Understanding Power Imbalances in Friendships

Monday, February 26th, 2024

What are power imbalances in friendships?

Power imbalances in friendships happen when one friend has more control or influence over the other. A power imbalance can manifest in different ways, such as:

Cultural or social backgrounds

Differences in cultural or social backgrounds can lead to misunderstandings or one friend feeling marginalised or less empowered.

Personality traits

Dominating or overly assertive behaviour from one friend can over shadow the other’s opinions and needs, leading to an imbalance.

Relationship history

If one friend has previously played a more supportive role, then they may continue to exert more influence or control in the relationship.

Professional relationship

If friends also have a work relationship where one is in a superior position, it may carry over into their personal relationship.

Access to social connections

One friend having more extensive social connections of being seen as being more popular might lead to an imbalance in social situations.

Financial differences

One of you may have access to greater financial resources which may impact on your friendship in many ways


Power imbalances in friendships don’t have to be a stumbling block. With empathy, practical steps, and a bit of guidance, you can foster a healthy and balanced friendship.

Read the full article, including how to spot and overcome power imbalances here