There’s a running joke in our house about people that we’ve helped when they needed us and how they suddenly lost our number when they had what they needed.
The colleague who didn’t have a cent to her name, who’s rent we paid in advance because she didn’t have a place to live after 3 months in our daughter’s room. She left in the middle of the night, leaving us saddled with an apartment we didn’t need!
The newbie who was post – divorce, lonely and struggling to adjust to life in the UAE. We cooked for her, hubby helped move her new furniture into her flat two flights up, drove her all around Al Ain so she could get herself comfortable. She is now avoiding us in supermarkets, and ignoring us in public.
Another lady was a friend of a member of the family. She needed medical attention and was released from her contract at work whilst laid up in hospital. We drove for two hours both ways, three times, to pack up her flat for sending to England. We even sold her car and made sure her valuables were safe. She later accused us of stealing from her, and smeared us with anyone who would care to listen.
Another was a total stranger begging for a bed. I let her bunk on our sofa for three months. She ran up our utilities bill by using an insane amount of water and AC, then sent me a stinking email accusing me of not being real. Go figger! She’s is now telling everyone she knows she owes me an insane amount of money, while trying to hook up with a family member behind my back.
There are many more in this vein. So, you see, I’ve been used many, many times, so I know whereof I speak.
It’s an odd thing knowing people are only talking to you, smiling at you, laughing at your jokes because you can do something for them. Even the perception that you may be able to do something for them is enough to keep them gritting their teeth through your diatribes.
It’s even odder when people realize that while you may be able do something for them, you won’t. Suddenly the lights go out of their faces, they turn their backs on you and you stop mattering. There’s nothing much you can do about people using you( other than being unbearably rude, letting them know you know – but where’s the fun in that?) but it can be an incredibly powerful feeling knowing the game they’re playing, and beating them at it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind. I know why people do it. It’s all about security. Finding it, keeping it, getting to know the people who can provide a sense of it. What’s brought you here is wanting to know when people are using you, right? Well buckle up, cupcake. I’ll even give you your next move.
1. You get invitations to errythang, even stuff you have no interest in attending. They’ll also double check several times whether or not you’re coming. Say you’ll go and cancel last minute. They won’t mind.
2. They’ll pop in unannounced. They want you to know they know where you live. Be afraid. Take the batteries out of the alarm bell. Make sure the doorman lets you know when there’s someone downstairs and head down as they head up.
3. They’ll call you incessantly. If they can’t reach you they text, whatsapp or FB messenger you. If that doesn’t work they call your nearest and dearest. Don’t answer. Pretend your phone is faulty.
4. They’ll want to know all about your problems. They’ll hope you’ll tell them something juicy they can gossip over with their real friends. Feed them false information. Hey, users deserve some joy too!
5. They’ll buy you stuff or bring you things. Beware Romans who bring gifts(or something like that). Get rid of whatever it is asap. Regifting works.
6. They’lltell you all about their family issues, especially the bad stuff. You know more than you care to about their deadbeat brother, damaged sister and deranged mother. They may even cry if you’re lucky! This is a sympathy ploy and gets you to care about their wellbeing. Don’t fall for it!
This may sound incredibly mean – spirited, but you’ve got to look after you and yours. People who are out to use you are never going to be about what’s good for you. It’s all about them. A healthy sense of self preservation will keep them ticking over, looking for the next host they can leech off of.