One-sided friendship? The imbalance can be frustrating. Here, a relationship expert gives her tips on how to approach the situation.

By Lynn Saladino
May 23, 2018

First, how long has it been going on? If your friend has been great in the past but is currently all-consumed with something (she’s up for a promotion at work or she just had a baby, for instance), she might dominate conversations because her brain is occupied by her own stuff. Telling her how you feel can help. Say something like, "I know you have a ton going on, and I am always here for you, but I have some things I’d love to share and get your advice on." She might not even realize how one-sided your relationship has become and may actually appreciate the nudge.

On the other hand, if this friend has a consistent pattern of being self-centered, she may not be capable of anything else. In this case, ask yourself if the good from the friendship outweighs how self-involved she can be. Then decide if you can accept the friendship as is. The truth is, some friends are good for different things. Maybe she’s great for a girls’ night out, but not for a deep conversation after a crappy workday.

Keep in mind that you could be part of the issue: If you’re someone who isn’t comfortable talking about yourself or who is always the "fixer" for others, you may find yourself in one-sided relationships. Maybe sometimes you even enjoy these situations because you feel needed and useful. But it sounds like you’ve hit a point where you’d like things to be different, so practice turning the convo to you: Start by sharing a bit about yourself and asking for your friend’s opinion when solving problems. It may feel unnatural at first, but stepping into the spotlight here and there can balance out your friendships over time.

Lynn Saladino is a clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in weight management, relationships, and life transitions.