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From books like the 48 Laws of Power to cliché sayings that reference the art of getting what you want, some have immediately come up with the ideal that you have to hurt or use people to get ahead.  While you can’t always be Miss Nice Girl in every situation, there is a clear difference between capitalizing on opportunities and using people and taking their kindness for granted.

It’s human nature to operate out of a self-driven nature. If someone will let you borrow the money, indefinitely, why not take your time paying it back? Or if the guy who has a huge crush on you will shower you with lavish gifts, why not accept them although you know you have no interest in him whatsoever? All of these things may seem harmless, but are in fact ways of using people to your advantage. That’s not cool.

While you can sit and attempt to justify reasons for these actions, try explaining them to karma, who requires no explanations, just payback. It’s really as simple as the golden rule when deciding if you are a user. Ask yourself one simple, yet effective question, would I want this done to me?

You Stretch The Truth To Get What You Want

Some people consider little white lies harmless; but in actuality they’re still lies. Telling little white lies to get what you want can categorize you as a user.  This also means you find yourself blurting out lies to change someone’s opinion of you or to alter what someone does for you. You make your circumstances seem harder than they really are and take people on a guilt trip so they can throw some money your way. You’re pretty much a shapeshifter–you constantly change your demeanor and your stories depending on the circumstances.

You Justify Your Manipulating Ways By Someone Else’s Actions

When you do something to someone that could hurt them but in turn be advantageous to you, you justify your actions by thinking of something they have, or someone else has done in the past to you. Whether it is the ruins of a bad breakup that you didn’t want to see happen or a friendship that is now defunct, you now live by the “get them before they get me” way of thinking. Even if it were years ago, your justification somehow makes you feel better about your ‘using ways’ and the ways in which you treat the men and “close” girlfriends left in your life.

You Become Really Nice When You Want Something From Someone

You’re typically rude or indifferent 16 hours out of a 24 hour day (you’re usually sleep the other eight hours). However, when you want something from someone, you’re comparable to Mother Teresa, if only for a day. You come around someone’s way, cheesing and trying to get a brief 411 on what has been going on with them since you haven’t spoken in a while (since the last time you needed something). This attitude eventually leads to the joke being on you as people will soon catch on to your manipulative ways.

You Take Advantage Of Relationships When You Know The Person Wants More

This is probably the most common way of using someone. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of good guys out there. It’s unfortunate that some women take advantage of their kindness. If you take gifts, money, or even use someone for their temporary company, although you have no interest in them despite their serious interest in you, you’re definitely using them in some capacity. Milking their admiration of you as an opportunity to get a few bills paid,clothing, free dinners and more when you know you’re not even trying to feel something for him is a bit on the bogus side.

You Always Need A Favor, But Never Reciprocate One In Return

You need to borrow a few dollars. You need a ride. Or maybe even just a listening ear. This would be totally fine if only you returned the favor to someone else. Users are selfish, and a majority of the time, only think of themselves. But when others need them they are hard to get in touch with or like to play unavailable to avoid a task they would prefer not to do. If you always need a favor but are nowhere to be found when someone else needs you, you’re definitely a user.

You Don’t Associate With People Unless They Can Do Something For You

From getting into the hottest parties to getting the hook-up at some of your favorite department stores, you’re usually not associates with anyone based on the mere fact that they’re a nice person. They’ve got to provide some sort of benefit to you in order to gain or maintain your friendship. If this person can get you that new Tory Burch bag for the low low or they have the hookup on how to get in that hot new restaurant in town, then you’re ringing their phone like crazy. But if not, you might ignore their phone call, and when you see them on the street, you act like you don’t know them. That’s just not right…

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