When someone in your life or at work takes advantage of you, it usually happens so gradually that we do not realize it. Here are five signs to know if someone is taking advantage of you, and what to do if they are:
- Their requests increase in frequency. Once you have agreed to help someone with your time or resources, you begin to notice they begin voicing more frequent requests. It may be the same request, or could be something completely different. It is human nature to think, “this person has helped me out before, so I can go back to them for more help.” It takes maturity and restraint to not take advantage of helpful people. Some people, however, choose to take the easy way out and continue to depend on someone who they know will be quick to help them out.
- They don’t respect your boundaries. When someone does not respect your boundaries of time, space or priorities, they expect you are going to be there for them. Perhaps you have been available for them in the past, so they expect you will continue to be available. Either they are not even aware of your boundaries, or they are aware of them, yet choose to disrespect them.
- They only contact you when they need something. Maybe they don’t need a favor, but maybe they need your time or company. Strangely, they don’t use their time with you ask you about your life or to invest in you. Instead, they always seem to have some kind of self-serving motive.
- You are always pouring into them. In every encounter you are either listening to them or supporting them. You realize you are not gaining anything from the relationship. You are always the one giving. They are always the one taking.
- You suspect someone is taking advantage of you. If you suspect it, then deep down they most likely are. They may be doing it subconsciously rather than on purpose, but even if they are not aware of it, does that make the situation any better? Yes, they are not a bad person because they are not doing it on purpose, but the outcome is the same.
What to do: Once you realize or suspect that someone is taking advantage of you, put up more boundaries. Start creating more boundaries regarding your time, resources and availability. Then assess how the relationship changes. Do they still want to spend time with you, or do they begin to back off, as well? If they do back off, you will probably be better off as a result!