If someone is trying to use you for their own personal gain, they’ll usually display these 7 behaviors

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We all encounter people in our lives, but much as we’d like to think that all of them are honest and kind, the reality is, some of them have hidden motives. 

The thing is, it can be hard to tell if someone’s really being sincere or if their intentions are actually self-serving. How can you tell the difference and protect yourself? 

Today, I’ll share 7 behaviors that usually indicate someone’s trying to use you for their personal gain. 

If these ring true, it might be time to reassess some relationships.

1) They’re always taking, rarely giving

One of the most glaring signs that someone is using you for their own personal gain is a stark imbalance in the give-and-take ratio of your relationship.

You may find that this person is always on the receiving end of favors, support, or resources but is rarely available or willing to reciprocate when you’re in need. 

They might conveniently disappear or become busy when you ask for help, only to reappear when they need something from you again.

This one-sided pattern can be draining and might leave you feeling like a resource rather than a valued friend or partner. 

If this behavior seems familiar, it’s worth considering whether this individual truly values your relationship, or if they’re merely capitalizing on your kindness for their own benefit.

Which brings me to my next point…

2) They disappear when you need them

One clear sign that someone might be using you is their absence during your times of need.

They’re readily available when they need something from you, but they’re nowhere to be found when you’re the one in need. They might provide excuses, or worse, ignore your calls for help altogether.

Genuine relationships are built on mutual support. If someone constantly disappears when you need them, it could indicate that they’re only in the relationship to serve their own interests, not to provide mutual support and friendship.

It sucks, I know, but think of it this way – it makes the job of weeding out fake people from your circle much easier. 

3) They’re overly complimentary

It might seem counterintuitive, but excessive flattery can sometimes be a red flag.

You might find this person constantly showering you with compliments, making you feel special and appreciated. 

However, if these compliments seem superficial or are often followed by a favor request, it may indicate an ulterior motive.

They could be using praise as a tool to lower your defenses and make you more amenable to their requests. 

While sincere compliments are a healthy part of any relationship, it’s important to discern if they’re genuine or a manipulative tactic. 

If the flattery feels forced, excessive, or insincere, it could be a sign that this person is using you for their own personal gain.

4) They’re constantly steering the conversation

Another behavior that may indicate someone is using you is their tendency to manipulate conversations.

You might notice that your interactions with this person often revolve around their interests, their problems, or their achievements. 

They might subtly steer conversations towards themselves or dismiss topics that don’t directly benefit them. 

Genuine relationships involve a mutual exchange of thoughts and feelings. Tune in to how you feel – do you feel unheard? Invalidated? Constantly sidelined in conversations? 

If the answer is yes, it’s worth examining why you feel that way. 

5) They display inconsistent behavior

Now, let me ask you another question: is this person’s behavior inconsistent? Like sometimes they’re all ears and nice and attentive, and then the next…they just don’t care?

Careful there – inconsistency is a red flag. 

I once had a friend like this, and it took me a while to understand that she wasn’t as good a friend as I thought she was. She’d be exceptionally kind and attentive when she needed my help, and after that, distant and indifferent. 

At first, I chalked it down to a busy schedule. Maybe she was too busy or overwhelmed, maybe she just has a lot on her plate right now…

But over time, I could no longer ignore or deny that seed of doubt in my heart – that tiny voice that told me, “She’s nice right now because she needs a favor again…”

This inconsistent behavior can be unsettling and confusing. It’s a common tactic used by those who view relationships as transactions, rather than meaningful connections. 

6) They disregard your boundaries

Respect for personal boundaries is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship.

You may find that this person tends to cross lines you’ve drawn, whether it’s borrowing money without returning it or taking up your time without consideration for your schedule. 

They might dismiss your concerns with excuses or perhaps, even turn the tables on you, making you feel guilty for setting boundaries in the first place.

Well, that’s a pretty good sign that the person isn’t quite upfront. 

This blatant disregard for your personal boundaries isn’t just disrespectful, it’s a clear sign that they’re prioritizing their own needs over yours

A true and sincere friend would never do that.

7) They’re always in a crisis

It might seem strange, but someone constantly being in a state of crisis can be a warning sign.

You might find that this person always seems to have a calamity brewing. They might regularly need your help, advice, or resources to get through their latest predicament. 

Of course, it’s natural to support friends and loved ones during tough times, but a continual cycle of crises can be a manipulative tactic.

They could be leveraging their problems to keep you engaged and sympathetic, making it easier for them to use your time, energy, or resources for their benefit. 

If you find yourself continually rescuing them from their latest disaster, it might be time to reconsider if they’re genuinely in need or if they’re using their crises to exploit your goodwill.

Understanding the dynamics

Recognizing that someone might be using you for their own personal gain can be a challenging and emotionally draining process. It’s often difficult to accept that a person we care about could be exploiting our kindness or generosity for their own benefit. 

However, understanding the dynamics at play can empower us to make informed decisions about our relationships.

Firstly, it’s crucial to remember that everyone has moments of neediness or selfishness. The behaviors discussed above become problematic when they are consistent and unchanging patterns, not occasional lapses.

It’s also essential to acknowledge our role in these dynamics. Sometimes, our desire to be liked or our fear of conflict can make us susceptible to such behavior. 

We might brush off early warning signs or make excuses for the person’s actions so as not to rock the boat. In these cases, it’s important to practice assertiveness and learn to set firm boundaries.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that people who exploit others often do so unconsciously. They might have learned these behaviors in their own past relationships or environments where manipulation was normalized. 

Of course, this doesn’t excuse their actions, but it can provide some context for understanding them.

That said, don’t forget that you deserve relationships that are built on mutual respect and reciprocity. If you suspect someone is using you for their own personal gain, consider having an open conversation about your concerns. 

If they dismiss your feelings or continue their behaviors despite your conversation, it may be time to reassess the relationship.

You have every right to remove yourself from relationships that drain you more than they uplift you.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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