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What is a one-sided relationship?

What is a one-sided relationship?

Relationships are super challenging; especially when they are one-sided relationships. Having a one-sided relationship is the absolute worst. You really aren’t connecting on the same level; you feel like effort and energy is being wasted. The thing though about one-sided relationships are it’s hard to tell if you are in one.


Now when I say relationship, I don’t just mean dating. I am referring to all types of relationships, friendships, family, co-workers, etc. Basically, anything that involves town people getting to know each other. Any time of connection and relationship can be one-sided. The biggest thing about a one-sided relationship is figuring out you’re in one. And how do you fix it?


  • You are always the one reaching out.
    • Be it making plans to see each other or just reaching out to catch up you are always the one making the first move. Be aware some people struggle with this. But if you find yourself consistently being the one reaching out take a minute to consider some things.
  • You’re always the one asking/wanting to make plans
    • If you’re always asking let’s grab coffee? Do you want to grab dinner? Do you have time for a drink this week? Nothing sucks more and you feel like a total loser because you’re always the one asking. It makes you just feel like they don’t want to be your friend.
  • You are the only one communicating your feelings
    • Reaching out to vent, expressing how you feel about them/your relationships, and even just expressing your everyday feelings is one of those everyday lives. The issue is when you do all those things and you don’t get those same facts, events, or even feelings reciprocated. When you’re with a friend and you’re venting about your day and life. And they never share that side of them with you.
  • No follow-up.
    • You tell them about being sick or about this interview you’re super nervous about. They never reach out to see how it is going. They never ask the next time they see you. Now every now and then people forget but you start to notice this is a consistent issue.
  • You’re the one changing the subject/topic
    • By this I mean you are the one putting in the effort to keep the conversation going. You know if you put on a smiley face or a “haha” they will never change the topic. And you’ll never hear from them again till you reach out.


Now a lot of these issues can easily be explained. They also can easily be fixed. When it comes to a one-sided relationship not everyone realizes they are doing it. A lot of the people who are giving little to no effort don’t always realize that they are doing it. Some people who put in the effort love doing it. However, there are things you can do if you think you are in a one-sided relationship.


  • Bring up exact points of what and why it bothers you.
    • When I mean exact points, I mean exact points. For example: Hey it really bothers me that the last five times we hung out I was always the one asking to hang. There were even times in between I asked, and you said no.
    • By bringing it up you’re making a clear connection on these upsets me and makes me feel this way because of this. It gives someone a clear understanding that 1. You notice their actions 2. How it affects you and 3. What they could do to fix it.
  • Express how you feel
    • No one can read your mind. You will be shocked how many people just assume you are okay. Unless you are crying, bleeding, or visibly ill 90% of people think you are doing fine.
    • The thing about expressing your emotions is you must be clear. Telling someone that their actions hurt you isn’t good enough. Telling someone you feel like a loser, used, and that they do not care is important. Being fully honest with your feelings gives a clear understanding of how their actions affect you.
  • Have a conversation asking if they still want this.
    • Communication is always the answer. Some people let things become one-sided because they don’t know how to break things off. So, they hope that you’ll get the “hint” that they don’t want to speak with you. I hate this.
    • Ask them to have a talk and bring up how their actions have affected you and if this is something they want in their life. Be your friendship or your significant other.
  • Let the relationship end
    • I use this as a last resort. If you have done all the above and nothing has changed, or they aren’t trying to change. Or even to consider your feelings and emotions. Let it go.
    • Relationships and friendships end and that is okay.


One-sided relationships suck; you go through a range of emotions question why they don’t want to put effort and energy into the relationship. It is one of those things that really suck. The positive part is so many people don’t realize that they are doing it and how it affects others. Being able to notice you are in a one-sided relationship is the first step. The second hardest step is being able to properly communicate how it affects you.


As someone who has been in on this situation, it’s difficult. Your insecurities run loose in your mind. You feel like you are insignificant, being used, and even like you don’t matter. If you are in this situation, it is okay to take a moment to gather your thoughts and express your emotions. I know it’s difficult because the times they are present are awesome but it those large number of times when they aren’t present and there is no effort.


The best thing I can tell you is it’s going to be okay. Understanding the situation you are in is half the struggle. Taking the time and effort to make sure your emotions and feelings are valid is important and should never be ignored. You deserve effort, attention, and someone to care about you all the time not just when it is convenient for them. Please whatever that voice in your head is telling you, please know you are worth more than a one-sided relationship. And if you still aren’t sure what to do; read my post on “When to stay and fight. When to walk away“. You got this. -Unofficial big sister KMH


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