People in healthy relationships expect to receive and return favors in roughly equal amounts. However, a moocher habitually takes more than he gives. You might start feeling used if you’re constantly going out of your way to accommodate or provide for this person, without being appreciated or repaid. Feeling that someone is taking advantage of you can lead to resentment, which can damage your relationship, so pay attention to the signs before it's too late.
Convinces You to Pay
A moocher asks you to cover her part of the bill, not just once, but multiple times. She always has an excuse, whether she forgot her wallet at home or she promises to pay you back when she gets her next paycheck. You may especially find yourself in this situation if you make more money than she does, noted Jeanne Fleming, author of "Isn't It Their Turn to Pick Up the Check?" in an interview on National Public Radio. A moocher will take advantage of the wage gap, even if she is capable of covering her own expenses, because she assumes that her unpaid loans cause you no inconvenience. Before lending a suspected moocher money, ask yourself whether she truly needs it, suggests Fleming.
What's Yours Is His
Moochers make themselves welcome to your things, with or without your permission. You will find a moocher helping himself to the food in your fridge or borrowing your office supplies without asking you first. He has no sense of boundaries and acts entitled to your property, according to therapist Deborah Mecklinger, in her article, “Lighten Your Load: Strategies For Dealing With Freeloading Friends and Family." Set limits and be clear about what is not acceptable when it comes to your belongings.
Relies on Expected Favors
Some moochers take advantage of your kindness and eventually expect you to do whatever they ask. She may word her requests as if you have no choice but to grant them. For example, “Can you babysit my kids? I already told them to go to your house straight from school. Just order pizza for dinner.” Once you have done the initial favor, she may start to assume that you will be willing and available for all future requests. What started out as one generous ride home may turn into a daily routine.
Be wary of a friend, family member or partner who asks for a lot but never reciprocates. A moocher does not return the same amount of time, energy or money he has drained from you. He only comes to you when he needs something and is not available when you ask for similar favors. When you realize that the relationship is one-sided, it is time to stand up for yourself. Say no when his requests are inconvenient for you and repeat your refusal if he continues to ask.
Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".