It’s a beautiful thing when two people can connect on a deep level, sharing their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly with each other.
This is the foundation of a true friendship – a reciprocal one, where both people feel like they’re giving as much as they’re receiving.
But relationships don’t always work that way.
Recognizing a One-Sided Friendship
A one-sided friendship isn’t always obvious.
Often, this unbalance happens when people have different definitions of what friendship should be.
Other times, the one-sidedness goes unnoticed because it’s so easy to make excuses and justifications for the lack of reciprocity.
“They’re just not as open and chatty as I am.”
“That’s just the way they are.”
So when is a friendship one-sided?
- One person always seems to be giving more than they’re getting.
- One of you seems to be doing all the emotional labor: listening to the other person talks about problems, trying to cheer them up and boost their moods.
- One person always tries to keep the other person happy by putting their own needs aside.
- One of you is always available while the other person comes and goes as they please.
- Contact is only made when something is needed – and favors are not returned.
- One person values the friendship more than the other does.
You can’t have a healthy bond with someone who isn’t as invested in the relationship as you are.
Take a moment and think about your relationships. Do they fit any of these patterns?
Finding Opportunities For Deeper Connection
Before you point fingers and start naming blames, it’s important to realize that this dynamic often isn’t anyone’s fault.
Rather than focus on who did what or who needs to do more, find ways for you to both come together and be on the same page.
You can’t change them or fix them. It’s not your job to make the other person be a better friend to you. It’s not even about them or you. It’s the bond between you both that’s broken.
Think about what you can do to make the relationship more reciprocal. Do you need to open yourself up to be more receptive to them? Or maybe you need to take a step back and reassess your expectations.
True Friendships Are Worth The Effort
Healthy friendships are too important to go without. To be in a positive relationship with someone, both people need to feel good about what they’re getting from it.
Just because it doesn’t feel balanced right now doesn’t mean that it can’t get there eventually.
Relationships are not always easy, and they don’t always come naturally. Both people need to contribute to making them work.
Finding reciprocity in an existing friendship can be challenging. Start by looking for opportunities to share more meaningful experiences.
They aren’t perfect, and neither are you. But if you can both commit to focusing on what’s good about the connection, it will grow stronger.