Signs You’re The “User” In Your Friend Group (And They’re Onto You)

Signs You’re The “User” In Your Friend Group (And They’re Onto You)

You pride yourself on being a good friend, but lately, you can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. Your texts are going unanswered, invitations are drying up, and your once-tight crew seems to be giving you the cold shoulder. Before you write it off as paranoia or petty drama, consider this: the problem might be you. Hard as it is to admit, you might be the “user” in your friend group — and they’re onto you. Not sure if you fit the bill? These 18 signs will give you a brutally honest reality check.

1. You’re always “too busy” to help, but never too busy to ask for favors.

Your schedule is mysteriously full when your friends need a hand, but wide open when you need something from them. If your availability is consistently one-sided, your friends are probably starting to notice. Relationships are a two-way street, Psychology Today reminds us— if you’re always taking and never giving, don’t be surprised when people start to distance themselves.

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2. You only reach out when you need something.

If your friends only hear from you when you need a ride, a loan, or a shoulder to cry on, they’re going to catch on quick. Friendship isn’t a vending machine — you can’t just put in a quarter and expect to get what you want. If you only make contact when you need something, your relationships will start to feel transactional and shallow. Show up for your friends even when you don’t need them.

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3. You never offer to pay or reciprocate.

If your friends are always footing the bill or doing the heavy lifting, they’re going to start feeling used. Whether it’s always “forgetting” your wallet or conveniently ducking out when it’s time to return a favor, if you’re not pulling your weight, your friends are going to get tired of carrying you. Don’t be a mooch — offer to pay your share and reciprocate gestures of kindness.

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4. You’re always the center of attention.

If every conversation revolves around your problems, your dramas, and your needs, your friends are going to start feeling like supporting characters in the movie of your life. Friendship isn’t a one-person show — it’s an ensemble cast. Make sure you’re giving your friends equal airtime and attention. Ask about their lives, listen actively, and share the spotlight.

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5. You’re a fair-weather friend.

If you’re only around when things are good, but nowhere to be found when the going gets tough, your friends are going to question your loyalty. Friendship isn’t just about celebrating the highs — it’s about weathering the lows together. If you’re consistently MIA during hard times, your friends are going to stop counting on you. Show up for them in good times and bad.

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6. You’re always keeping score.


If you’re constantly tallying who owes who and holding grudges over perceived imbalances, your friendships are going to feel more like a competition than a connection. Generosity isn’t a balance sheet — it’s a free-flowing exchange of goodwill. If you’re always keeping track of who did what for whom, you’re missing the point of friendship, MindBodyGreen notes. Give freely, without expectation of return.

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7. You’re a flake.

If your friends can’t count on you to follow through on your commitments, they’re going to stop making plans with you. Consistently canceling at the last minute, showing up late, or simply not showing up at all is a surefire way to erode trust and goodwill. If your word is no good, your friendships won’t be either. Respect your friends’ time and energy by being reliable.

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8. You only want to hang out on your terms.

If you’re always dictating the plans and refusing to compromise or consider your friends’ preferences, you’re not being a good friend. Friendship is about give and take — it’s not all about you. If your friends feel like they always have to cater to your whims or else you’ll bail, they’re going to get tired of the one-sidedness.

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9. You’re always borrowing but never lending.

If you’re constantly asking to borrow money, clothes, or other resources from your friends, but are never willing to lend when they’re in need, your selfishness is going to become apparent. Friendship isn’t a one-way flow of favors and goods. Be as generous with your own resources as you expect your friends to be with theirs.

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10. You’re always fishing for favors.

If your requests for favors are starting to feel more like demands or expectations, your friends are going to bristle at the entitlement. Appreciate that your friends have the right to say no sometimes. If you’re constantly pushing for more than they’re willing or able to give, you’re not respecting their boundaries.

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11. You take more than you give.

man and woman looking at each other with skepticism

If your friends are always the ones hosting, driving, or footing the bill, and you rarely offer to reciprocate, the imbalance is going to strain your relationships. Friendship shouldn’t feel like a draining obligation for only one party. Try to give as much as you get, in whatever ways you can.

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12. You’re always the exception.

If you act like the normal rules and social contracts don’t apply to you, your friends are going to get resentful. Expecting special treatment or constantly pushing for your own way at the expense of the group is a sign of self-centeredness, not friendship. Be willing to compromise and consider others’ needs sometimes.

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13. You don’t make an effort.

If you’re always leaving it up to your friends to make the plans, initiate the conversations, and maintain the relationship, you’re taking them for granted. Friendship is an active investment, not a passive perk. If you’re not willing to put in consistent effort, your friends are going to stop working overtime to keep you in their lives.

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14. You’re always asking for discounts or hook-ups.

two men laughing and chatting on city street

If you’re constantly trying to leverage your friends for freebies, discounts, or professional favors, you’re taking advantage of their generosity and connections. Your friends are not your personal concierge service. Respect their time, energy, and expertise. If you’re always expecting handouts, you’re not valuing them as individuals.

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15. You don’t respect their boundaries.

three men talking outside

If you consistently pressure your friends to overextend themselves, share more than they’re comfortable with, or compromise their own needs and values for your benefit, you’re not being a true friend. Friendship doesn’t entitle you to unlimited access and influence. If you can’t take no for an answer, you’re prioritizing your own desires over your friends’ well-being.

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16. You’re not appreciative.

Female friends in casual wearing chatting with each other while sitting on sofa and drinking coffee in cozy living room at home

If you take your friends’ kindnesses and contributions for granted or feel entitled to their time and resources, you’re not being grateful. Everyone wants to feel valued and acknowledged for what they bring to a relationship. If you’re not expressing heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your friends’ efforts, they’re going to feel unappreciated and used.

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17. You always have an excuse.

two female friends drinking from coffee mugs

If you’re consistently blaming external factors for your lack of follow-through or consideration, your friends are going to start seeing through your excuses. At some point, “I’m sorry, I was busy/tired/broke” starts to ring hollow. Take responsibility for your actions and inactions. If you’re chronically overcommitted, learn to say no upfront instead of bailing later.

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18. You’re never satisfied.

If your friends feel like they can never do enough to make you happy, they’re going to stop trying. Constantly moving the goalposts, raising your expectations, or finding fault with their efforts is a surefire way to discourage them from investing in you. Appreciate what your friends do for you, even if it’s not perfect. Recognize that they’re doing their best and show gratitude for their gestures, big and small.

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Sinitta Weston grew up in Edinburgh but moved to Sydney, Australia to for college and never came back. She works as a chemical engineer during the day and at night, she writes articles about love and relationships. She's her friends' go-to for dating advice (though she struggles to take the same advice herself). Her INFJ personality makes her extra sensitive to others' feelings and this allows her to help people through tough times with ease. Hopefully, her articles can do that for you.