16 Habits That Make You Look Like A Total Freeloader

16 Habits That Make You Look Like A Total Freeloader Shutterstock

Nobody likes a freeloader — you know, that person who’s always mooching off others, never pulling their own weight. If you’re not careful, you might be giving off some serious freeloader vibes without even realizing it. Here are some things you really need to stop doing if you don’t want to get a bad reputation.

1. Always “forgetting” your wallet


Oh, you left your wallet at home again? How convenient. We all forget things sometimes, but if you’re constantly relying on others to foot the bill, it starts to look suspicious. If you’re going out, make sure you have your own means of paying. And if you do genuinely forget, pay them back as soon as possible. Don’t let it become a habit.

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2. Crashing on couches indefinitely

We get it, times are tough and rent is expensive — per Forbes, the average apartment cost in the U.S. is $1,372 as of 2023. But if you’re constantly couch-surfing without any clear plans to get your own place, it starts to wear thin on your hosts. If you need a place to stay temporarily, be upfront about your timeline and make sure you’re not overstaying your welcome. Contribute to the household in whatever ways you can, whether it’s buying groceries or helping with chores. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t leave your dirty socks on the couch.

3. Helping yourself to other people’s stuff without asking

Just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you have an all-access pass to their belongings. If you need to borrow something, ask first. And if they say no, respect that. Don’t just assume that what’s theirs is yours. And definitely don’t eat their food without permission. That’s just a one-way ticket to resentment city.

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4. Never offering to pitch in for gas or parking

If someone is kind enough to give you a ride, the least you can do is offer to help out with the costs. Gas ain’t cheap — as of March 2024, the average price per gallon is $3.40, per Yahoo Finance — and parking can add up quickly. Don’t just sit there silently while your friend shells out cash. Offer to pitch in, or better yet, insist on it. It shows that you appreciate their generosity and aren’t just using them for a free ride.

5. Constantly “borrowing” money, but never paying it back

Look, we all go through rough patches where we need a little financial help from our friends. But if you’re constantly asking for money and never paying it back, it starts to feel less like borrowing and more like taking advantage. If you do need to borrow money, be clear about when and how you’ll pay it back. And then follow through. Don’t make your friends feel like they’re running a charity.

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6. Always expecting other people to pick up the tab

Just because someone else is paying doesn’t mean you have a free pass to order the most expensive thing on the menu. If you’re going out with a group, don’t just assume someone else will cover your portion. Offer to split the bill or pay your own way. And if someone does treat you, show some gratitude. Don’t act like it’s your God-given right to a free meal.

7. Never reciprocating invitations

If someone is always inviting you to their parties, dinners, or events, it’s only fair to return the favor sometimes. Don’t be that person who’s always taking and never giving. If you can’t afford to host something elaborate, keep it simple. Have a potluck, or suggest a low-cost activity. The point is to show that you value the relationship and aren’t just in it for the freebies.

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8. Acting entitled to other people’s time, resources, or generosity.

This is the big one. Entitlement is the root of all freeloading behavior. If you act like you’re owed something just because you exist, you’re going to have a bad time. Nobody owes you anything, and acting like they do is a surefire way to lose friends and alienate people. If someone does something nice for you, recognize it for the gift that it is. Show gratitude, humility, and a willingness to reciprocate. Don’t take others for granted or treat them like your personal piggy bank. That’s just not cool.

9. Always showing up empty-handed

two friends laughing

When you’re invited to someone’s house, it’s common courtesy to bring something to contribute. A bottle of wine, a dessert, a side dish — something to show that you’re not just there to mooch. If you can’t afford to bring something, offer to help out in other ways, like setting the table or doing dishes. Don’t just show up expecting to be waited on hand and foot.

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10. Constantly “forgetting” to bring your own supplies

If you’re going on a trip or outing with friends, make sure you have your own essentials. Don’t rely on others to bring extra sunscreen, bug spray, or snacks just because you didn’t bother to pack your own. It’s not their responsibility to pick up your slack. If you’re not sure what to bring, ask ahead of time. And if you do forget something, don’t just expect others to share their limited supplies with you.

11. Never offering to help with chores or errands

woman cleaning up after lazy husband

If you’re staying with someone or spending a lot of time at their place, it’s only fair to pitch in with the household tasks. Offer to do dishes, take out the trash, or run errands. Don’t just sit there scrolling on your phone while your host is bustling around cleaning up after you. Show some initiative and be proactive about helping out.

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12. Always expecting other people to accommodate your dietary restrictions

If you have genuine allergies or medical needs, of course your friends should be understanding and accommodate you. But if you’re just a picky eater or have a million self-imposed dietary rules, don’t expect others to bend over backwards to cater to your every whim. If you’re going to someone’s house for a meal, let them know ahead of time if there’s anything you can’t eat, and offer to bring something that you can. Don’t just show up and expect them to have a special menu just for you.

13. Treating your friends like your personal chauffeurs

Just because your friend has a car doesn’t mean they’re your personal Uber driver. If you need a ride somewhere, ask politely and give them plenty of notice. Don’t just assume they’ll be available to shuttle you around whenever you need it. And if they do give you a ride, show some appreciation. Offer to pay for gas, buy them coffee, or return the favor somehow. Don’t take their generosity for granted.

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14. Never offering to contribute to shared expenses

If you’re living with roommates or sharing a space with others, it’s important to contribute to the shared expenses. Don’t just assume that someone else will cover the utilities or buy all the toilet paper. Have a conversation upfront about how you’ll split costs, and make sure you’re paying your fair share. If you’re struggling financially, be honest about it and see if you can work out a compromise. But don’t just freeload off your roommates indefinitely.

15. Constantly complaining about your financial situation, but never doing anything to change it

We all go through tough times, and it’s okay to vent to your friends about your struggles. But if you’re constantly complaining about being broke or in debt, but never taking any steps to improve your situation, it starts to get old. Don’t just wallow in self-pity and expect others to bail you out. Take responsibility for your finances and make a plan to get back on track. Your friends can support you, but they can’t resolve your problems for you.

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Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.