Do you feel there’s someone in your life who uses you?
You’ve come to the right place — this article will give you practical tips to understand whether someone is using you as well as tips to deal with them.
Some people may tend to take advantage of your good nature right now, but you can learn to change, so that these people no longer have power over you.
Why do some people use others?
Opportunism. Selfishness taken to an extreme. Or even narcissism and complete lack of empathy for others.
These are, in a nutshell, the main reasons some people tend to use others.
Now, on a deeper level, you could say that some people use others because they lack confidence in themselves, or in their own skills.
Think about it. Even if someone was a very selfish individual, would they really feel the need to use others if they believed they had enough resources — if they believed they were enough? Probably not.
Someone who accepts life as a challenge and has learned to be independent (in their career, relationships, and life) would never think of using others to accomplish their goals.
So insecurity and lack of self confidence are a key factor here.
Not everyone who is insecure ends up using others, but I’d say almost everyone who uses others is insecure.
Let’s now have a look at the most common signs someone is using you…
Signs someone may be using you
- You say yes; they say no. They expect you to be available all the time; they are never available. And so on. If someone uses you, there is a clear imbalance. It’s almost as if your time was worth nothing, and the other person’s time was worth everything.
- They don’t listen. They may pretend they do, but they don’t. This is because people who use others have zero empathy. They literally don’t care about you. And this shows in your conversations with them.
- They ask for favors. All. The. Time. Nothing wrong with asking for favors in general. But constantly doing it is definitely a red flag. Typically, people who use others will ask for money or favors, and until they hear the word “no”, they’ll just keep doing it.
- They don’t show appreciation. They may say thank you, but that’s about it. When you help someone and you don’t notice any kind of appreciation or gratitude (that is, genuine gratitude), ask yourself why. Chances are that the other person doesn’t really care about you, and uses you.
How to deal with someone who uses you
1. Learn to love yourself
Here’s one of the things I’ve learned after years of being “too nice”: if you respect yourself, and love yourself, nobody will ever use you. They won’t even try.
Sounds crazy, right? But it really is true.
Whether you want to explain this with the fact that people pick up your body language subconsciously, or things like the law of attraction — up to you.
When you truly love yourself, you communicate the kind of energy that makes it virtually impossible for others to try and use you. You give off the vibe that tells people that you matter.
This is why people with a low self-worth tend to meet opportunists over and over again. They attract them (though they usually don’t realize they do).
So the first and most important tip is to be honest with yourself, and if you think you don’t love and respect yourself enough, it’s time to change your mindset.
2. Learn to say no
That’s literally all it takes. A single word.
And if it feels hard to say no, then that tells you there’s something wrong.
If someone genuinely cares about you, and asks for a favor and you say no, would you really need to worry about their reaction? Would you be afraid? Probably not, right?
People who use others tend to make them feel uncomfortable. So when they ask you to do something, your natural reaction may be to be afraid, and say yes regardless.
If you can’t say no to people, it’s time to break the cycle and… just say no (check out this article to learn more).
And once you do say no, you’ll be surprised by the other person’s behavior. Their behavior will literally change.
Because you’ve said the magic word, and you’ve broken the cycle. You’ve become the kind of person who puts themselves first and no longer thinks they need to say yes to others.
3. Be emotionally detached
Energy vampires and toxic people in general try to use you by controlling your emotions.
They make you vulnerable, and then use your vulnerability to steal your energy, time, and attention.
Keep in mind, they rarely behave aggressively — that would be a bit too obvious.
Instead, they make you feel sorry for them, or compliment you, or ask intrusive questions, or talk about things that matter to you (so they can have your attention).
So here’s the third tip: be as emotionally detached as possible. That is, when you’re dealing with someone who uses you.
If your emotions are not affected by their words, their smile, their manipulative behaviors — then you are immune, and they are powerless.
4. Don’t feel guilty
Here’s another common way selfish people use you — they take advantage of your good nature and make you feel guilty if you don’t help them.
In some cases, this works every time because some people tend to feel guilty for everything they do (or don’t do).
For example, they might be having a great day and feel really happy, and then feel guilty that they’re happy. Rationally, this doesn’t make sense, but it happens.
So here’s the thing: you don’t owe anyone anything. When people ask for favors, you are allowed to say no.
It’s not like your purpose in life is to help those around you. It’s nice if you do, obviously, but you have to always put yourself first. Don’t feel bad about it because you’re not doing anything wrong.
5. Be independent
People that use others can also take advantage of their loneliness.
Someone who has no friends, or has been single for a while, might experience feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and if that translates to neediness, that can be taken advantage of.
In the sense that someone might pretend to be your friend, or flirt with you, for an ulterior motive.
If they know you are needy and you’ll automatically welcome anyone in your life, they’ll try to take advantage of that.
So no matter where you are in life right now, always know that you deserve the best.
You truly deserve to be around people who appreciate you and care about you. Even if you don’t have any real friends or relationships at the moment, be selective with who you spend your time with.
6. Communicate your feelings
As mentioned earlier, opportunists lack empathy; they don’t really care about other people and their feelings.
However, to deal with people who use you, it’s usually a good idea to express your feelings. For example, you could say things like:
- I don’t like it when you…
- I would prefer not to…
- I am exhausted
- I need time to think
- I feel uncomfortable when…
People may question your behavior, but they will never question your feelings. If you feel a certain way, there must be a reason, and the reason isn’t you being moody.
7. Change your environment
If you feel you’re in the wrong environment — and there are a few people who try to use you — then it’s probably time to change it.
Yes, it all starts with self-love and self-respect. But it can be overwhelming to change if you stay in the same environment for too long.
This is why one of the easiest ways to change your identity and perception of self is to move to a new city or country.
When you are in a new environment, you are new as well. Because your subconscious mind is no longer influenced by old friends, old places, and the old version of yourself.
Meet new people, try out new things, move somewhere new — it’s a liberating experience, and it gives you a lot more freedom and power.
8. Ghost/block them
And lastly, do consider cutting people out of your life if you feel overwhelmed (or before you feel overwhelmed).
Ghosting or blocking people might seem immature, and there are definitely situations where it is a sign of immaturity, but in general it’s simply a form of self-care.
Energy vampires, opportunists, manipulators, extremely selfish people — why would any sane person waste a single second on them?
Ghosting might be harsh, but it’s also the easiest and fastest way to remove toxic people from your life.
Especially because most of these toxic people won’t really change, even if you take the time to talk to them and express your feelings.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to trust anyone and expect anyone to treat you with respect. We don’t live in an ideal world.
Some people tend to use others. It could be because of an actual disorder, or simply because they are selfish opportunists (though I believe insecurity is almost always the root cause).
So you want to learn how to spot these people, and then protect yourself and avoid them. Once again, here are the tips:
- Love and respect yourself
- Say no and don’t feel guilty about it
- Be emotionally detached; don’t be needy
- Express your feelings
- Avoid them or cut them off for good