I Love My Friends, But It Feels Like They Don't Feel The Same

Medically reviewed by Brianne Rehac, LMHC
Updated May 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Maintaining friendships may come with conflicts, hardships, and changes. Because of this, it's not uncommon to feel insecure or ask if you mutually care about each other in the same way. You may start to realize that some of the friendships that you’ve had since you were a child have changed over time. Your life may become busier. 

While not true for everyone, most people struggle to maintain contact during certain life events, including getting married, having kids, building careers, buying homes, and moving to new places. These changes might sometimes make you feel that your friends from the past don't love you, but they can also lead to the beautiful experience of falling in love with your best friend

On the other hand, you could be experiencing conflicts with friends and don't know where to turn. Maybe you give more than you get in your relationships. No matter the circumstance, there may be ways to find support and reconnect with old friends. You may also decide that the people you considered “real friends” might not be healthy for you and you no longer need to wait for them to become available to you.

iStock/Comeback Images
Unreciprocated love can hurt

Friends not staying in touch

Life might get busy for some friends. Friendships may not be the top priority in someone's mind. Additionally, friendships might not last long-term. The feeling of being ghosted or ignored by someone you considered a “true friend” can still hurt, even if you understand the cause. 

It could be that your friend is going through a transition preoccupying them. They might feel upset about a situation they are dealing with and worry that reaching out could be too much for you. If you are unsure of the status of a friendship, consider asking your friend. You can try the following methods: 

  • Mail them a brief note or postcard telling them you're thinking of them 

  • Comment on their posts on social media with kind words 

  • Send a message and tell your friend you miss them and are thinking of them 

  • Ask if they would want to plan a hangout sometime soon 

If they continue to leave you on "read," ghost you, or ignore you, it may mean that the friendship is not double-sided or healthy. As healthy relationships are essential for physical and mental health, deciding to end a toxic friendship may be beneficial.  There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your self-worth and investing in friendships that make you feel supported.

When you feel unloved

Even if you have healthy self-esteem, you might feel anxious about unrequited platonic love between you and your friends. If someone you consider a close friend makes rude jokes, arguments keep popping up, or your plans with them keep getting canceled at the last moment, you might feel pushed aside. You could also find that you put a lot of effort into your friendships, check in with them often, offer emotional support, treat them like family members, and make them feel loved, but do not receive the same effort back. You may also feel that some friends will only seek you out or invite you to join them in activities when it’s to their own advantage. In these cases, it could be valuable to reconsider the friendship and how healthy it has been for you, especially if it’s making you feel like nobody loves you. 

Just as a romantic relationship can require commitment and respect for both parties to feel assured, a lasting friendship may require respectful communication to stay healthy. Think through how you communicate and when you last had a pleasant, sincere conversation with your friend. Have they acted unkindly, dismissive, or rude toward you? Do you often hope they would treat you with more kindness? If so, it might mean the friendship is unhealthy. 

Suppose you've only caught up via brief texts and social media comments and can't seem to maintain a caring or sincere dialogue about deeper topics. In that case, you and your friend may have differing interests or feel you're growing apart. Try to converse with your friend about how this makes you feel. It may be that you both feel unloved, and talking could improve the situation. If your friend is unkind or dismissive of your concerns, consider taking a break from the friendship.


They're your best friend, but you're not theirs 

It may feel heartbreaking to hear that the person you consider your best friend doesn't feel the same way. You might personally feel love towards your friend but also believe it's not being reciprocated because your friend loves someone else they consider their best friend. You might feel jealous or hurt when you see them making posts with others.

If you sense that you may be in this situation, consider why you believe this person is your best friend. Were they supportive of you through a difficult period, or did you live, attend school, or work closely for any period? Ask yourself if the friendship was rooted in something temporary or situational.

Although you might choose to keep your friendship with this person, if the love is unrequited, it could also be beneficial to seek other friendships. There are plenty of other people in the world, and it can be helpful to explore your options. You may want to try to have more than one good friend, and as a result, you may end up having more than one best friend. If your friend hasn't explicitly expressed that you aren’t their best friend, ask them if your worries are correct. In some cases, it's possible that the situation has been exaggerated in your head; in these instances, it's helpful to get clarification. You might find that some friends show love and care differently but still appreciate your space in their lives.

