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10 Signs Someone Is Using You

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Feeling used and abused is an ugly feeling. It leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth and a sense of emptiness. The only way to recognize that someone is using you is to be aware of the signs. And so, in this article, let’s explore the top 10 signs someone is using you.

More often than not, I would advise you to trust your gut. When you get that feeling in your heart that this person is only in your life to exploit your kindness, do not ignore it. 

There’s a reason for why you feel this way. 

Try to look at the situation from an objective perspective and analyze whether you’re being paranoid or the basis of your friendship or relationship is a one-sided affair in favor of him or her. 

To do that, I would highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following signs someone is using you. 

  1. They only contact you when they want something.
  2. You’re always paying for them.
  3. They don’t make an effort to do anything for you.
  4. They disappear during difficult times.
  5. They guilt trip or manipulate you.
  6. They don’t say thank you.
  7. They don’t listen to you.
  8. They will never pay you back.
  9. They don’t keep their promises.
  10. They choose other people over you.

Okay, now that you have a rough idea of what we will be covering in this article on the signs someone is using you, let’s talk about how these signs present themselves in real life. 

Related post: How to deal with people who use you without fighting

1. They only contact you when they want something

Whether it’s those late-night texts in a romantic sense or those random calls of assistance, someone who only knows you when they want or need something isn’t a true friend.

When you reach that point of anticipating what this person wants before you even open their text or answer their calls, that’s usually when you begin to know with certainty that this is one of the signs someone is using you.

Trust me when I tell you that a real friend or partner will often only need your time and attention. 


Because they care about you and the currency in this sort of real relationship is shared experiences.

2. You’re always paying for them

Obviously, when you have a friend who can’t afford to pay for themselves and you offer to go out, it’s kind and generous of you to cover their bill.

But, when this goes on and on without an end in sight, it quickly becomes one of the most popular signs someone is using you.

It really becomes a problem when this person adopts the expectation that you will always cover for them.

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Even worse, when they have absolutely no financial issues but feel like you should pay for them because you can.

Related post: Is my friend using me for money?

3. They don’t make an effort to do anything for you

Every relationship is like a two way street. There must be an agreement of mutual effort for it to thrive.

Granted, your friend or partner may not be in the same financial position as you are but that does not negate the need for them to make an effort.

There are other ways in which they can do things to make you feel appreciated and respected, especially when you have bent over backward for them. 

When someone lacks that enthusiasm and drive to do anything for you but will display different energy when they want something from you, then it’s also one of the signs someone is using you. 

4. They disappear during difficult times

When days are dark, friends are few. No truer words have ever been spoken. 

Granted, life can be demanding which inhibits someone from being as supportive as they would like to.

However, this is quite different compared to a friend who just drops off the grid, won’t initiate any conversations, doesn’t check up on you, won’t listen to you, doesn’t provide a shoulder for you to cry on and has flimsy excuses for why they can’t be there for you. 

A true friend will make an effort to be present in your life during difficult times.

They care about you and want to add as much help as they possibly can. 

Even if it’s not a lot, you’ll feel a genuine sense of care and concern from them.

If this is missing, a sense or feeling of resentment will accompany you towards this individual and you’ll struggle to shake the feeling that they are using you. 

Related post: What to do when someone ignores your text

5. They guilt trip or manipulate you

Nothing irks me more than someone who uses underhanded and manipulative tactics to elicit something out of you only to pretend like they’re your innocent friend.

They’ll tug at your heartstrings and drop all sorts of problems on you just to guilt you into feeling sorry for them to the point that you just end up giving them what they want.

I have a friend who would constantly borrow money from me and never pay it back.

I’d hear about the difficult situation they’re in, how they don’t have food on their table and how life sucks without a job and it would make me feel bad.

This always preceded a request for money. 

And yet, I’d notice this very same friend doing or buying things that someone in their predicament wouldn’t or shouldn’t.

This behavior became apparent and like a song, I’d hear about all their issues and soon after get hit with a request for money. 

6. They don’t say thank you

When someone starts to take advantage of your generosity and is truly using you, their gratitude becomes non-existent.

If it still exists, you can’t help but shake the feeling that it’s insincere and all they cared about was getting what they wanted. 

I’ve noticed that when these people who use start assuming that you’re too weak to say no or call them out, they drop the formalities altogether. 

7. They don’t listen to you

It’s funny how when someone is going through a rough patch, they will text or call you to talk for hours about their problems.

And that’s perfectly okay.

A good friendship or relationship provides comfort, solace and an open ear.

But, when it’s their turn to do the same, they aren’t around. Even worse, they don’t even bother listening to you during those low moments.

They give you default responses and seem uninterested.

Additionally, they disappear once the source of their problem is gone or they feel better. Then, you don’t hear from them until the next issue.

This is one of the signs someone is using you as an emotional blanket or pillow.

Related post: 20 Signs your friend doesn’t care about you

8. They will never pay you back 

Those people who use you will make every excuse in the book for why they haven’t paid you back.

For some reason, they can never find the money to reimburse you for all your generosity, even when they seem fine. 

Once you lend them money, you already know that it’s never coming back.

That thought and feeling is a sign that you know this person is using you. 

9. They don’t keep their promises

What I hate more than someone who doesn’t pay back a loan or returns a borrowed item is one who promises to do so but never does.

Not only do they take from you but they don’t keep their word.

That is a breach of trust and it’s something that should be addressed. 

Even if they haven’t kept their promises before, caring about you should motivate them to do so now.

If they don’t and seem to not care that they don’t, you’re definitely dealing with someone who is using you. 


Because they see you as a means to an end.

If they didn’t, they would be more apologetic and sincere when it comes to their promises. 

10. They choose other people over you

I saved the worst for last because this one really hurts. 

When you go out of your way to help someone and they toss you aside for other people without even much of a hesitation, it shows no loyalty or care. 

And that is painful because you wouldn’t be in this situation if you didn’t care about them.

The only reason you’ve allowed this person to get away with using you for so long is that you care about them and want to be generous.

But, they don’t value you as much as you deserve and that’s why it hurts when you watch them pick others over you.

I’m not saying that favors or kind deeds should be paid back with loyalty. 

I’m just saying that if someone claims to be your friend or partner and you go out of your way to help them, the least they could do is consider your feelings before canceling on you or leaving you out of get-togethers. 

If you express this to them and they get defensive or continue this behavior, they’re not worth the effort.

In conclusion

I like to believe that people will only treat you in a manner that you allow them to. When someone oversteps your boundaries, it’s your responsibility to call them out.

This can be through an honest conversation which is what I recommend in most cases.

However, if a conversation wouldn’t or doesn’t work, the next best thing to do is refuse their requests.

It’s difficult to learn how to say ‘No’ when you are a generous person who likes to help others or who hates to refuse help.

But, you’d be helping nobody by allowing yourself to be used until you’re empty in every possible way. 

So, when someone is using you, it’s time to stand up for yourself by saying no.

You don’t even need to be confrontational.

Related post: How to deal with people who use you

Refuse their request in a polite manner and make a note of whether they exit the friendship or not. If they do, it’s obvious that they’re only around to use you.

If this doesn’t hinder their desire to be in your life, then they actually care about you and this is something that can definitely be fixed. 

With that being said, I hope you found this article on the signs someone is using you to be insightful and enlightening. 

Let me leave you with the following quotes – “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri Nouwen

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