Is someone consistently taking advantage of your time, energy, or resources without any intention of reciprocating? It's not always easy to tell when someone is using you, especially if you care for them deeply. But it's essential to be able to identify the signs so you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of; here are 7 signs to watch out for.
We've all been there at one time or another in our lives — where it's hard to tell if we're being taken advantage of and are not quite sure if someone is using us, but there are certain behaviors that someone exhibiting within a relationship can display if they are using the other person.
And, while there is no foolproof way to know for sure if someone is taking advantage of you, being aware of these 7 signs can help you better identify whether or not you're being used in your relationships.
If you see any of these behaviors in your family members, friends, or partner, it might be time to reassess the situation and decide whether or not this is really what you want out of a relationship.
Here are 7 signs someone is using you:
1. They're always taking advantage of your money and resources.
The clearest sign that someone is using you is if they're always taking advantage of your money and resources because they either don't have any of their own or, if they do, it's more convenient for them to use yours.
A person who values the relationship will be more than happy to split the bill or take turns paying, but if they're always trying to get you to pay for everything, it's because they're only interested in what you can do for them.
So, if you don't mind occasionally helping out a friend in need, but it feels like you're always the one footing the bill or picking up the slack, while the other person is always quick to take but never seems to reciprocate, this is a toxic relationship that you need to get out of.
Have a serious conversation with them, and if they're unwilling to change their behavior, then it might be time to end the relationship.
You deserve better than to be used as a walking ATM or free ride; find someone interested in being with you than what you can provide for them.
2. You feel like you're being used for your connections or social status.
Do you feel like the other person is only interested in you for your connections or social status? Then they are using you because they are aware that being with someone popular or well-connected can help them advance in their social life and career.
Being seen with you could help improve their image, or they may be hoping to meet important people through you; whatever the reason, it's time to get out of that relationship.
Real relationships are built on more than just superficial things; if all they seem to care about is what you can do for them, it's time to move on and find someone who actually cares about you as a person; if you struggle to make new friends, these 17 tips will help.
3. You always have to initiate contact — they only call or text when they need something from you.
Does it feel like you're the one who is putting any effort into the relationship by always initiating contact and reaching out, while the other person never seems to bother? If they only call or text when they need something from you, and you're always the one initiating contact, they are using you.
In a healthy relationship, both parties are interested in hearing from each other and make an effort to keep in touch. A person who is interested in you and cares about you will make an effort to stay in touch, even if it's just to say hi or see how your day is going.
If the only time they ever seem to reach out is when they need something from you, and if you're doing all the work while the other person just coasts along or is MIA, then this is an unhealthy and one-sided relationship.
A one-sided relationship like this is not only unfair to you, but it's also emotionally draining, have relationships with people who will make an effort to keep in touch with you because they enjoy your company and care about you.
4. They always want you to help them — but are never there for you when you need help.
If someone is constantly asking you to help them — whether it's favors, errands, or anything else — but never seems to be available when you need help or offer to return the favor, this is another sign that they are using you.
A person who is only interested in what they can get and gain from you and not in giving back by helping you and being supportive when you need it, which is neither a fair nor healthy relationship.
Unless it's part of your job description and you're getting paid for it, you're not in a position to be treated like their personal assistant; this is especially true if they never make an effort to return the favor or, at least, take the time to show their appreciation for what you have done and continue to do for them.
Normal relationships are built on give-and-take, not just taking, so if you feel like you're always the one giving and never receiving, it's time to reassess the situation and relationship.
5. They make you feel guilty or indebted to them.
If someone is constantly making you feel guilty or indebted to them — for example, by guilt-tripping you into doing things you don't want to do — this is yet another sign that they are using you.
A common tactic used by manipulators is to make their victims feel guilty and indebted to them to get them to do what they want; such as by playing on your emotions, making you feel like you owe them, or making you think that you're the only one who can help them in this situation.
This is an unhealthy form of manipulation and is not a sign of a healthy or supportive relationship; in fact, it's not healthy for either party involved and you need to surround yourself with positive people.
Stand up for yourself and set boundaries; if they can't respect you and your wishes, then they're not worth your time and energy.
6. They cancel plans at the last minute or don't bother showing up at all - but expect you to always be available for them.
Do they frequently cancel plans with you at the last minute or don't bother showing up at all but get upset when you can't drop everything to accommodate them? They are definitely using you because they are clearly not interested in spending time with you, nor do they respect your time.
If they can't bother to show up or follow through with plans, why should you bother making time for them? Don't let them take advantage of you; your time is just as valuable as theirs, so make plans with people who will follow through and show up.
A healthy relationship is built on communication and mutual respect, so if this person cannot even be bothered to show up when they say they will or communicate with you about their change in plans, it's time to think about whether or not this is a relationship worth continuing and find someone who will treat you with the respect you deserve.
7. They never make time for you and only want to see you when it's convenient for them.
The last sign that someone is using you is if they never make time for you and only ever want to see you when it's convenient for them. Everyone gets busy occasionally, but if it's a regular occurrence, the relationship is not worth your time and energy.
A healthy and supportive relationship is built on communication, trust, mutual respect, and compromise; if someone is only interested in seeing you when it's convenient for them and doesn't make an effort to work around your schedule or find time for you, it's time to move on.
Time is precious, so don't waste it on someone who isn't willing to invest the same amount of time and effort into the relationship as you are; you deserve better than to be someone's option rather than their priority.
Find someone who is more interested in you and makes an effort to spend time with you rather than just using you for their convenience.
If you're in a relationship and feel like you're being used, it's important to take a step back and assess the situation.
Ask yourself if the person you're with is exhibiting any of the signs listed above; the signs above will give you a good idea of whether or not someone is just using you. If they are, it might be time to move on — here's a 6-step-by-step strategy to stop people from taking advantage of you — and find someone who values your time, effort, and company.