As a person who is quick to help or listen, I am often taken advantage of. I use to be idenial to it, but a good friend of mine quickly brought the issue to my attention. Throughout high school, people used me for my good reputation, the things I owned, the people I knew, basically anything that they knew I would easily say yes to. I was a push over. I decided that college would not be the same because it was draining for people to not genuinely care for me but rather care for what I could do to benefit them. Last year, I did not open out of my shell in college because I was scared of going back to my old ways. I really only had one real friend while at school and that was my roommate. She did not use me for what I had or what I would do. She simply was my friend just because. Life took her on a journey and she no longer attends school with me, so I was filled with fear as a new beginning was on its way. This year I quickly jumped into friendships, and I decided to take on much more than I can handle but that is normal for me. However, as I chatted with my family and spoke out loud about the things I do for my friends I began to hurt inside because I am quickly approaching the same path I promised myself to never go on. In high school, most of my friends do not realize that they were even doing it, but it happened. I quickly listened as they rushed into my room with tears in their eyes and shaky voices. I jumped to the opportunity to listen to them, and offer advice when they needed it. If they needed me to go to the store to get them something, I would go with no questions asked. If they needed help in a situation, I would offer the best. Sounds like we had a good friendship going, right? Sadly that is not the case. I was being used as a self confidence booster. They wanted me to encourage them, but no matter how many times I told them how beautiful they were, they would not truly believe it. I was being used as a the vent sesh buddy, but when it was my turn to go they were not fully there. If it did not affect them, then they wanted nothing to do with it. If I asked for a favor, they hesitated. I gave countless rides to people who I had barely talked to, but they knew if they asked me I would happily give them a ride. At work, if someone needed their shift covered they would ask me because they knew I would not say no. Situation after situation I continued to give in. I could not say no. This article was going to be about the disadvantages of being taken advantage of because I know that all to well, but instead I want to talk about five things I have learned from being used as a person.

1. I need to draw a fine line from the beginning.

As being a "too" nice person, I have been ran over too many times. I let people walk all over me, and I do not want to confront them of it because then they might be upset. Although, I have learned that for my personal health I have to draw a fine line from the beginning of the relationship or else I will drown myself in worry and drain myself out. If I have a friend who asks me for a ride and it becomes a regular thing, I need to decide the distance I am willing to take them and communicate that to them. I cannot be a coward and hide behind my acts. I have learned that drawing that line lets the person know that you are not as much of a push over as they thought, and they will kind of back off.

2. I felt uncared for and overlooked.

I have come off as content in many situations where I desired for things to be done. When you are busy listening to people tell you about their own problems and complaints, you tend to get put on the back burner. For a long time, I thought that my friends did not care about me or what I was going through. Often they would never think to ask me what I was dealing with, and if by chance I brought it up myself then they would be on their phone or not paying attention. I felt like I was overlooked and that people just did not realize what all I actually did for them. Now do not get me wrong, I do not want praise and gratification for what I did. I just felt like people did not see me more than the person who was "nice" and had it all together. During my reflection, I realized that I am cared for and looked at by the people who genuine wanted a friendship with me.

3. I want someone to love me for me and not what I have to offer.

So this is the most important one. After countless reflections, I have learned that I want someone to be my friend because they want to regardless of how I can benefit them. Of course they will be my friend because of my personality, but I do not want them to be my friend because I will always make them smile. I won't. I am a person, and I will fail time and time again. I want someone who wants a friendship or relationship with me to go in knowing that I will fail them. I can offer all kinds of things to a person, but some days will just be absolutely horrific and I will not be able to put a smile on your face or give you wise advice and I want you to understand that. I do not think we should fall in love with someone with the thoughts of how that person will benefit me. That is an extremely selfish view of love. Love is selfless. You sacrifice what you want and need in order to pursue the best interest of your partner. People are constantly changing, so who you might fall in love with today, might be a different person tomorrow. You may date an eighteen year old rock climber, but then marry a twenty year old teacher. Through the journey of being taken advantage of from my very friends, I have learned that I only want ot pursue friendships with people who love me for me and not what I have to offer or benefit them.

This article has no intentions of scolding anyone or throwing shade. I simply desired to share what this experience has taught me. I no longer am taken advantage of to the scale I was throughout high school. I do not mind doing things for people, and quite frankly I love serving those around me. Wether that means lending a helping hand, a listening ear, or being present in tough situations I enjoy being someone people can come to. It only becomes a problem when people use me for their own benefit with nothing in return. Our world is a circle, so it is neverending. The cycle in continuous, and we have to be willing to give back to what we give.