• Keeping Friends

I feel like my friend is using me

Published: February 17, 2014 | By | 13 Replies Continue Reading
If you feel a friend is using you, you probably are allowing her to and need to set boundaries.


Hi Irene,

I have this friend (she calls herself my best friend) which I guess sometimes is true. She is there for me when I needed her and vice versa. But lately it has begun to feel like my friend is using me.

Like for instance: I have a car and my driver’s license she will constantly calls me for lifts down town (It’s a 10min walk) and when I ask for fuel money she’s always like “You shouldn’t ask for fuel money from your friends, especially your best friend”.

Now when it comes to my smokes, I don’t mind sharing them with people if we are hanging out because I know next time we hang out and I don’t have any, they will shout me. But the past 4 days in a row she has rung me up in the morning and expected me to drive over to her place and give her some smokes. She never has them because she gets paid fortnightly instead of just buying a pouch of tobacco (which does last her the 2 weeks or close to it) she just buys like a 20pc of tailors. When I did suggest that she buy a pouch because it will last longer she just said, “Nah its okay, I can just scab off you”.

I have recently started studying university via distance education, and working full time so obviously I’m not left with as much free time as I used too. I got abused the other day because I had been “avoiding her” and I “wasn’t really at work” and if I tell her I don’t have smokes “stop lying you just don’t want to give me any”.

I’m the kind of person who hates any kind of conflict but this really has to stop. I know she’s lonely, she pregnant and her boyfriend works all the time. But she has to stop relying on me all the time. If i try and bring these issues up with her, she goes off at me.

P.S. We are both 19 years old.

Signed, Linda


Hi Linda,

It’s understandable that you would feel “used” if a friend to constantly asking for favors. However, this situation appears to be your fault as much as your friend’s.

Think about it: If you are reluctant to ever say no, your friend may not even realize she is asking too much of you. And if you continue to do things that you don’t want to do for her, your friend may not take you seriously when you say “no” because she knows you’ll cave in at the end.

Some people are conflict-aversive and try to avoid disagreements at any cost. This may stem from them trying (too) hard to please others (in essence, being too nice). They may mistakenly believe that friends, especially best friends, can never say “no” to one another. This is untrue.

For friendships to endure, friends need to be able to communicate their needs and set comfortable boundaries. Otherwise, the person who never says “no” is likely to wind up feeling angry and frustrated, much as you are probably feeling right now. Feeling used by a friend all or much of the time can undermine a relationship entirely.

It sounds like you aren’t ready to give up on this friendship so my advice would be to set some healthy boundaries that will help it survive. You need to be kind, yet firm, in explaining when your friend is asking too much of you. You need to be able to say “no” when you want to. Hopefully, she’ll respond to your needs because she cares about you as much as you care about her.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Creating and maintaining boundaries, KEEPING FRIENDS

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  1. On Toxic Relationships | Bloggin' with Friends | March 2, 2014
  1. Lonely Guy says:

    I am also tired of people continually using me. I think i had friends, but i realized in time that they only called me over to make fun of me, to tag me along if they had less people, to use me.
    Even in social groups, like Instagram, we have a group, but whenever i post something funny or random in that group, i never get a reply, but as soon as someone else posts a funny picture, even if it isn’t funny, they will get replies immediately in that group.
    I left that group as i noticed it happened to me frequently. No body every replied to my text messages in group messages, they read my message, and then ignore it.
    I left that group, i stopped hanging out with those suckers.

    I am definitely looking for good friends, who will not use me and then ignore me.
    Friends with whom i can share a good laugh, conversation, and hangout and enjoy a good time with.
    Not friends who make fun of me, or use me, and then ignore me.

    Screw those people, i am better off being a loner than having people who use me for their own benefits.

    I just hope that i make true good friends in life, because being a loner for a long time is bad not only for our brain, but for our body over all.

  2. Huong says:

    “My own friend from my job place his name is Ryan told me that he like his own boyfriend much more better than liking me as his own friend that he already met and knows me well and he was like deciding that he doesn’t really want to be my friend when I had already ask him if he wants to be my friend again and I already gave him one more last chance too also to be friends with me again but he still like saying no he don’t want to be my friend anymore so I also decided like fine with me I don’t want to be his friend anymore either and he already make me get very upset with him too also and now I won’t even want to say hi to him and not smiling with him no more because me and him our friendship relationship is over already and I am just going to have to walk away from him and stay out of his life and business from him for good and I don’t even want to care too much about him though either and he is starting to acted like one of the players people like two people hates each other so real and not fake or even pulling a joke on each other too also because all of my own other friends were always nice and respect to me like always better than my ex friend name Ryan and I don’t even care also if he wants to spend some good time with his own boyfriend than just to chill and hang out with me during work time because he will never ever be going to hang out with me and even chilling with me like two friends should be together and he also don’t even understand what the word friends really mean to him too also and I told him to go talk with his own mother and ask his own mother what the word friends mean in a dictionary part of the question really is though to him so me and my ex friend from my job place name Ryan are not friends no more but I will go find some more better people in my job place much more better than him anyways ok so anyways thank you for your supportive and I’d really appreciate it though too also ok bye!!”

