Are You Being Used?

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We all like to be liked, to have people that want to spend time with us. We all want to have friends that can share the fun times and help us through the bad times. Sadly, occasionally we can be so desperate for acceptance and eager to be a part of a group that we become oblivious to certain truths. There are some people out there who do not offer genuine friendship, what they offer is a false friendship based on how they can use you to get what they want, or how they can use you to get to someone that they want to be closer to.

When the Line Is Blurred

When you are part of what you conceive to be a friendship it can be difficult to see where the line between a healthy and true friendship and an unbalanced relationship starts and ends. True, healthy friendships are full of give and take. Life circumstances often leave us having to lean on a friend in times of need, and we in turn offer a shoulder to them when they need it, it’s natural. As a friendship naturally develops over time you should be able to look back upon events both good and bad and see your friends there beside you through the rough times and the good times.

However if your friendship is the unhealthy and unbalanced kind then the balance of give and take is off. One side will be seen to be constantly leaning upon the other, with little regards to offering the same service in return. This is not a friendship, certainly not for the person who is always in the position of supporter. The initial desire that you had for this person to like you and want to be your friend, soon diminishes when you find that you have been reduced to nothing more than their reliable sidekick.

Signs to Watch Out For

If you think that you are in a relationship or friendship that sees you used as a supporter, sidekick or leaves you feeling underappreciated or ignored, the following signs should be enough to make you get out of it while you can.

• Do you really hang out together or are the one always doing the favours? How does the dynamic work when you are out together? Are you the one that gets you entry into a certain club? Are you the one always relied on to provide the transport? If this sounds familiar, take a step back and ask yourself why this person has you as a friend, is it for who you are or the benefits that you can provide?

• How often do you speak? If you find that your so called friend only gets in touch when they need something, or when their life is going through a rough patch then you are not being truly valued for who you are. Good friends can go for ages without speaking yet when they do the conversation starts as though no time has elapsed at all, life events are shared and news caught up on. If you are only called upon when times are bad what does that tell you about how they feel about you when their life is going well?

• Does your friend ask about you? Are you sat there listening to the latest tales of woe, their relationships and their work issues all the time, or do they actually ask about you, your life and your news? Your life is just as important as theirs and you should not be there just to be used as a sounding board for their problems. Give and take, remember?

• Are you really a part of their lives? Do you find yourself included in plans they have made with others or are you left out of the loop? Have you met and been introduced to some of their other friends or family members? Are you included in their wider social circle or are you kept on the outside? If you have never been brought into the day to day life events of this person there is no way that you can be considered to be of any importance to them. Life is best when shared with friends.

Bring Back the Balance

Does a certain friendship leave you feeling as though you have been taken for granted, that your views and opinions are of little importance, and that the events in your life are of no significance? If so raise the issue of unbalance with your friend, it could be that this behaviour was unintentional, they might not realise what they have been doing, in which case you can bring back the balance in the relationship almost straight away.

However if this person has been knowingly and intentionally taking advantage of your good will you will find that they get very defensive when confronted, will refuse to listen to your comments and observations and may actually walk away from the conversation. It is then up to you to decide whether you want to give them another chance or walk away from an unbalanced friendship and move on to develop better friendships in the future.

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Colleen Crawford

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  • This article says it all! I just dumped my "best" friend for most of these reasons – I got smart and started listening to my gut and decided to get away from her immediately and abruptly, with NO regrets, well I wish I did it sooner!

Colleen Crawford

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