We like to think the best of people, it's a blessing and a curse. The harsh reality is that there are unfortunately toxic people out there who will use others solely for their own benefit. We think these people are our friends until the eye-opening moment where we realize how terribly one-sided our friendships have really been. These users took to Reddit and Quora to share their stories. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I had known Michelle since childhood. She was always a bit snobbish and was desperate to be part of the in-crowd in high school, but they wanted little to do with her, put off by her superior attitude. I never realized that she only hung out with me because she didn’t have anything else to do until after high school. We would make plans to hang out together, but if something better came along, she would ditch me. It was like everyone could see that she was a bad friend except for me.
She changed even further when she met a nice guy and decided to settle down with him. Everything revolved around her fiancé, maybe because she had never had a real boyfriend before. I don’t know. All I knew was that she stopped texting me to hang out and when I texted her, she was always busy. I was invited to the wedding and I went solo as I did not have a date at the time. The bridal side of the wedding party consisted of her sister and her two gay guy friends. One of those friends later told me that they were only in the wedding party because she wanted to make a statement.
I had a good time chatting with her family and intended to leave the wedding at about 11 pm to go back to my hotel room. Michelle came up to me at 10:30 and asked if I would drive her and her new husband to their lodging for the night. I’m the kind of person who would never leave a friend high and dry, so I agreed to drive her and her husband to wherever they needed to go. I went out to my car and made sure there was room for extra passengers. Then I went back inside to wait for them.
12:30 am passed.
Then 1:00 am. The two gay guys drove back to the hotel and texted me to tell me to drive safe as it had gotten foggy.
2:00 am came and at this time, most of the guests had left.
3:00 am, I’m assisting in the clean-up. Meanwhile, Michelle and her siblings are singing along to Michelle’s iPod (she had been too cheap to get a DJ). As I helped her dad take out the garbage, he looks at me with pity in his eyes and he tells me, 'You’re a good friend, Ashley.'
At 4:00 am, the bride and groom are finally ready to call it a night. I drove them to their lodging, about a half-hour out of my way, and then went back to my hotel.
Michelle didn’t contact me again for months and any texts I sent her were either ignored or rejected.
A few months after I started dating my now-husband, we went to visit a different friend and she was there too. She was very rude to my boyfriend. We all knew each other in high school and she scorned him because he was a geek back then. He wasn’t popular.
After that, we had little contact and she never offered a ‘congratulations’ when I got engaged. I would’ve thought that she would’ve liked the way he proposed as he used a Harry Potter wand and both Michelle and I had been huge fans of the series. But she said nothing.
I saw her once in the spring time, before I sent out my invitations. She was helping her grandmother clean up her yard as I was driving by with my fiancé. I pulled over. I had a nice chat with her grandmother, but Michelle wouldn’t look me in the eye and shut down any conversation I attempted to have with her. Finally, my fiancé urged me to go, so we continued driving to my parents’ place. As we are there, my fiancé tells my mom about the exchange.
'She was trying her heart out to talk to Michelle and that witch just ignored her.'
My mom agreed that she had always disliked Michelle for the way she always treated me.
I was slowly opening my eyes to who Michelle really was. I debated even inviting her to my wedding. I decided to be the bigger person and put the invite in the mail. The next day, my maid of honor, who also knew Michelle since childhood, asked if I was inviting Michelle. Apparently Michelle told her that even if she wasn’t invited, she would crash my wedding. I said that I sent her an invitation, so that dashed her plans of making a scene. Michelle texted me and told me she would be coming to the wedding.
I also invited Michelle’s parents to my wedding and about two months before my wedding, her mom said, 'Thank you, but we are going to be away that weekend. We have to go clean up Michelle’s grandpa’s old cabin. It’s been eleven years since he passed and my brother and I have finally made plans to do it now. I will send my card with Michelle. Have a great day and congratulations!'
Five days before the wedding, we are getting the final numbers for the caterer. I texted Michelle to confirm that she and her husband were still intending on coming as I didn’t have an official RSVP.
She texted me back, 'That was the plan, however last minute plans were made to go through some of my grandpa’s things, which I should really be part of. I meant to text you earlier than today.'
