• Keeping Friends

A friend who uses people

Published: May 6, 2016 | By | 11 Replies Continue Reading
A woman feels like her friend uses people for what she can get from them.


Hi Irene,

I have a friend from a country in Eastern Asia. She is the most “grabby” person I have ever seen. She wants anything at my house that I’m throwing out or selling. She uses people for what she can get from them. My brother is an attorney she was always trying to get free legal services from him through me.

She invited me out to dinner the other evening at a 4-star restaurant with another girl who is a notary. She brought all her paperwork to the restaurant and asked the woman to notarize her stuff in the middle of our dinner. Of course she didn’t even return the favor by buying dinner for her friend.

She is cheap and won’t pay for popcorn at the movies but eats mine. I’m just about ready to dump her and I’m tired of hearing its cultural. She was wonderful to me after surgery and came over with dinner but there is always a price to pay. Now she drops by unannounced and looks around to see what she can “have” for free. I’m sick of it.

Signed, Danielle


Hi Danielle,

When a friend comes from a different cultural background, it can be difficult to distinguish whether certain attitudes and behaviors are cultural—or whether they are part and parcel of the individual’s personality.

In this case, although your friend was wonderful after your surgery, you seem to feel that she is consistently too aggressive and pushy for your tastes. Whether cross-cultural or not, friendships are voluntary relationships that should be rewarding rather than stressful and uncomfortable.

Perhaps, you need to step back from this friendship and spend less time with this woman and/or create some boundaries (e.g. by telling her that she shouldn’t stop by without calling first) so that the relationship feels more comfortable.

Hope this is helpful.

Best, Irene

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Comments (11)

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  1. Marlee says:

    Would there be any benefit to telling this person how offensive she has been? I’ve heard many people say “Oh they’ll figure it out,” but that never seems to be the case. Would being honest with her be beneficial to both sides?

  2. Tanja says:

    I think what good is a friend you can not use. Everyone uses everyone and if you can’t use them then why bother being friends. BUT, it is a give and take. You have to allow the person to use you back as well. If you feel it has become one sided then I would distance myself.

  3. Nadine says:


    I’ve had two former friends like this. One friendship, was for over 20 yrs. Of course this friendship started while we were in college, and I because of my immaturity at the time, knew nothing of boundaries. But as time passed, as you have stated about your friend……she’d come to my house and if she was on to the fact I was going to get rid of something, be it clothes or anything else, I started to feel as if she was just on the look out to see what I may give her. She even went as far as admiring certain items of clothing in my closet, and suggesting that the day I wanted to dispose of it, to let her know.

    During this friendship I had introduced her to a circle of friends of mine. Later she started to poach some of them, making me feel left out, when she’d formed some friendships with some of them. This continued on for some time, before I finally could put a name to it, like boundaries, poaching, etc. In the end she committed a total blunder, but I won’t go into that. I ended the friendship finally about 14 yrs., ago and haven’t looked back. Sure if you’ve known her for a long time, etc., it may be hard for you to do.
    But if it’s making you feel used, as my friend made me feel it’s probably time to reconsider if this is a real friendship.


  4. Susan M. says:

    You have a right to your cultural beliefs/standing. So does this other person. However, whatever this person’s motivation is, there ARE consequences to her behavior! She is an adult, capable of changing how she lives her life, if she care to do so. This is tough (how ell I know!) but I think you need a break from her!

  5. Ariane says:

    Distance yourself for sure.

    Maybe she is unaware of how terrible her behavior is? Maybe if someone like yourself told her about her behavior?

    If it’s a “cultural thing” then you should remind her she’s in the U.S. now and no longer in her country and needs to adjust her behavior.

  6. Bon says:

    I find it hard to keep Freinds in my life, I like to help Freinds, but when I give my help it get thrown in my face.
    For example did not see my X Freinds for years all of a sudden she turns up on the scene.
    Pretending to be the nice person, don’t get me wrong she tries to help at the being by bringing my daughter home from school, I used to give her tenner a week but i her kid stuff to oh and a tablet what she distroyed, there was one thing she hated my daughter and when I caught her family member in the wrong I had a mouthful of abuse in my face, one day I found something out which is true cause I watched how they spoke to her and I was told the rest of the story by her, got her texting saying she’s not taking her anymore I know why I stopped the money as I took her daughter to school when she could not be arsed to get out of bed oh and I’m not giving her enough money,I could write a list especially the last thing on holiday lent money and with in half asking for more, I know I was used but I’ve learned to be by myself and look after your family which are your true Freinds.

  7. Amy F says:

    Why are you friends with someone whom you don’t seem to like or have any respect? Even though she was nice to you after surgery, you feel like it was at a price. I feel like I’m missing something.

  8. LauraSL says:

    Some people are takers and do things most of us don’t even have on our radar. If she shows up at your house unannounced tell her you’re on your way out, have to take a conference call, etc. and can’t let her in. Do it as many times as necessary and she’ll move onto someone else. She’ll probably get annoyed that she burnt gas wasting her time coming over;)

  9. Denise says:

    Danielle, This is a relatively easy fix as I agree with the others that distance is best. Gradually create more distance, don’t accept unplanned visits and express discomfort when behavior makes you uncomfortable.

  10. Sandra says:

    Danielle, I’ve had friends who’ve made me feel “used” but I can’t say it’s ever been because of a “cultural difference.” In fact, a couple of my immigrant friends are the most generous friends I have.

    There are many ways to use friends. Some friends use others for professional or social gain, while others simply try to get free meals or free stuff from their friends. Either way, “users” always leave me feeling drained and empty, and I’ve learned to avoid them. Sounds like you need to distance yourself from this friendship, especially if there’s no other joy in it.

  11. LATASHA says:

    I don’t think it’s a Cultural or “Asian Thing,” i think its a “Gimme Thing.” When there was a death in my family a woman who wee knew was there for the duration of the funeral. After, she seemed to have the same attitude that you are experiencing now, one of unspoken entitlement. My advice is to keep your Distance & Elevation.

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