How can you tell if you are Being Used?

At work, in business or in any relationship it is important to make sure that you are not being taken advantage of. This is either by not paying you for your work or not mentioning your contribution in the final product.

Most times you can get an idea of who you are dealing with by the way they behave through the process. Typically there will be

Bad Communication

You may be given an incomplete picture of the situation and there may be some important elements to do in the assignment missing. These components, may miraculously appear when it is time to present the work and via a contribution from the person that gave you half the information.

Sometimes they will choose not to communicate at all or communicate when they need something or want to ask for a favour. Beware of this type of person that never engages with you on a regular and more meaningful way but just takes advantage of your skills or resources.

Inconsistent Behavior

Some people are very good at switching roles and this may not be bad. It can however be bad if that person switches between being friendly to distant, depending on whom they see around them or whether they need something from you.

When the person is inconsistent in their behaviour and you never know who you are going to engage with on any given day and depending on where you are or whom you are with, be careful. They are using you as the need or situation arises.

Sometimes the person may only be interested in you because of what you can do for them, rather than valuing you for whom you are. And it can be clearly so if, they do not return the favour or do not offer to help you in return. Or simply disappear when you need them the most.

This disappearing after they get what they want may be in the form of not answering your call or becoming distant once they have received what they wanted from you, instead of maintaining and growing the relationship.

Manipulative Behaviours

This person may not take your emotions or needs into consideration, and may prioritize their own interests over yours. As soon as you have an emergency, they will have a bigger one. As soon as you have good news they will have better news.

They may ask for more and more favours without taking into consideration your situation or feelings. And each time you find your plans are changed to accommodate theirs. This person will find it easy to guilt-trip or manipulate you into doing something for them, rather than making a clear and respectful request.

Using guilt or manipulation is a sure sign that you are being used and that this person is disrespecting you and does not consider you to have boundaries. They may ignore or dismiss your boundaries by asking for you to do things for them in your free time or when you are clearly not able to.

Also, if they are always probing and trying to get personal information that you are uncomfortable with sharing and always in your business be careful: especially when they never share any meaningful personal information with you.

Kwachalelo

A Zambian site sharing quick read articles around work, money and adulting life with selective interviews and quotes.
The founder, editor and lead writer who left university with a good grasp of public administration, economics, money, banking and international relations is also qualified in journalism and creative writing. She has been published in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and has been featured in several local and international publications.
An avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list ) she often tweets in poetry and short prose @kwachalelo