Reading that text brought back every single excuse she had ever given me when she had something better come along whenever we had made plans to hang out or do something. I knew very well that the plans to go sort through her grandpa’s things were not last minute. I knew very well that had I not texted her, she would not have texted me and would’ve just been a no-show and I would’ve had to pay for the uneaten food.
I finally realized that she was not a friend to me. She would use me unless something better came along. Suddenly her father’s pity for me after Michelle’s wedding made sense. He knew that she was using me and I was too naive to see it. He knew that she regarded me as a last resort, someone who would always help her out unquestioningly, but was not worthy of her time.
I texted back, 'Do what you’ve got to do. I get it.'
And I finally did. I finally knew what kind of person she was.
It was the last thing I ever texted or said to her. That was three years ago.
In that time, I’ve gone on to have a sweet baby boy. She got divorced because she was cheating on her husband. I guess something better came along there too."
"When she dumped me via Facebook after me helping her through thyroid cancer. Doctors, tests, getting medicine, was there 100% for before/during/after her after surgery as well.
Amazing how thinking you found someone you could spend your life with and for the first time wanting to do anything/everything to help them get better, with them supposedly returning those feelings...
Magically overnight you find out you are just a band-aid to them, and meant to be thrown away when you are no longer needed.
Messed me up... probably still to this day even after several years. That ever present feeling that the only person I can trust when it comes to relationships is myself."
"On a Saturday, the phone rang waking me up around 7:30am after working 18 hours and just getting in bed around 3am. It was my oldest daughter asking for my gas card so she could tank up her husband’s car for work. I’ve always viewed them as a struggling family and I try to help as much as I could afford. I told her I was placing the card under the front door mat, so please do not ring the doorbell. I also instructed her to return card and receipt under mat.
When I woke up, retrieved card and reviewed receipt, I was shocked. She tanked up 3 cars, probably hers, her husband’s and my granddaughter’s, and 5 large gas cans probably for their 28 ft boat.
That was my moment for realizing I was being used. I was working long hours covering 24/7 operations, getting little sleep; and, my daughter, who is a housewife, is running free all day and pulling from me for money. I had to find out via Facebook that they even had a boat, since I have yet to get an invitation to go out on the boat. Once she was aware that I was looking at her recreational extravagance via Facebook, she changed her settings, blocking me.
I told my husband, that was the last time I was providing any financial support to my daughter. He said it’s about time I woke-up and realized that my daughter was taking advantage of me. He recognized the abuse, but he also observed how happy I seemed to be providing help.
I wrote a letter to my daughter letting her know the ‘train to the ATM just stopped running’ and shared how I felt from her abuse.
Next, I retired after working 46 years and now I have to continuously monitor how, when and on what I spend my limited funds. Now it’s my time to have recreational fun!"
"I'm a woman, and when I was in high school, a guy friend of mine invited me to a cookout his family was having one Saturday. Fine, why not? He was nice, cookouts are nice, so I said sure.
He picks me up and we show up at his grandparents' house, and it's packed. Everyone in the family - aunts, uncles, cousins, steps - is there, and they are THRILLED to meet me. Everyone comes up to give me hugs and to chat, they've heard so much about me, how cute we are together - and I'm like, what? I smile and hug, and play along, but I'm so lost in all this. They're so nice, though, so I had lunch, talked with everyone, we took pictures, it was fine, if a little unnerving. Eventually, he took me home and while we hung out in the same group at school, we never went out as a couple like that again.
Fast-forward to a few years later when I'm in college. Word gets to me through my friends that this guy has just 'come out' as gay and has a boyfriend. And suddenly, all those cook-out memories flood back and now make sense - I had been his BEARD! He apparently had been having a tough time in high school and so brought me along to the cookout - which was really a FAMILY REUNION to divert any thinking about his orientation for a while.
It was a total A-ha moment, but after thinking about it, I really didn't mind. If he needed to use me to gain some time to sort himself out before he could go public, then I'm glad, even if I didn't know it then."
"I once helped a friend get a professional qualification that would help her change her career.
I spent many hours either proofing on commenting on her written projects or training her in communication/language skills, a weak point of hers. I never charged her anything even though I’m a professional communication and language trainer. This was a friend helping a friend.
I also provided support and encouragement whenever she felt overwhelmed, which was often. She had children, difficulties with her boss and was going through an acrimonious divorce at the time. Tears were numerous and frequent.
