Unrequited love refers to unidirectional romantic love. Is thete a similar phrase or word for milder cases such as friendship or career connection?

  • 3
    "unrequited friendship", but not a common concept... What do you mean by "career connection"?
    – James K
    Commented Feb 26 at 6:06
  • 2
    Like on LinkedIn
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 26 at 7:20
  • For LinkedIn, if you are looking for a single word or phrase to encapsulate the fact that you "follow" someone but they don't "follow" you as well, I don't believe English has a term for that. Not a common or universally understood one, at least
    – automaton
    Commented Feb 26 at 22:52
  • 1
    What is "a mild version of unrequited love"?
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 27 at 19:50
  • @Lambie A crush? Commented Feb 28 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


We'd say a situation where you treat someone as a friend but they do not appreciate you in return was a "one-sided friendship". People who appear to be your friend but abandon you when you need them the most are sometimes called "fairweather friends".

For any other kind of relationship, you could perhaps say "one-sided relationship" (eg "My relationship with my employer is one-sided".)

There are probably many other terms specifically for employers - you may say your employer is "unsupportive" if they don't do anything for you you even though you work hard for them (eg "I have an unsupportive manager") and of course these days people take about "toxic" workplace environments.

  • 4
    "One-sided" goes with a lot of situations, you could talk about a "one-sided crush" or a "one-sided work friendship" or even a "one-sided kindergarten parent play-date relationship".
    – BradC
    Commented Feb 27 at 20:42

I don't know of a noun for such a relationship. We say, "His friendship was not returned" or "not reciprocated". Or "His attempts at friendship ..." or "His friendly gestures ..." It takes a sentence or a phrase. We don't call it an "unrequited friendship".


A common phrase to describe the give-and-take of friendship is to say that "friendship is a two-way street". A dysfunctional friendship where one person puts in all the work with no reciprocity on the other end could metaphorically be called a "one-way street", although you'd likely need to include some context to call to mind the set phrase.

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