How to Know If You’re Being Used: Warning Signs & Tips

In today’s world, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between genuine relationships and those based on ulterior motives. It can be difficult to tell whether someone genuinely cares about you, or whether they are using you for their own benefit. Being used can leave you feeling drained, frustrated, and unappreciated. In this article, we will look at warning signs that will help you know if you’re being used, tips to help you protect your interests, and answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.

Warning Signs That You Are Being Used

It is important to be watchful for these signs that you are being used:

  • The person only contacts you when they need something. Whether it’s to borrow money, run errands, or help them with something, they always seem to call at their hour of need.
  • You are always the one paying for things. Whether it’s dinner or your movie tickets, they seem to always rely on you to cover the bills.
  • You feel used and exploited, but you don’t speak up about it because you don’t want to seem selfish or unkind.
  • The person keeps asking for favors and doesn’t return them.
  • The person doesn’t respect your boundaries and keeps pushing you to do things that you are not comfortable with.
  • You have a high tolerance for bad behavior and excuses.
  • You are left feeling exhausted and depleted after spending time with this person.

How to Protect Yourself

If you’ve realized that you’re being used, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. Here are some tips to help:

  • Set boundaries: Clearly define what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable, and stick to them. Don’t feel guilty about saying ‘no’.
  • Get to know the person: Try to understand their motivations and intentions. If their intentions don’t align with yours, it’s probably best to distance yourself.
  • Speak up: If someone is taking advantage of you, don’t be afraid to speak up. Let them know how their actions are making you feel and ask them to stop.
  • Distance yourself: If this person is not willing to respect your boundaries or adhere to your requests, it’s probably best to distance yourself from them.
  • Take care of yourself: Focus on your own well-being, and don’t compromise your physical, emotional or financial well-being for anyone else.

How to Tell If Someone Is Using You for Money

Here are some red flags that can indicate that someone is using you for money:

  • They always ask you for money, whether it’s borrowing, asking for gifts or expect you to be responsible for their expenses.
  • They only contact you when they need financial help or when they want to go out and have fun at your expense.
  • They show little to no interest in your relationship outside of financial support.
  • They never seem to have any money, even when you know they are earning or have other sources of income.
  • They get angry or defensive when you suggest that they should get a job or start working for their own financial independence.

How to Tell If Someone Is Using You for Sex

It’s important to be aware of these signs that someone is using you for sex:

  • They’re not interested in your life or interests, just your body.
  • They only text, call or message you late at night when they’re feeling lonely or in the mood.
  • They don’t introduce or take you out in public with their friends or family.
  • Their conversations are always sexual or flirtatious.
  • They don’t prioritize your pleasure or satisfaction in bed, rather it’s mostly about satisfying their needs.

How to Tell If Someone Is Using You Emotionally

These are the warning signs that someone is using you emotionally:

  • They only come to you when they’re feeling weak or emotionally drained and they need your support.
  • They never seem to reciprocate when you reach out to them for emotional support or when you try to talk about your feelings.
  • They are always playing the victim role and making you feel bad for them.
  • They never seem to acknowledge or appreciate the emotional labor you put into the relationship.

FAQS About Being Used

Q: How do I talk to someone about using me without sounding ungrateful?

A: It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with the person using you, but be diplomatic in your approach. Start by acknowledging some things they’ve done for you, but then calmly explain how you feel used and taken advantage of.

Q: How do I know if someone is using me for my connections?

A: If someone is always asking you for introductions or using your contacts to further their own career, they could be using you. It’s a warning sign if they never follow up or show appreciation for the opportunities you’ve given them.

Q: How do I deal with being used by a close family member ?

A: It’s difficult to deal with being used by a close family member. You could try being honest about how you feel to the family member and see if you can work together to set boundaries. Alternatively, you could continue the relationship but limit your interaction and involvement with them.

Q: Why do people use others?

A: People may use others for various reasons, including: to gain something valuable, to satisfy their needs, to establish their power, or to fill an emotional void.

Q: Why do people tolerate being used?

A: People may tolerate being used due to low self-esteem, fear of abandonment or rejection, guilt, societal pressure, or the belief that keeping the relationship is better than being alone.

Q: Is it better to be alone than being used?

A: Absolutely! Being used leads to nothing but unhappiness and resentment. It’s important to respect yourself and set boundaries to protect your own wellbeing rather than staying in a toxic relationship.


It’s tough to accept that someone may be using you, but it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your interests. By following the warning signs and tips outlined in this article, you can identify and address situations where you are being used. Remember, it is important to value yourself and your happiness, and sometimes that means making difficult choices for your own wellbeing.


  1. Are You Being Used in a Relationship? How to Tell and What to Do. (2019, April 12). Psychology Today.
  2. How To Spot A User: Signs You’re Dating A User | Betterhelp. (2021, April 21).
  3. 5 Warning signs that someone is using you. (2021, August 24).

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