Home  >  My Life  >  Relationships

15 Signs a Friend Is Using You & Draining the Happiness Out of You

If you feel more like a welcome mat than a friend, it could be because your friend is using you. So, here’s how to read the signs a friend is using you.

signs a friend is using you

It’s hard finding good friends. In high school, I was full of friends, but the reality was, most of them weren’t genuine. And it sucks finding out the signs a friend is using you – usually it means hurt.

There were some friends who didn’t show up when I needed them or would go behind my back and sleep with my boyfriend, etc. And these were people in my closest circle.

But, these experiences taught me the red flags of people who use and hurt me. Though I’m a believer that humans are good by nature, there are definitely some bad eggs in the batch. [Read: How to get rid of the toxic friend in your life]

How to tell the signs a friend is using you

Knowing that there are people out there pretending to be your friend isn’t a great feeling. But it helps you pay closer attention to the people you call your friends. If you’ve noticed a friend or two in your group may be using you, it’s time to point it out.

Okay, of course, you should also ditch them and get new friends. But let’s start off with the first step. If you think your friend is using you, it’s time to look at the signs. You shouldn’t continue to surround yourself with people who aren’t genuinely interested in being your friend. It’s time to change.

If you see these signs a friend is using you, it’s time to get new friends.

#1 Your friendship feels like a business transaction. There are some friends who are only there for the good times. They like hanging out with you because there’s something they can use. If your friend is always asking you for money, making you feel more like an ATM machine than a friend, something is up. You shouldn’t feel like you’re a bank, you should feel like a friend. [Read: 10 types of toxic friends to avoid]

#2 They’re holding you back. You may be wanting to lose weight or stop drinking, but your friend isn’t pleased about this. They’re not looking out for your best interests. Instead, they’re holding you back to further their interests.

They don’t want to stop drinking, for example, or change their lifestyle. So, they’ll put you down and make you feel like you’re making a mistake.

#3 You can’t be yourself. This is pretty huge. Of course, you’re not going to be “yourself” when you’re around your grandma or at a job interview. I get you have different sides of yourself that you show when needed.

But around your friends, you need to be yourself. I mean, that’s why you have friends. If not, who else can you be completely free around? [Read: 12 ways to stop negative people from stealing your energy]

#4 You do all the work. When it comes to this friendship, you’re the one putting the effort in. You make them food when they come over, buy them things, call them to hang out. You do it all. They never call or text you unless there is something they need from you. Other than that, you’re the one emotionally investing in the relationship – not them.

#5 They’ve talked about you behind your back. You’ve heard it through the grapevine that they don’t think highly of you. When you’re not around, they’re the first ones to talk poorly about you. A friend doesn’t bash the people they love and care about to others.

#6 You feel like you’re being manipulated. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you have a horrible feeling in your stomach when you’re around them. But one thing is for sure, you feel as though you’ve become a worse person since they started hanging around. You’re always apologizing for everything, and they’ll play hot and cold with you. [Read: Emotional manipulation and 14 ways people mess with your head]

#7 They come in and out of your life. They’re not very consistent when it comes to hanging around. Rather, they just seem to pop in and out of your life when it’s convenient from them. But no matter the distance, your friend should be a presence in your life. Whether it’s by Skyping or texting, they should be around.

#8 They know very little about you. At the end of the day, your friend doesn’t actually know much about you. You have never had deep conversations unless it’s about them. They don’t ask about your personal life, only the things that affect them. If your friend doesn’t pay attention to you, it’s safe to say, they aren’t a friend. 

#9 You can’t count on them. What’s the point of a friendship if you can’t count on them when it really matters? Maybe you just graduated from university or had someone in your family pass away. Your “friend” was nowhere to be found. But… that’s weird, isn’t this your friend? In the good and bad times, your friend should be there, no matter what. [Read: 15 signs you have shitty friends and need new ones]

#10 They guilt trip you. If you don’t do what they say, not only will they become angry, they’ll try to guilt trip you. Okay, there are emergencies that may need attention, but when your friend needs attention, it’s about something pointless. And if you don’t have the time or don’t want to help them out, you’ll get a big guilt trip in return. 

#11 You don’t know why you’re friends. When you really think about it, there’s nothing about them you find redeeming. One of the clearest signs a friend is using you if you constantly feel bad about the person you’ve become when you’re around them. They’re always asking for favors but never care about your needs. You actually don’t know why you put up with them.

If you’re having these thoughts, it’s a clear sign you need to end the friendship. [Read: How to end a friendship when they do nothing but hold you back] 

#12 They control everything. When it comes to hanging out, even though you’re the one who initiates it, they control what happens. They decide what you are going to do or what you’re going to eat. This is because they don’t care about your feelings. They’re concerned about what will make them happy, not you.

#13 You never argued. You can’t actually remember a time where you two had an argument. Now, I should say fighting is bad, and it is, but it can be constructive. All good friendships have come with their fair share of arguments. If you never disagreed about anything, maybe the relationship is missing depth.

#14 They’re angry when you succeed. Maybe you won an award or received a promotion at work. Of course, as a friend, you can be a little jealous, but you’re obviously happy for your friend as well. But if this person doesn’t want to share and celebrate your success, they’re not a friend. Your friends should be your biggest fans, not people you should feel ashamed around. [Read: How to be a good friend – The BFF code all friends should follow]

#15 You feel it. Deep, deep down inside of you, you feel something is really off. When you’re around them, you don’t feel good about yourself and when you go home, you feel used. Hello! Wake up! If you’re having these vibes, then, of course, you should listen to it. This is your intuition telling you to cut the toxic friendship.

[Read: How to stop being a doormat that people use]

After reading these signs a friend is using you, what do you think? Do you think your friend is using you? If so, it’s time to stand up against them and tell them how you feel. 

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
Follow Natasha on