Let’s assume that you’re a naturally kind and giving person but you have a history of being used and taken advantage of. This has often left you feeling disheartened and now you’re trying to figure out how to deal with people who use you.
The most effective way to deal with people who use you is to firmly but respectfully explain to them how you feel and set healthy boundaries for the behavior you are willing to accept from them.
What you don’t want to do is fight with them or accuse them of using you because this causes more problems by making them feel attacked.
When someone feels as if their character is being attacked, their natural inclination is to react defensively.
Even if your accusation has a ton of merits to it, because everyone has an ego and self-esteem, we tend to overreact and lash out when those two attributes of our character are questioned or criticized.
Additionally, most people are not good at accepting criticism, even if it’s constructive.
You would have to adopt an incredibly respectful, gentle but firm approach to avoid turning the issue into something worse.
Be that as it may, you absolutely have to learn how to deal with people who use you or else they will take advantage of your kindness and gentle nature.
What I’ve come to realize is that if you give too much of yourself away, you’ll be all used up.
There’s absolutely nothing to be gained by allowing others to use you and take advantage of your giving nature.
At the end of the day, to be giving and kind, you sometimes need to prioritize your own well-being first.
This may require you to be selfish at times but in a healthy manner.
Trust me, self-preservation is not something you should be ashamed of or feel guilty about.
Of course, there are times when you have to set aside your feelings or preservation to take ownership of your mistakes.
This is not one of those instances.
Don’t build relationships that are designed around what people can get from you.
Those sorts of friendships and relationships will never feel fulfilling nor will they serve you in any truly beneficial way.
Be warned: Those who are insecure and not true friends will probably get butt-hurt and avoid you. They may even play the victim card and completely overshadow how you feel. Don’t be surprised if they try to flip the script and guilt-trip you.
Don’t be lured into that situation because they’re trying to manipulate you into caving and staying in an unfair partnership/relationship.
Those who truly care about you and the relationship/partnership or friendship will actually take heed to what you are saying.
They may get upset at first but they will come around and make an effort to make things right.
Keep your eyes wide open and spot those who truly care because those are the relationships worth fighting for and saving.
Before we move on, let’s quickly touch on a list of people who may use you –
- People who are desperate and deceitful.
- People who are jealous of your wealth and only contact you when they want something.
- People who are selfish.
- People who are manipulative and cunning.
With that being said, let’s get into the meat of this article by discussing exactly how to deal with people who use you.
Related post: Is my friend using me for money?
1. Draw some boundaries
As much as we can’t control what people do, we can control how we react to a certain behavior.
The best way to encourage someone to respect us is by drawing boundaries.
Essentially, boundaries are limits to the kind of behavior you are willing to accept in your life.
If someone refuses to act within those boundaries, then they have to face the consequences.
In this case, not benefiting from your kindness is one form of consequence and a more extreme version would be losing you.
Understandably, drawing boundaries can feel like an awkward conversation to have but if you can gently but firmly state how you feel and what you don’t want in your life, it could greatly benefit you and prevent people from using you.
2. Learn how to say No
People who are kind-hearted and generous tend to develop a problem with saying ‘no’. I can’t blame you for that because it’s fulfilling to help others.
I would go so far as to say that generosity feeds the soul.
The only problem with being generous is that it makes you susceptible to cunning people who are users.
They can smell someone who is gullible and too kind hearted.
Once you give them a finger, they’ll try to take the hand.
In my experience, the only way to safeguard yourself from people who want to use you and take advantage of your kind nature is to learn how to say no.
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person.
Neither does it make you a selfish person. It makes you a smart person who understands that in real life, some people have bad intentions.
Even those who don’t intend on doing bad things but end up actually using you should also be told no from time to time.
At first, it’s going to be difficult to say no because you’re so used to giving in to people’s demands and requests.
But, once you start saying no on certain occasions, it begins to lift the veil from your eyes and helps you to differentiate between situations that are malicious from those that are genuine.
This is another reason why it’s imperative for you to draw up a list of boundaries or situations that dictate a refusal of your help or generosity.
3. Approach the subject in a non-confrontational manner
By drawing boundaries and saying no to people under specific circumstances, they’ll indirectly get the message.
This will become abundantly clear when you refuse to give them stuff or pay for their things on more than one occasion.
Those with self respect will eventually get the message and stop asking you.
Some people, especially those who want to use you, may continue asking. They may go so far as to put you in a position of having to pay for them even when you said you can’t.
At that point, I think it’s imperative that you have a respectful but firm conversation.
- Don’t accuse them of trying to use you.
- Don’t talk about how rude or selfish they are.
- Don’t throw accusations at them because it will fall on deaf ears.
Instead, ask them to pay you back because you need the money or simply let them know that this wasn’t cool and they blindsided you.
Also, make it known that next time you won’t be able to cover them either. When a situation like this does happen again, simply put your foot down and don’t oblige them.
This will teach them a lesson and that is to not take advantage of you because you have boundaries.
Related post: How to confront someone without being confrontational
4. Avoid toxic people who just want to use you
The best way to deal with people who use you is to just avoid them altogether.
I’m not saying that you should cut ties with them, especially if they’re actually good people who make an effort to help you at times outside of their bad habit of using you.
But, when you’re dealing with people who are manipulative, selfish, cunning, liars and deceitful, it’s better to avoid them than to try and change them.
Don’t invite them over, come up with an excuse for why you can’t help them and just spend more time with people who are actually good for you.
Eventually, they’ll get fed up of trying to use and that’s when they’ll leave you alone.
Try to remember this- prevention is better than cure.
Related post: How to get rid of a toxic best friend
5. Don’t broadcast your wealth
Most people are good-hearted but some people are not. When they get a whiff of your wealth and generous nature, they see an opportunity to take advantage of you.
These kinds of people will not be happy to see your succeed.
In fact, their happiness is limited to their own status and level. As long as you remain below them, they’ll be fine with you.
But, the moment you start to better than them, they’ll actually wish for your downfall.
This is why I strongly encourage you to hold your cards close to your chest.
I’m not advising you to be suspicious of people which is why it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t put yourself in a position of having to look over your shoulder all the time or to be terribly used.
Celebrate your wins with the people in your life who genuinely love and care about you.
What are the signs of people who use you
Knowing how to deal with people who use you is kind of pointless if you can’t identify the signs you’re being used.
This is why I urge you to familiarize yourself with this list. If someone tends to exhibit more than three of these signs, we can make a fair argument that they are trying to use you.
- They are only available when they need something from you.
- They promise to pay you back but never do.
- They’re fake and only nice when they need something.
- They guilt-trip you into doing what they want.
- They refuse to take no for an answer.
- They’re never around when you’re going through a bad time.
- They don’t make an effort to spend time with you without expecting something.
These are the most common and blatant signs of people who use you. Be wary of them and listen to your gut when it’s trying to warn you.
Related post: 10 signs your friend doesn’t care about you
It’s really disheartening to see some people take advantage of kindness and generosity but don’t allow them to change you as a person.
These are honorable traits to have and they are a reflection of your good character.
Simply follow the advice in this article and I’m sure that you’ll manage to get rid of or avoid those people who use you.
This will free up space in your life for the people who actually deserve your friendship or help.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on how to deal with people who use you to be insightful, helpful and enlightening. Feel free to drop a comment below on your thoughts or questions and I’ll be sure to reply.