There are just some people who can’t resist taking advantage of others.
And because they’re usually charming, it can be difficult to notice the signs at first.
If you want to protect yourself from them—which you SHOULD if you want to remain kind—then pay close attention to these signs.
If you see all of them on someone, then you can be sure they’re taking advantage of your kindness.
1) Favors, favors…they ask too many favors!
At first, they start with small favors—they’ll ask you to water their plants while they’re away, then they’ll borrow $5.
But then once they see you’re always eager to help, they’ll ask more frequently and the favors get more and more demanding.
You won’t just be asked to water their plants. They’ll ask you to mow their lawn, too. And the $5 becomes $50, then $5000.
They probably see your kindness as an opportunity they can’t resist…and why should they not use what you have to offer them readily? For an opportunist, this would be a wasted opportunity.
2) They find ways to not pay
There are opportunists who seize whatever you can offer (like the example above), but then there are those who deliberately do something (like lie) to force your kindness.
For some reason, when you hang out, they always “forget their wallet” or there’s always a “problem” with the ATM.
And they never offer to pay for gas even if they’re always hitching a ride from you.
If you’re the type who’s fine paying for your friends, be careful. Some of them might just be around because of the free stuff they get from you.
3) They can rely on you, but you can’t rely on them
You’re a giver so when someone is important to you, you give them all you’ve got.
But when it’s your turn to ask for a favor, guess what? They’re always “in the middle of something” or they’re “sick”.
It doesn’t even matter if your partner just cheated on you and you’re falling apart. Or your car broke down in the middle of nowhere…They just won’t rush to your side.
It hurts because you never just dismissed them on the many occasions they needed you. But when it’s your turn, it’s so easy for them to turn you down.
They won’t even give you a call to ask in what other ways they can help you.
4) They know your rules, but they break ‘em anyway
People who take advantage of your kindness know that even if you get angry, you won’t have an outburst. And if you do get angry, you’ll get over it fast because you have a soft heart.
So even if they know that you don’t want them to crash at your apartment during exam week, they will still do it.
After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
Nothing. They know you’re a kind person!
5) They make decisions for you
Do they say “yes” to an invitation even if you didn’t tell them you want to go? Do they book a trip with you without even consulting you?
Well, they clearly think you’re too kind and passive to protest.
Some people do this because you “allow” them to. In other words, you didn’t deliberately call them out when they did it many times in the past.
Well, it’s time to show them you’ve changed and that they can’t make decisions for you anymore. How? Start by learning how to be assertive.
6) They always have a sob story
Whenever they ask you for yet another favor, they always say something that could make your heart ache.
“I’m at my lowest point right now. My partner cheated on me.”
“I’m so sick lately that I can barely get out of bed.”
Or “I’m about to get fired.”
And if they run out of specific excuses to say, they might even go back to decades ago and start talking about their sad childhood.
It’s a manipulative tactic so you would find it hard to say “No”.
Of course, some people are legitimately suffering, and it doesn’t mean they all want to abuse your kindness. But just watch out if it becomes a pattern.
7) They get passive-aggressive when you say “No”
People who are good at taking advantage of others are master manipulators.
They know exactly how to make you feel bad for turning them down.
They’ll guilt-trip you by saying something dramatic like “It’s okay, I know no one really cares for me. I’m good-for-nothing. But thanks anyway…”
Well, of course, they know that lines like these break your heart…and that’s exactly why they’ll do it—so you’ll change your mind and say “Yes” instead.
8) They always say “This is the last time, I swear!”
Someone who’s taking advantage of your kindness will make sure that you won’t suspect that they’re taking advantage of you.
So the first time they ask for a favor, they’ll act extremely grateful and say “I’m so lucky to have you. This won’t happen again, I swear.”
And if they commit a mistake, they’ll act remorseful and promise you that it won’t happen again.
But it will happen again, and again, and again. And they’ll keep saying the same thing unless you learn to say “No” and stick with it.
9) They make you feel like you’re their savior
They’ll flatter you by saying “What would I do without you?”, “You’re a blessing from the heavens”, or “You literally saved my life!”
Again, flattery is a well-known manipulative tactic used by opportunists.
Their praise serves as a trap for you because now you’re on the pedestal…and you have to perform the role of a hero to remain there.
They deliberately do this so that the next time they ask for something, it would be difficult for you to say no.
But once again, you have to be very careful not to judge people right away. Not all people who praise you are manipulative.
But if they do most of the things in this list, I can guarantee you that it’s likely they’re taking advantage of you.
10) They inform, not ask
Instead of asking for your permission, they’ll just inform you about what they’ve done already.
It’s as if your permission isn’t necessary because they KNOW you’re generous and kind anyway.
If he’s your boyfriend, he’ll invite his friends over to your apartment and say “Oh, my friends are here, FYI” instead of “Hey, is it okay if I invite my friends over?”
And if she’s your mother, she’ll say “Oh, I rearranged your room. You’re welcome.” instead of “Is it okay if I rearrange your room a bit?”
11) They bad mouth people who are “not kind”
People who like to take advantage of others are the way they are because they’re entitled. Most of them are not necessarily bad people, they just have a different mindset.
They feel like everyone SHOULD give them favors because that’s what true friends and family do for each other.
And when they notice that some people are not “generous enough”, they’d feel offended and say bad things about them.
Not only are they sharing their frustrations to you, it’s their indirect way of saying “If you don’t want me to hate you (and gossip about you), then you must be kind (and by “kind”, they mean give them whatever they want, or else).
12) The relationship just feels one-sided
It’s possible that you don’t notice ANY of the signs above on someone…and yet, there’s just this very strong feeling that they’re taking advantage of you.
You feel like you’re the one always giving more, even if you can’t explain why.
They’re nice and they don’t ask too many favors. But somehow, the relationship feels one-sided.
You have no proof of it, but you have a strong feeling they’re only around because they need you in whatever way.
And you also have a strong feeling that if your life circumstances change and you can’t provide them whatever it is they’re using you for, then they won’t even be around anymore.
Well, you probably should trust your gut and pay more attention because, trust me, they do the other signs in this list. It’s just that they’re so good at keeping them subtle.
There’s a difference between genuinely good people who just so happen to constantly need you (for now) and selfish people who only want to use you.
So how to tell which is which?
One way is by saying “no” and setting your limits.
The good ones will respect you and stay. The bad ones will get offended, pout, and stop keeping in touch.
So protect yourself now by setting your limits. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others (the ones who truly deserve you, at least).