There are productive ways to confront someone who been been using you over the course of your friendship. Below are some helpful tips to help end the cycle of exploitation.
- Stay Calm:Be on guard without being defensive. Anger keeps you from being levelheaded, and that might be a part of your friend’s plan. Try not to call your friend’s character into attention. For example, instead of calling them a “liar” say that you “disagree with their position.” Adopt a global perspective, and examine the situation from all angles.
- Resist/Be Direct:Stop from being baited any further. Inform your friend that you have noticed an ongoing pattern in the way they treat you. Allow them a chance to clearly articulate their thoughts and intentions on the matter.
- Stick Up for Yourself:Be firm, trust your gut, and don’t lend excuses or justify your reasoning behind declining to help with any more favors.
- Deploy Consequences:It may become necessary to determine and assert certain consequences if the perpetrator refuses to accept “no” for an answer and/or insists on continuing to violating your boundaries. Effectively communicating consequences for violations can help disarm the manipulator and lead them towards positive behavioral changes.
Sometimes you just have to say “No”
There are scenarios where the problem between you and your friend is simply a matter of miscommunication. Sometimes friends don’t intentionally use you; they just get used to hearing you say yes all the time, so they ask for things and might not be mindful about it.
It takes courage to say no and speak your truth, but you’ll always feel at peace with yourself when you do. Being able to firmly say no and mean it will also build your confidence and will prevent you from being used in the future.
Letting go of a bad friend
After you’ve confronted your exploitive friend and identified their behavior sometimes it is necessary to release yourself from the relationship completely.
- Realize That It Will Be a Process: The truth is breaking the mental, physical, or emotional hold that somebody has on you is not always easy. They didn’t respect you in the past so why would they now? Prepare for some pushback as you distance yourself.
- End the Relationship Directly: If you can, avoid having your words misconstrued and used against you by having the conversation in person or over the phone. Ask your friend not to contact you in a serious, straightforward manner.
- Don’t Argue / Avoid the Guilt Trips: A part of refusing to buy-in to the toxic dynamic is by not arguing or fighting with the manipulator. Avoid falling into a trap by restating your boundaries, and making it less attractive to continuously pursue you.
- Create Distance:Give yourself some space to get use to being away from the person. Wait a few days or weeks before responding to calls and texts, and disregard personal invitations. Get involved in activities that they are less likely to be involved in. If mutual friends inquire about your behavior, just say you have been busy. You don’t have to cut the person off completely, and it is okay to be cordial and make small-talk if you happen to run into them.