  3. bobby says:

    not only friend ship.every ship is money ship. be careful dont ask small favours. dont trust anybody.or else you will get a big hole to your pocket and also to your life. remember dont rely on anybody as possible as you can.

  4. Sabrinna says:

    ‘I refuse to be party to you harming the fetus that will be your child. Do not ask me again. I feel strongly about this.’

    Practice saying this until you feel ready to say it to her. Also prepare for her to argue the point.

    ‘If you choose to harm your child I can’t stop you but know that I oppose it. My morals and ethics are not negotiable.’

    Be prepared to leave if she keeps arguing the point and say why you’re doing it. ‘I’m your friend and you are crossing my boundaries. I’ll come back after you’ve had time to think on it.’

  5. lottie says:

    Yes she sounds like a spoilt immature child who is pregnant.Unfortunately it is not a good combination children breeding children.

  6. Amy says:

    I realize this wasn’t the purpose of the letter, but doesn’t anyone remember that PREGNANT LADIES SHOULDN’T SMOKE? It’s really really bad for the fetus. Maybe that will be excuse you can use to help you set boundaries for the person who really should learn about boundaries before she becomes a parent.

    • Decoda says:

      Thank you for replying to my letter. I completely understand that pregnant ladies shouldn’t smoke. I’ve tried denying giving her any smokes because she is pregnant and even her boyfriend has begged her time and time again to quit for the sake of their baby but she won’t hear a word of it, we both get told the same thing “my mum smoked through her pregnancy with me and I turned out fine”. To be completely honest her head is in the clouds when it comes to her baby she is convinced its all fun and games and I’m worried for her and the kid when she does have it and gets slapped with reality that baby’s aren’t just toys you can put away when you are bored with them they actually need constant care. But I will take all this into consideration, thank you again.

      • Alberta says:

        The unborn child is already fortunate to have someone like you watching out for him/her – the smoking thing is tough because only the smoker can quit – you can’t quit for them. It is a harder habit to break than heroin I’ve heard – hope she will lose the craving for cigs and quit on her own. All the best you are a good friend to your friend and her baby.

  7. Amy says:

    Irene is right, if you keep saying yes, when you want to say no, you aren’t setting boundaries and your actions and feelings don’t mesh. You can’t blame your friend for asking if you’re always saying yes.
    If she is your best friend, she will respect your boundaries, your time and your expenses. A real friend would want an equal relationship, not one where you’re constantly putting yourself out and she isn’t reciprocating.
    For me, I feel better about my relationships when I’m able to be honest about my feelings, and tell the other person if something is bothering me. Of course I sometimes extend myself when I’d rather stay home if a friend is truly in need, because I know I can ask when I really need something. If it’s constant asking and never getting back, that’s not a relationship I want to continue.
    Good communication is the cornerstone of successful relationships, whether familial, personal or professional, so this is an excellent opportunity to develop and practice these skills.

  8. wendy says:

    Hi Linda,
    Sounds like your friend is just bone idle lazy.You could tell her the Bank Of Linda has closed down and do not carry spare cash with you.I hope for your sake she goes away QUICK. Think for a moment what will happen when the baby arrives,will you be dial a ride. You dont need her and you dont want such an idle hanger on.Next time she asks any favours tell her that you will get back to her but are busy at the moment.Then DONT. Forget her ,you are being used she wont change,you can.Think, why should you keep helping her out financially with nothing in it for you.You are not running a bank.Good luck.Wendy x

  9. Alberta says:

    It sounds like a good lesson for you is to learn to say NO without feeling guilty for saying No. This is the crux of how you will get manipulated in other relationships if you don’t learn this important lesson.

    A book that could help you to learn to say No without feeling guilty – is called The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker. This book will help you to see the context of situations and manipulation tactics that you can spot. This deals with male/female victim relationships however you can substitute she where it is written he. This book will help you to say No to not only this friend but to other people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

    With your friend, you can start today by saying No when she asks for cigarettes – you don’t have to be mean – just matter of fact “can I borrow some…” “No, I don’t have any to lend”

    If she starts freaking out and calling you selfish and lazy or any other name in the book because you said no – that is her choice to behave this way. Say goodbye and hang up the phone, walk away from the tantrum. These types want you to think that THEIR behaviour is YOUR fault – especially when it is crappy behaviour – which is how weak people try and control others.

  10. tanja says:

    I personally feel that all friends use each other. A friend once told me when I was complaining about the same thing with another friend: what’s the point in having a friend you can’t use? I thought about it and thought exactly. You should be able to get favours out of friendship. I mean I use some of my friends because they make me laugh and then there are others who I know may not be sensitive but I call them when I know they will take me out and make me laugh. When I need a good cry, I call the friend who doesn’t like going out but will have a good cry with me.

    If you look at friendship like that then you will never feel like friends are using you. I mean you be there for them when you can and when you can’t you just say so. But, ever since once of my friends explained it to me like that, I have never felt like someone was using me, but now I am aware when I use other people for their certain unique qualities and talents. When I can give a friend something I will and when I can’t because of other obligations I will just say so.

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