9 easy-to-miss signs a friend is taking advantage of you

Friendship is a beautiful thing; it’s all about mutual respect, support, and understanding.

But watch out for those unexpected loops that scream “exploitation”!

Today, we’re donning our detective hats and unveiling the 9 easy-to-miss signs that your supposed BFF might be playing the friendship game on the expert level—taking advantage of you without leaving a trace.

So, grab your magnifying glass and let’s decode the hidden language of friendship faux pas!

1) They’re always asking, but never giving

Friendship is a two-way street; it’s all about give and take.

But what if you find yourself always on the giving end?

If your friend is constantly asking for favors, borrowing things without returning them, or expecting you to pick up the tab, it may be a sign they’re taking advantage of your good nature.

And the worst part? They rarely reciprocate when you’re in need.

It’s tough to spot at first because you might just think they’re going through a rough patch.

But if this becomes a pattern, it’s time to reassess.

A real friend values your time and effort as much as their own.

So keep an eye out for this imbalance; it’s one of those easy-to-miss signs that your friend may be taking advantage of you.

2) You always feel exhausted after spending time with them

Let me share from personal experience.

I had a friend, let’s call her Emma.

Now, Emma was fun, charismatic, and always full of energy.

However, every time I spent time with her, I felt drained, both emotionally and physically.

Our hangouts were always centered around her problems, her life, and her needs.

By the end of it, I felt like I had run a marathon without even moving an inch. It was as if she was sucking the energy right out of me.

At first, I thought maybe that’s just how friendships were supposed to be.

But then I noticed that this wasn’t the case with my other friends.

With them, I would leave feeling rejuvenated or happy, even if we just sat and talked for hours.

That’s when it hit me – Emma was taking advantage of our friendship.

So if you find yourself feeling emotionally drained every time you hang out with a particular friend, take note.

It might be more than just an ‘off day’; it could be a sign they’re taking advantage of your empathetic nature and willingness to listen.

3) They only call when they need something

In a healthy friendship, communication flows both ways. You call each other to chat, check-in, or just share a funny meme.

But with a friend who’s taking advantage of you, the dynamics might be different.

They only reach out when they need something – a ride, money, help with homework, or a shoulder to lean on after a bad day.

But when things are going well for them, they’re suddenly nowhere to be found.

Research shows that those who frequently use others for their own gains often exhibit this ‘fair-weather friend’ behavior.

It’s a classic sign of a one-sided relationship where your needs and desires are not valued.

4) They’re never happy for your success

Friendship is about celebrating each other’s wins as much as it is about supporting each other through losses.

But what happens when your friend never seems genuinely happy for your successes?

Maybe they change the subject quickly, make a snide comment, or even try to downplay your achievements.

This can be a subtle sign that they’re taking advantage of you. Instead of being happy for your accomplishments, they see them as a threat or a reminder of their own shortcomings.

If you notice this pattern, it’s important to address it.

A true friend should be your cheerleader, celebrating your wins with you, not making you feel guilty or less deserving of your success.

5) They don’t respect your boundaries

Everyone has their boundaries – those invisible lines that define what we are comfortable with.

A good friend understands and respects these boundaries.

But if a friend constantly pushes or blatantly disregards your boundaries, this is a glaring sign they’re taking advantage of you.

Maybe they show up unannounced all the time, borrow your stuff without asking, or pressurize you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.

Don’t forget that respecting boundaries is fundamental to any healthy relationship.

If your friend isn’t respecting yours, it’s time to have a serious conversation or rethink the friendship altogether.

6) You feel undervalued and unappreciated

Friendship isn’t about keeping score, but it’s about feeling valued and appreciated.

If you’re consistently going out of your way for a friend, only to feel unappreciated or undervalued, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

It’s as if all your efforts, time, and energy are falling into a black hole, with no recognition or gratitude in return.

It can be heartbreaking to feel like you’re just an option or a convenience in someone’s life, especially if they mean a lot to you.

Don’t let your kindness be taken for granted.

You deserve to be appreciated and valued just as much as you appreciate and value them.

If this isn’t the case, it could be a sign that your friend is taking advantage of you.

7) They belittle you in front of others

No one deserves to be demeaned or disrespected, especially by a friend.  

I remember this one time, I was at a gathering with a group of friends.

One friend, let’s call him Mark, made a snide remark about an accomplishment I was proud of.

He passed it off as a joke, but it stung.

If your friend consistently belittles you or makes you the butt of their jokes, especially in front of others, it’s more than just bad humor.

This is a form of disrespect and a clear sign they might be taking advantage of your friendship.

8) They guilt-trip you into doing things

Guilt-trips are a classic manipulation tactic.

If your friend often makes you feel guilty for not going along with their plans or not doing what they want, it’s a sign they’re taking advantage of you.

Statements like “if you were a real friend, you’d do this for me” or “I always help you, why can’t you do this one thing for me?” are classic guilt-tripping phrases.

Here’s a reminder: A true friend would respect your decisions and never use emotional manipulation to get their way.

Getting a feeling that you’re being manipulated is a clear sign that your friend might be taking more than they’re giving.

9) Your gut is telling you something is off

Never underestimate the power of your intuition.

If something feels off in your friendship, it probably is.

Your gut instinct is there for a reason. It’s your body’s way of warning you when something isn’t right.

If you often feel uneasy, stressed, or anxious around a particular friend for no apparent reason, pay attention to that feeling.

It might be your intuition signaling that you’re being taken advantage of.

Trust yourself. You know yourself and your feelings best.

If your gut is screaming that something’s off, it’s time to take a closer look at that friendship.

Final thoughts: It’s all about respect

Underlying all these signs is a fundamental principle of human interaction – respect.

True friendship is built on mutual respect. It’s about celebrating each other’s successes, supporting through hardships, and respecting each other’s boundaries and individuality.

If you notice these signs in your relationships, it’s essential to confront the issue head on.

It might be a tough conversation, but it’s necessary for your well-being and the health of your friendships.

Remember, you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and appreciation.

Don’t settle for anything less.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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