How to deal when they don’t feel the same way 

It could be valuable to open a discussion if you wonder if there's a conflict in your friendship or feel like you can’t accept your friend's actions and are no longer willing to look the other way. Be as honest as possible, try to make eye contact, and allow your friend to speak. Actively listen to their response and try to understand their point of view, as long as they're respectful toward you. You may learn that a previous action or conflict angered or hurt your friend. In these cases, you might be able to resolve the conflict by talking about it and apologizing if you made a mistake. 

When talking with your friend, try to use "I" statements. For instance, instead of saying, "you hurt me when you did this," say, "I felt hurt when this happened." Using "you" statements might feel aggressive toward your friend and may not be the right thing to do if you want to have an honest conversation. If you feel the relationship is one-sided, consider saying: 

  • "I feel like our relationship is one-sided sometimes. I'd love to try to spend more time together." 

  • "Can we hang out more often? I miss you." 

  • "I'd love it if we talked more. I have been missing our conversations." 

  • "I want to keep supporting you, but it feels like I don't receive support as well, and this friendship has felt one-sided to me." 

  • “I feel like something is wrong, can we talk about it?”

  • “It’s time I feel confident in where our friendship stands. Let’s talk about it.”

If your friend is unkind, rude, or dismissive, try setting boundaries. The reality of the situation is you do not have to offer extra support, gifts, conversation, or attempts to reach out if your friend is not doing the same. Friendships should bring happiness to your life, and if a friend is doing something to make you doubt their feelings toward you, it may be a sign. In some cases, the best course of action may be to avoid seeing that friend anymore, especially if you decide the relationship is beyond salvaging and you don’t deserve the type of treatment you’re receiving. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Unreciprocated love can hurt

What can I do when it feels like the love is not reciprocated in friendship?

If you feel constantly stressed over the state of a friendship, other factors may be at play. You could be experiencing anxiety or another mental health concern. In some cases, the relationship might not be healthy, and you may choose to leave your friendship. It's possible your friend said something that doesn't sit well with you, or the two of you are otherwise incompatible. Choosing to "break up" with a friend can feel challenging. You may feel numb and or experience feelings of grief similar to how it feels when ending romantic love, which can be normal. It may be more difficult if these ex-friends attend the same school or participate in the same social activities that you do. 


Consider partaking in self-care during these times, including trying mindfulness exercises, journaling, or talk therapy. If you feel nervous, scared, or shy in social situations, you might find support from a therapist or another mental health professional for social anxiety. 

Become comfortable with your own company

Treat yourself as well as you'd treat a friend you love and learn to enjoy your own company. Consider taking yourself out on outings you want to do with your friends if they're unavailable. Spending time with yourself and learning self love can feel rewarding. 

Start a new hobby or social activity. Whether you desire to make new friends or find something fresh to do with your existing friends, a new hobby could be a valuable option. Joining a club or activity group can also improve your existing social skills. 

Seeking help

Evaluating friendships and building new ones can feel intimidating and lonely, and it may be a big deal for some people. Many people seek life coaching or professional support to deal with feelings of low self-esteem, grief, or fear and identify where these things are coming from. A professional therapist can be a non-judgemental and neutral mediator who may be able to offer advice about the situation with your friend. 

If you often feel too busy to meet with an in-person therapist, consider online therapy. You can choose between video, phone, or live chat sessions on many platforms and attend a session at a date and time that works best for your schedule. Additionally, studies show that online therapy is more effective than in-person therapy for treating loneliness, isolation, and symptoms of depression.

Counselor reviews

"Mark is an amazing therapist. He listens so well and has such valuable insight into male and female perspectives and issues while also not passing judgment. I have only just begun, but he has already given me so many great takeaways to improve my relationships and situations. I am filled with gratitude, and I would highly recommend him to anyone!!"

I love Lisa! I joined better help after a breakup. Lisa helped me to understand that I’m not alone in my feelings and that I need to be patient with myself. I was able to work through with her fairly quickly and she was always there when I needed her most. Can’t say enough about her!


"It's sad to think that no one loves me." Feeling like your friends don't love you can feel like a train wreck, and many people may avoid asking for help when they go through this experience because they are afraid. However, you may have options for improving your friendship or finding support. Even if your current friendships feel one-sided, you may be able to find new friends who can offer the same energy as you do in your connections. If you want professional guidance, consider contacting a counselor for further support.
Receive compassionate guidance in love
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started