“One human life is worth more than all the treasures of the earth.”
– Seth Smith
We all want to think we appreciate those around us and value their humanity:
None of us wants to use somebody.
Sadly, many of us do it without even realizing we are. Here’s how to find out if you’re unintentionally using people.
10 bad signs you are using someone (even if you don’t know it yet)
What does it mean to ‘use’ someone, anyway?
Using someone can manifest in many forms. But the bottom line is that it means a situation where you are putting what a person can do for you above the person themselves.
Using someone is a nasty habit that many of us fall into at various times.
Here’s how to check if you’re unintentionally using someone in an unfair or exploitative way.
1) You only talk to them when you have a problem or need
Think about those around you and your relationships with them.
This can include family, friends, romantic partners or even strangers.
When do you talk to them and why? It may be for many reasons, so try to zero in on the most common motivations you have.
For example, when I go in a clothing store I mainly talk to the staff in order to get help on finding my size.
Or when I talk to a friend who’s far away, I mainly ask about how they’re doing and catch up on life.
But then I find myself often talking to my mom and others close to me for less selfless reasons: when I have a problem or need something from them.
This is the thing about “using” people. It’s not always dramatic or horrific, and it often takes small and sneaky forms.
If you only talk to certain people when you need something from them, you are – by definition – using them.
2) You expect them to pay for your life
All of us grow up with some kind of guardian or parent taking responsibility for us, even if it’s a social welfare system.
As such, each of us starts out life small and vulnerable.
We start eating and needing clothing and shelter from day one. But we don’t start working until we’re usually 16 or 17 in most Western nations.
At a certain age, however, we take responsibility for ourselves.
This may come to include a partner and kids who we also help provide for, or help we provide to close family members.
It’s not like all the college students still living with mom and dad are just a rumor!
So are they using their parents? Yes, absolutely.
But using someone has two meanings, which is why it’s important to get to the next point.
3) Using someone vs. only using someone
We all interact with each other in sometimes transactional ways: that’s literally part of life.
If I call my best friend and ask if they can help me out with something, that’s “using” them, at least in that moment.
But then the next day we meet for a barbecue and connect about our families and how things are going.
Using someone becomes a problem at the point that what they can give you becomes the only thing you value in them.
So, taking the prior example, if you live with your parents as a college student there’s nothing inherently exploitative or “wrong” with that.
But if you ignore your parents and rarely think of them except if the energy bill is due, then you might be relating to them mainly by what they can give you.
That is sad, and it does lead to frayed relationships and a very transactional world that none of us would like to live in, where humanity falls by the wayside to commerce and the almighty dollar.
4) You want others to plan and chart your life for you
For years I hoped and expected friends and family to figure out my life for me.
“When does my real life start?” I’d demand angrily.
Well, it never started until I took some steps on my own and stopped expecting other people to live their lives for me.
But I know how it feels to use people for advice and answers. You just want someone, almost anyone to tell you what the hell is going on and how to find the solution.
So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut”?
Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.
I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.
You see, willpower only takes us so far…
And it’s not very far.
The key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.
And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.
It all comes down to one thing:
Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.
Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having. A life in which you don’t have to use anyone.
So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.
5) You don’t listen to what they say to you
Another of the bad signs you are using someone (even if you don’t know it yet) is that you just don’t listen to what they say.
Sure, you hear the words go into your ear…
But then it immediately exits your other one.
You just don’t care enough to hear what they’re saying or why.
You’re only focused on what they can do for you or what you need from them at this point in time.
Modern life is increasingly stressful and busy! We all move at lightning-speed and want quick results.
If person A can’t give you what you want, maybe person B can.
But the more you embrace this logic, the more you’ll start using people around you in an exploitative way.
6) You only help them if they can help you
Another of the bad signs you are using someone (even if you don’t know it yet) is that your favors always have conditions attached.
This isn’t always obvious right away, so think about it carefully.
For example, if you give your friend a ride today and think no more of it, you may consider the matter settled.
But remember three days later when you asked them if you could borrow $200 to pay for one of your car repairs?
That sounds a lot to me like calling in a favor and trading favors for favors.
One of the most damaging ways that we can use others is by helping them with strings attached.
Everything must have a price. And it’s not always monetary either.
You may help your girlfriend out with a work issue she’s having by giving her great advice.
Then you expect her to listen to you vent about how much you hate your dad for a week and unload toxic venom about why modern society disgusts you.
This is just another version of tit-for-tat and using someone. Avoid it!
7) You only like them for what’s between their legs
Let’s get real:
One of the most common ways we use other people is sexually.
Another of the bad signs you are using someone (even if you don’t know it yet) is that you mainly use them as an outlet for your sexual desire.
You text at night for a booty call or ask them how their day was when really you just want to see them in their panties or underwear.
You’re using them, and it’s ultimately a shallow and rather immature behavior.
Sure, they might be using you too! They might even enjoy the way you’re using them as a sex object and glorifying their abs or tits.
But sooner or later you’ll have to come to terms with the way this interaction is lowering someone to a collection of body parts.
Are you sure that’s who you want to be?
8) You talk a big game but never deliver home runs
Another one of the bad signs you are using someone (even if you don’t know it yet) is that you are all talk, no action.
You keep them in your inner circle with a lot of smooth talk and promises.
But when it comes time to help them out or really be there for them, you’re nowhere to be found.
You say all the right things, smile at the right times, but you’re not ultimately a good partner, friend or relative.
You’re just playing a part in a movie.
You want all of the benefits and none of the costs.
9) You feel like you need their help to get what you want
Let’s face it:
One of the main reasons that we sometimes use other people is that we don’t feel good enough to get what we want on our own.
We want their money, their time, their sympathy and maybe even their love in order to feel good enough.
I’ve been there, and it’s a hard place to be!
So how can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?
The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it.
We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness and try to find someone else who will give us what we want and make us happy.
But it doesn’t work!
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.
So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.
10) You cross boundaries when you’re desperate
All of us get desperate at times, and that can cause us to push harder than we should on those that we love.
But it can also be a common sign that we’re using someone.
We cross boundaries and disrespect them when they disappoint us.
We treat them like they are a human vending machine who is somehow obligated to give us what we want.
This is a really dark path to go down that ultimately leads others to also treating us like we’re only vending machines.
It’s vital to respect others even when they frustrate us by not understanding us or giving us what we want.
Failure to do so leads down a self-defeating cycle of disappointment.
Why you use people and how to stop doing it
We mainly use people when we feel that we’re not good enough or sufficient without what they can provide.
We use people when we’re trapped in a state of fear and disempowerment.
Turning this around is all about realizing the power you hold within yourself…
And simultaneously realizing that other folks around you are just as flawed as you, but also just as deserving of respect as you!