16 Sneaky Clues That Someone Might Be Taking Advantage of You

16 Sneaky Clues That Someone Might Be Taking Advantage of You

You consider yourself to be a kind and generous person, and while that’s mostly a good thing, it can make you more vulnerable to people who love nothing more than to take far more than they give. Whether it’s a friend, family member, partner, or colleague, if you relate to any of these signs, you’re being taken advantage of.

1. They’re Constantly Asking for Favors.

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Is there someone in your life who always seems to need a favor? They might need a ride, some cash, or help with a task. If they’re always asking but never seem to return the favor or reciprocate in any way, it’s a strong sign they’re taking advantage of your helpful nature. A balanced relationship involves give and take from both sides.

2. They Only Come Around When They Need Something.

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Pay attention to people who only reach out when they need something. If their interest in you seems directly tied to their needs, they’re likely using the relationship for personal gain. Real friends show interest in your life and well-being, regardless of what you can do for them.

3. They Downplay Your Problems.

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If someone constantly disregards your problems while expecting you to be fully supportive of theirs, it’s a warning sign. They might minimize your feelings or experiences while maximizing their own. This shows a lack of empathy and respect and hints they’re taking advantage of your caring nature.

4. They Make You Feel Guilty.

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People who take advantage often use guilt as a tool of manipulation. If they make you feel guilty for not helping them or not meeting their needs, they’re abusing your sensitivity and goodwill. Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your own needs and feelings. In fact, you really should sometimes!

5. They Ignore Your Boundaries.

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If someone consistently ignores or disrespects the boundaries you’ve set, it’s a sign they’re taking advantage of you. Whether it’s your time, space, or emotional limits, your boundaries deserve respect. Disregarding them is a sign of a one-sided relationship. This isn’t someone you need in your life.

6. They Take More Than They Give.

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A relationship should be a balanced exchange. If you find yourself constantly giving—be it time, energy, or resources—with little to nothing in return, they’re likely exploiting your generosity. Relationships should not leave you feeling drained or used. Sure, sometimes you’ll be in more of a position to give than someone else, but if it’s like that all the time, there’s a clear issue.

7. They Rarely Thank You.

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Gratitude is a fundamental part of any relationship. If they rarely say thank you or show appreciation for your efforts, it’s a sign they’re taking your kindness for granted. Your efforts deserve acknowledgment and appreciation. Sure, you don’t need them to shower you with compliments every time you do something nice, but a little recognition is important.

8. They Make You Feel Obligated.

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If someone frequently makes you feel like you have to help them or do things for them, they’re manipulating your sense of responsibility. They might use phrases like “I thought I could count on you” or “You’re the only one who can help.” This is a manipulative tactic used to take advantage of your good nature.

9. They Make You Feel Uncomfortable.

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Trust your gut. If you often feel uncomfortable or uneasy, especially when they’re asking for something, it’s likely they’re taking advantage of you. You should never feel coerced or pressured in a relationship.

10. They’re Not There When You Need Them.

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Pay attention to people who are often unavailable or unresponsive when you’re in need but expect your help whenever they need it. They’re probably exploiting your reliability while not being reliable themselves. They never makes moves to accommodate you — if your needs inconvenience them, they won’t bother to try meeting them.

11. They Constantly Criticize You.

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If someone constantly criticizes you, especially in areas where you’re helping them, they may be taking advantage of your patience and self-esteem. Constructive criticism is one thing, but constant negative feedback or belittlement, particularly when you’re going out of your way to assist them, is not a sign of a healthy relationship.

12. They Expect You to Drop Everything for Them.

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If someone expects you to drop everything you’re doing to cater to their needs, it’s a sign they’re taking advantage of your time and availability. They might not consider your other commitments or responsibilities, and this lack of respect for your time is a clear sign of exploitation.

13. They Regularly Play the Victim.

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If someone constantly plays the victim and uses their problems as a way to manipulate you into helping them, they’re likely taking advantage of your compassionate nature. While it’s natural to want to help those in need, it’s important to be aware when someone uses this as a tactic of manipulation.

14. They Use Emotional Blackmail.

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Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation. If someone uses phrases like “If you cared about me, you would…” or threats like ending the relationship if you don’t comply with their demands, they’re likely taking advantage of your emotions and affection for them.

15. They Always Want More From You.

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If someone is never satisfied with what you do for them and always demands more, it’s a sign they’re taking advantage of your generosity. No matter how much you give, it’s never enough, and they always expect more of you.

16. They Don’t Respect Your Opinion.

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If someone consistently dismisses your opinions or decisions, especially on matters that directly affect you, they’re likely taking advantage of your flexibility and openness. A respectful relationship values and considers the opinions of both parties.

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Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.