12 subtle signs someone is taking advantage of your kindness

You’re the type who’s always there for others, aren’t you? But sometimes, do you feel like your kindness is being taken for a ride?

Some people might not even know they’re doing it, while others… well, they might not be so innocent.

So, how can you tell when someone’s capitalizing on your big heart?

In this article, I’m going to share 12 subtle signs that someone might be taking advantage of your kindness.

This isn’t about turning cold or distrusting everyone. It’s about knowing when to hold your ground and taking care of yourself too.

1. They Rarely Reciprocate

You’re always there for them, aren’t you? When they need a shoulder to lean on, when they need help moving, or when they just need someone to vent to— you’re their go-to person.

But what happens when the tables are turned? Are they there for you in the same way?

If your answer is a big ol’ “Nope,” then, my friend, we’re waving a red flag here.

Relationships are about give and take. If you’re always the giver and they’re always the taker, it’s not exactly fair, is it?

Iit’s not about keeping score; it’s about mutual respect and support. If they’re rarely reciprocating your kindness and efforts, it might be a sign that they’re taking advantage of your generosity.

2. They Only Call When They Need Something

Ring, ring! Who’s that? Oh, it’s them… and guess what? They need something. Again.

If your phone only buzzes with their name when they’re in hot water or need a favor, then you might want to reconsider your relationship with them.

It’s great to be a helping hand, but it’s not so great when your role becomes ‘the helper’ and nothing more.

It’s like being a free 24/7 convenience store for them, and you deserve more than that.

Friendship isn’t a one-way street; it’s about sharing, caring, and being there for each other in good times and bad.

If they’re only dialing your digits when they’re in a pickle, it might be a sign they’re taking your kindness for granted

3. They Don’t Respect Your Time

Now, let me tell you a little story about this one. I had a friend who’d always turn up late for our meet-ups, or worse, cancel at the last minute.

At first, I shrugged it off thinking, “Hey, stuff happens.” But it started to become a pattern.

It seemed like my time wasn’t as valuable to them as theirs was to me. I’d plan my day around our meeting, and then I’d either be left waiting or find out they’re not coming at all.

Everybody has the same amount of hours in a day.

If you’re spending your precious time waiting for someone who consistently shows up late or cancels on you without a good reason, it might be a sign that they’re not respecting your time or valuing your friendship as much as they should.

Your time is gold. Don’t let anyone treat it like it’s less. 

4. They Never Apologize or Admit They’re Wrong

Now think about it: does the person you’re dealing with have trouble saying “I’m sorry” or admitting when they’re wrong?

If this is the case, it might not just be a personality quirk; it could be a sign that they’re taking advantage of your kindness.

Your kindness shouldn’t be used as a safety net for someone else’s mistakes.

A healthy relationship requires accountability, and if they can’t own up to their actions, it might be time to reconsider where you stand.

No one’s perfect, but we should all strive to learn from our missteps and make things right when we’ve goofed up!

5. They’re Unappreciative of Your Efforts

There’s something special about the feeling you get when someone genuinely appreciates your efforts.

It’s like a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold day—it just makes you feel good, right? But what happens when that appreciation is missing?

Imagine you’ve gone out of your way to do something nice for them, perhaps you’ve helped them out on a big project or even just lent them an ear when they needed to vent.

You’ve done it out of the goodness of your heart, not expecting anything in return – except maybe a simple ‘thank you’.

But what if that ‘thank you’ never arrives? If they take your efforts for granted and show little to no appreciation, it can hurt.

It’s like they’ve dismissed the value of your kindness and time.

What you do matters. Your kindness is a gift, and if it’s not being appreciated, it might be a sign that they’re taking advantage of you.

Don’t let anyone make you feel less than the wonderful person you are!

6. They Make You Feel Guilty for Saying No

Once, I had this friend who would always ask me for favors. Most of the time, I didn’t mind helping out. But then came a day when I was swamped with my own stuff and just couldn’t lend a hand.

When I told them “No” for the first time, they immediately made me feel guilty about it. They’d say things like, “But you’re my only hope,” or “I thought I could count on you.”

This left me feeling awful, but then I realized something important: it’s okay to say no.

Everyone has their own life to manage and we can’t always be there for everyone else – and that’s perfectly okay!

If someone makes you feel guilty when you can’t or don’t want to do a favor, it’s likely they’re taking advantage of your kindness. It’s your right to say no without feeling guilty about it!

7. They’re Never Around When You’re Happy

Some folks are only around when you’re down because it makes them feel superior. When you’re happy and things are going well, they’re suddenly nowhere to be found.

These people feed off your bad days, but when it comes to celebrating your victories or sheer moments of joy? Crickets. It’s like they’re only interested in being there for you when it suits their ego.

That’s not friendship, and it’s definitely not kindness on their part. It’s manipulative and a clear sign they’re taking advantage of your good nature.

You deserve to have people in your life who are there for the full ride— the ups, the downs, and everything in between. Don’t settle for any less!

8. They Constantly Cross Your Boundaries

Let’s talk about those boundaries. You’ve set them for a reason. They’re like a personal ‘do not cross’ line that helps you maintain your wellbeing and sanity.

But there’s this person who just keeps crossing them. Maybe they’re always asking for favors even when you’ve said you’re busy or maybe they’re sharing your personal secrets with others even when you’ve asked them not to.

If they can’t respect the simple boundaries that you’ve laid out, it may not just be a lack of understanding—it could be a sign that they’re taking advantage of your kindness.

9. They Always Play the Victim

Now, let me share something from my own life. I had a friend who was always playing the victim. No matter what happened, somehow, they were always the one being wronged and never the one at fault.

The more I tried to help, the more they seemed to find new problems. It was like a never-ending cycle of drama and negativity. And you know what? It was exhausting.

I realized that they weren’t looking for solutions or ways to improve their situation; they were more interested in wallowing in their problems and getting attention.

If you have someone who’s always playing the victim and relying on your kindness to validate their victimhood, it might be a sign that they’re taking advantage of you.

Remember, it’s not your job to fix everyone’s problems, especially if they’re not willing to help themselves!

10. They Don’t Celebrate Your Successes

You achieve something big, and you’re on cloud nine. But when you share your happiness with them, they barely acknowledge it, or worse, they seem almost… disappointed?

Success should be celebrated, not downplayed or ignored. If they can’t be happy for you when you’re flying high, it’s a clear sign that they’re taking your kindness for a ride.

11. They Use Emotional Blackmail

It’s a low blow when someone you care about uses your emotions against you.

They might say things like, “If you were really my friend, you’d do this for me,” or “I thought I could trust you.” It’s manipulative and downright unfair.

They’re using your kindness as a weapon against you. And let’s be real here – that’s not okay.

12. They Make You Feel Less Than

You’re kind, caring, and genuinely wonderful. But they make you feel like you’re always falling short. Like no matter what you do, it’s never enough.

This isn’t about you being inadequate; it’s about them taking advantage of your good nature and making you question your self-worth.

Your kindness is a strength, not a weakness. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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