If Someone Does These 15 Things, They’re Using You

If Someone Does These 15 Things, They’re Using You

Sadly, not everyone has your best interests at heart. Some people will use and abuse you for their own gain without a second thought. If you’re wondering whether someone is taking advantage of your kindness, pay attention to their actions. Talk is cheap, but behavior doesn’t lie. If someone consistently does these 15 things, they’re using you, plain and simple. Don’t make excuses for them or doubt your instincts. You deserve better.

1. They only reach out when they need something.

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If you only hear from them when they need a favor, a loan, or a shoulder to cry on, that’s a giant red flag. They’re not interested in a genuine friendship, they’re interested in what you can do for them. A real friend checks in just to see how you’re doing, not just when they’re in a bind. If the relationship feels one-sided and transactional, trust your gut. They’re using you as a means to an end.

2. They disappear when you need them.

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A user is all too happy to take your help, but suddenly goes MIA when you need theirs. They’ve always got an excuse for why they can’t be there for you, but expect you to drop everything for them. That’s not how healthy relationships work. Support and care should be reciprocal, GoodTherapy points out. If they consistently fail to show up for you, but expect you to move mountains for them, they’re taking advantage of your generosity. Don’t stand for it.

3. They pressure you to do things you’re not comfortable with.

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Whether it’s loaning them money you can’t afford, lying to cover for them, or compromising your values, a user will pressure you to cross your own boundaries. They don’t respect your comfort levels or right to say no. They’ll resort to guilt trips, ultimatums, or even threats to get their way. Don’t let anyone coerce you into betraying yourself. A true friend will respect your limits, not trample all over them for personal gain.

4. They take credit for your ideas and accomplishments.

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You share an innovative idea with them, and suddenly, they’re passing it off as their own. They bask in the praise for your hard work without giving you an ounce of credit. This is a classic sign of a user. They’re happy to let you do the heavy lifting while they reap the rewards. A real friend celebrates your successes and makes sure others know how brilliant you are. If they’re constantly stealing your thunder, they’re using you, not supporting you.

5. They monopolize conversations and make everything about them.

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Every conversation revolves around their problems, their dreams, their opinions. They talk over you, interrupt you, and barely let you get a word in edgewise. They’re not interested in your thoughts or experiences unless they can somehow make it about them. A user sees you as a sounding board for their own ego, not an equal participant in the dialogue. If you feel more like a captive audience than a valued friend, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship.

6. They constantly criticize and belittle you.

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A user thrives on making you doubt yourself. They nitpick your appearance, life choices, and aspirations. No matter what you do, it’s never good enough for them. This constant criticism isn’t about helping you grow, it’s about keeping you under their thumb. By eroding your self-esteem, they make you more likely to put up with their manipulation. Don’t let anyone dim your shine. A true friend lifts you up, not tears you down.

7. They’re always the victim and never take responsibility.

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In a user’s world, nothing is ever their fault. They’re always the innocent party, the one who’s been wronged. They spin elaborate tales of woe to garner your sympathy and justify their actions. If you call them out on their behavior, they play the victim and make you feel guilty for having standards. Don’t fall for the dramatics. A person who can’t own their mistakes and apologize is not someone you need in your life.

8. They take advantages of skills and resources.

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You’re a talented graphic designer, so they’re always hitting you up for free work. You’ve got a nice place, so they’re constantly crashing on your couch. A user sees your skills and resources as theirs for the taking. They don’t respect your time, energy, or boundaries. They feel entitled to your assets without offering anything in return. Don’t let them exploit your talents or generosity. Your gifts are valuable and deserve to be compensated, not taken for granted.

9. They treat you like an option, not a priority.

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You’re always there for them, but they’re rarely there for you. They cancel plans at the last minute, forget important events, and put everyone else before you. A user keeps you on the back burner until they need something. You’re not a priority in their life, you’re a convenient fall-back option. Don’t settle for being someone’s afterthought. Surround yourself with people who value your presence and make you a priority.

10. They gaslight you when you call them out.

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Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to make you question your own perceptions and sanity, Medical News Today explains. When you confront a user about their hurtful behavior, they turn it around on you. Suddenly, you’re the one being “too sensitive,” “irrational,” or “crazy.” They deny wrongdoing, even when you have evidence. This is a classic abuser move to avoid taking responsibility. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself. Trust your instincts and stand firm in your truth.

11. They’re charmers who turn on you.

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At first, they seemed like the most charismatic, attentive person you’d ever met. They showered you with compliments and made you feel like the center of their world. But as soon as they got what they wanted, the mask slipped. Suddenly, the charm evaporated, and you were left with a manipulative, self-serving user. Don’t be fooled by initial love-bombing. If their actions don’t match their words over time, they were just buttering you up to take advantage.

12. They repeatedly violate your trust and lie to you.

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Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. A user has no problem betraying that trust and lying straight to your face. They’ll make promises they have no intention of keeping, snoop through your personal belongings, and spill your secrets to others. When caught, they’ll either deny it or come up with an elaborate justification. Don’t make excuses for this behavior. Repeated dishonesty and broken trust are a one-way ticket out of your life.

13. They try to isolate you from your support system.

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A user wants to be the center of your universe and have you all to themselves. They see your friends and family as threats to their control. They’ll subtly (or not so subtly) discourage you from seeing your loved ones, monopolize your time, and create drama to drive a wedge between you and your support system. This is a classic abuser tactic to make you more dependent on them. Don’t let anyone isolate you from the people who have your back.

14. They’re hot and cold with their affection.

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One minute they’re smothering you with attention, the next they’re giving you the cold shoulder. This hot and cold routine is a manipulation tactic to keep you on your toes and vying for their approval. A user withholds affection as a form of punishment and control. They keep you in a constant state of uncertainty, never knowing where you stand. Don’t chase after anyone who plays mind games with your heart. Consistent love and respect are non-negotiable.

15. Your gut tells you something is off.

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Don’t underestimate the power of your intuition. If something feels off about the relationship, there’s probably a good reason. You may find yourself making excuses for their behavior, feeling drained after interactions, or questioning your own worth. These are all signs that you’re being used and manipulated. Trust that inner voice that’s telling you to put yourself first. You deserve reciprocal, supportive relationships. Don’t settle for anything less.

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.
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