Finally, she sat the exams and passed. I was delighted for her and told her so by phone. I also looked forward to attending the diploma ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, and formally congratulating her there.
The ceremony came and went, but I wasn’t invited. This was strange, but I thought no more of it.
Then I bumped into her in the street a few weeks later. I congratulated her again and asked if the diploma ceremony had gone well.
'Yes, it was great,' she beamed. 'One of the greatest days in my life. My friends all turned up. They were so proud that I had achieved something so important by myself.'"
"I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding several years ago.
Initially, I was ecstatic! Although we'd never been super close, I really cared about this girl, and was so honored that she'd want me to be a part of her special day.
From the get-go, though, my involvement in the whole thing was rocky. I'd just signed up for classes in September, and the wedding was in late August. All of my money was going towards classes and books and supplies. I'd had to move back in with parents because I knew I couldn't afford to pay much in rent while in school full-time. I communicated all of this to my friend, who, although not enthused, seemed understanding.
Then the bills started rolling in. The first was the bridesmaid dress. Out of four bridesmaids, I was the only one both local and available to go with her to help decide/model what we'd wear. She'd gone through several options, when she happened across a baby-pink floor length single shoulder strap dress. Both she and her cousin, another bridesmaid, who was skyping in from Florida, were elated. My heart sank. The floor length dresses are the most expensive, and not only do I have wide shoulders that don't look great in that style, I look incredibly pasty and washed out in pinks.
However, I kept my smile and my cool, reminding myself that this was HER day and HER choice.
The dress came to $130. I'd told her parents I could do up to $100, so they said they'd pay the difference. Even that $100 was tough to let go, especially for a dress I knew I'd never wear again, but I was there to be supportive, so I buckled down and paid.
Afterward we went out to lunch, and my girlfriend began complaining about how little support she was receiving from her sister, another bridesmaid. I empathized with her, saying something like 'sometimes people have a hard time remembering that the day isn't about them and their own preferences. I mean, take the dress we picked today. To be honest, it's really not my color, but that's all right. I want to be there for you, so I'll wear whatever you want because it's your day.'
In response, she shrugged nonchalantly, took a sip of her water, and said 'Honestly Lydia, I wouldn't want you to look as good as me anyway.'
I was stunned. She said it in a very serious tone, but casually, and then moved on, leaving me confused and hurt at her absolute lack of care.
A few days before the wedding, we all went to get mani/pedis done together. At that time, I literally had $20 to my name. I was paying for my fuel in coins. They insisted that mani-pedis were important, so I told them I'd be there, but that I could only afford either a mani OR a pedi. My friend seemed upset, and tried to talk me into doing both. I couldn't seem to communicate to her just how little money I had. Finally, the mom again stepped in and said she'd pay for me to get the pedi, since I'd gone with the mani.
Fast forward to the wedding. I met up with the rest of the party early in the morning. We spent all day getting ready, taking pics, etc. The friend tried to pressure us into having our hair done for $20 by her stylist friend, but most of us, including me, were way too tight on funds to afford it.
The ceremony was beautiful.
The bridesmaids and I had a great time hanging out with each other, since we'd gotten to know each other over the past few months, and we really didn't know anyone else there.
When it came time for the speeches, the dad came up to the cousin from Florida and asked,
'Hey, you're fine with giving a speech in about five minutes, right?'
The cousin, looking blindsided, nodded and replied hesitantly, 'Oh, uh, sure, I can do that.'
The second the dad walked away, she turned to me, panicked.
'I don't know her well enough to do the speech! We've only met once in our whole lives before this!'
I assured her that it was fine, that I'd do it. I didn't know the bride incredibly well, either, but I was able to pull from my memories of the first time she'd mentioned meeting her husband. I perform pretty well under pressure, and it seemed fairly well-received.
Finally, the day was done. We put the bride and groom in their car with many hugs and well wishes, waved them goodbye, and… I didn't hear from the bride again afterward. For a year.
Now, I realize that it takes two to make a relationship. But in the back of my head, I just assumed that at SOME point, she'd send me a thank-you or let me know they were back from the honeymoon or settled in…nothing.
