like one, sometimes to the point of mental or emotional exhaustion on your part.
How to Let Go of a One-Sided Friendship
1. Create Your Own Closure
Many people hold closure as a lofty goal that will finally give them peace of mind. While seeking closure is a valid way to recover from difficult experiences and let go of bad friendships, it doesn’t have to be done in the fancy, movie-like fashion we often hold it up to.
You don’t need closure from anyone but yourself if you want to let go of something. You can find positive thinking through self-made closure. You’ll find ways to find that neat end to the chapter that you seek with a little creativity. Here are some ways to do so:
· Create A Scrapbook
Reminisce over good times by putting together photos and other mementos that you’ve collected over the years of your friendship. Then, once the scrapbook is done, look it over one last time before putting it away, long-term.
· Write A Letter
Express all your feelings towards your friend, including how they’ve hurt you, how much they meant to you, and how terrible you feel now that it’s over. Do not send the letter. (If you want to send the letter, stick to positive topics only.)
· Design Something Symbolic
Create some “ritual” items that you can use as a symbolic way of letting go of the friendship. You may throw away a gift your friend gave you, say a prayer of gratitude and release, or do anything else that feels right to you.
· Keep A Journal
No one will read your journal, so no one can judge what you write. So write everything – all the pain, complicated feelings, even moments of selfishness you feel. Express yourself freely and note whatever comes to mind. You may choose to look back on past entries and reflect later, or close the journal and not return to it when you’re done.
When a friendship has hurt you, it’s easy to feel bitter towards close relationships. You may have trouble trusting others and may feel tempted to withdraw. Don’t allow this to happen. You must remember and cherish the positive friendships and relationships you still have if you want to let go of the old one. Here are some tips for doing so:
· Spend Time With People Who Love You
Get together with those who care about you and who matter to you. Remind yourself that you are still loved, and good relationships still exist.
· Talk To People You Trust
As you work to let go of this old friendship, seek support in the people you still have and want to hold on to. They can help you in your journey to recovering from it.
· Express Gratitude For The Support You Receive
Appreciate the people in your life who are useful to you and with who you have good relationships. Don’t let the negativity from one bad friendship wipe out all the lovely, unique, positive people you have in your life.
3. Remind Yourself Of Your Worth
Self-esteem can take a huge hit when you realize you were in a one-sided friendship. It can truly feel awful to be in a situation like that, and it’s hard to climb out of negative thought patterns. This only makes it harder to let go, so you need to remind yourself that this one friendship does not define you. Here are some ways to let go by remembering your worth:
· Don’t Take It Personally
It’s easy to blame yourself if you were the victim in a one-sided friendship. Were you too boring? Too annoying? Not worthy of their respect? The answer is that it was never your fault. People who are willing to take advantage of others happily don’t care about who you are. It was not your fault that you were taken advantage of, and it does not reflect on your character or personality. Remember that.
· Set Boundaries
The one-sided friendship you escaped may have given you new insight into healthy boundaries, so set them. You are worthy of space, respect, and your own limits. Think about and reflect on areas where your edges wear thin and reinforce them. This will ensure that your relationships stay positive, mostly as you work on letting go of the negative ones.