I had a friend in college who was always taking advantage of me — but I didn’t realize it at first. She would vent to me endlessly about her relationship problems, never letting me get a word in or really asking me about what was going on in my own life. She was my friend, and I wanted to be there for her! Whenever we’d hang out, the conversation revolves around her venting. Oh, and we always had to hang out at her place for her convenience, she’d never come to me.
This continued for months and then went to another level. She asked me if I could run to the store to make a return for her because she “didn’t have time” to do it herself. One errand turned into multiple errands. I knew she was busy, but why was she making me run these errands for her? I felt like her intern, except I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Was I being too good of a friend? Was she taking advantage of my kindness? Once I realized what was going on, I broke off the friendship.
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Friendship is a two-way street. There’s give and take, hopefully in equal amounts. We shouldn’t ever feel like we’re being taken advantage of in a friendship — but of course, nobody’s perfect, and unfortunately, not everybody is a good friend.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a friend’s taking advantage of you, or it might take you some time to realize that you’re being taken advantage of. However, there are some infallible signs to be on the lookout for that will give you answers. Here are 7 signs that you’re being taken advantage of in a friendship.
1. They don’t listen to you, but always expect you to listen to them
If your friend expects you to listen to them vent for 20 minutes straight, then they should let you vent to them, too! If you always provide a shoulder to cry on, but they dismiss you or don’t give you their full attention when you have a problem or are feeling down, that’s straight up selfish.
2. They only want to hang out when it’s convenient for them
If they want your entire schedule to revolve around them, that’s not fair! When making plans in healthy friendships, you should both discuss your schedules and compromise to figure out what dates and times work best. If they’re guilt tripping you about making a certain date work, that’s a whole other story. The world doesn’t revolve around your friend’s schedule — and your time is valuable!
3. They’re constantly asking you to do favors for them
If your friend is sending you out on errands as if you’re their intern, it’s time to reassess the relationship. Sure, friends with healthy relationships will do favors for one another, but if it’s one sided and the person is constantly asking you to go out of your way for them, they’re taking advantage of you — and wasting your time.
4. They only reach out when they need help
This is one of the surefire easiest ways to spot whether someone is taking advantage of you. Does it seem like your friend only hits you up when they need something? Well, that’s probably the case. It may feel like they’re always needing your help, whether it’s borrowing money, career advice, or “brain picking” with nothing to offer in return, or a place to crash when they’re in town (but they never talk to you regularly throughout the year) — that’s fishy.
5. They are always making you pay for things
It’s pretty common for a friend to offer to foot the bill once in a while, and it’s expected that the other friend will get the bill the next time, right? If you notice your friend is conveniently “missing” when the check comes, they never offer to pay for anything, and they don’t respond to your Venmo payment requests, they’re just taking your money, and it’s definitely time to have a serious talk with them.
6. They’re using you to get ahead
The sad truth is that a lot of people will use others just to get ahead in life, whether that means to gain popularity in a certain social circle or in a work environment. You don’t have to be rich and famous for people to try to use you and your friendship to their advantage. Manipulative people will keep “friends” just so they can step on you to climb on up to the top. Don’t let them walk all over you!
7. They don’t show interest in your personal life
Friends care about their friends. Think about it — you want to know how your friends are doing, right? You care about your friends’ well being, how they’re doing, and you’re curious about their life. If your friend never asks how you’re doing, doesn’t show interest in your life, and only wants to talk about themselves, well, you probably already know what I’m gonna say.
Don’t let your “friends” take advantage of you, your kindness, or your time. Your true friends will never want to take too much from you or be manipulative. Trust your gut. If you feel like somebody’s taking advantage of you — they are.
If you’ve noticed that you have friends who have shown one or more of these signs time and time again, you should consider having a serious talk with them about your relationship and how it makes you feel when they try to take advantage of you. If they don’t make changes to their behavior, it might be time to cut ties and break up with your friend. Oh, and remember to never take advantage of people yourself — you get what you give.
This article originally appeared on Talkspace.
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