Finally, a year later, one of us reconnected with the other - I don't recall which. We'd hang out casually once every month or so, but nothing very close. I invited her to my post-wedding reception (I did a destination wedding). They tried to come, she said, but just couldn't make it work with their schedules.
Then, she told me she was pregnant, and was due in about 7 months. I was planning my little sister's wedding at the time, but again, I wanted to support my friend, so I offered to help with the shower.
I spent the next seven months gathering Pooh-themed stuffed animals, researching decor and invitations, and coordinating with her mom.
The day of the party, I showed up an hour early to help decorate. I'd put about $50 into her gift, as I knew she didn't have a lot of money and I wanted to support her. I had a wedding to attend at three that afternoon, but since the party started at noon I figured I had plenty of time.
Two and a half hours later, they were just starting to open presents. They hadn't played any of the planned games yet, nor had they cut the gourmet cake. I made my apologies to my friend, VERY awkwardly since it was in the middle of presents, but told her I had to head to a wedding, but could I please get a photo before I left?
Seeming extremely inconvenienced, my friend stood, reluctantly, and posed woodenly with me for one picture before hurrying back to her gifts. I left, very uncomfortably, and… I haven't heard from her since. It's been five months now, and again, not a text, not a tag, not a thank-you."
"I had a ‘friend’ named T who ran a daycare as a full time business. Her husband worked a full time job outside the home. Occasionally she would ask me ahead of time to come over and help her watch the children.
One day she called my house almost crying, saying she had no food for the daycare children that week. I asked her about the government food program for her daycare….seems she hadn’t ‘filled out’ the paperwork yet. So I filled up two large paper bags, just stuffed them with food from my pantry. Mac & cheese, peanut butter, tuna, bread, etc.
I opened my eyes and ended our ‘friendship’ after that."
"For me I knew a girl was using me for a while before I finally put a stop to it and just outright stopped being her 'friend'.
She knew I had a crush on her. She knew I always went out of my way to please people and she knew I had problems saying 'no'. I frequently bought her lunch. Always helped her out, no matter how big or small the favor was. Let her use my things - my phone etc. But the one thing she seemed to REALLY enjoy was people chasing her, though. Like she would straight up give you the cold shoulder for no reason because she knew it would get to you and you would try to make amends for some mystery reason. She'd eventually start talking to you again and wouldn't explain anything to you about what you did 'wrong'.
She did that one too many times to me and I just finally laughed it off - which confused and upset her. She later tried to explain she was just 'joking around' and I said 'well, I hope you found it funny' and walked away. Never engaged in conversation with her ever again after that."
"When I was 8, my mom suddenly got a new boyfriend and my father, who until then had expressed zero interest in me came back to me and started to take me on weekends, be more friendly etc. At first, I thought nothing of it, but after I realized that every weekend he would sit me at the kitchen table, get me to talk through everything my mom was doing during the week, and then ignore me for the weekend, I realized that the only reason he came back to me was that my brother was too young to spy on them, and I was old enough to tell him in detail everything yet young enough to be manipulated.
Needless to say I don't speak to him anymore."
"In my early 20s I met a really cute bartender while day drinking with some friends and really hit it off with her. I figured she was just flirting with me as part of the job, but as I got up to pay she slipped me her number. We ended up getting together that same night, she took me back to her place, and we spent the night together.
I felt a great connection and almost instantly fell head over heels for her. We started spending a ton of time together, and after 2 weeks while laying in bed together she said 'So you’re my boyfriend now, right?' I was over the moon.
Things progressed, but then slowly became turbulent. She would be incredibly hot and cold. Sometimes we would spend the entire weekend together having amazing experiences with each other, and sometimes she would give me the cold shoulder for days at a time. I was so frustrated and confused.
It turned out she had recently broken up with her first long term boyfriend and still had strong feelings for him. I was an idiot and in love with her so I still tried to make it work.
One day she told me she wanted to take a trip to visit him, and I said no, which lead to a big fight. After that we were kind of off and on for a while and I was really upset because I liked her so much. Eventually she just ghosted me after basically months of being with me, and I found out she decided to try a long distance relationship with her ex. He ended up cheating on her repeatedly.
I was just a rebound because I reminded her of her ex. It hurt and messed me up for a while, but I recovered and eventually found the most amazing woman I could ever imagine and I am planning on proposing."