Such individuals recognize that in order to get their way, they have to get in others' good graces by feigning interest in them.
To others, they may appear interested in cultivating a deep, long-lasting relationship.
But when it's all said and done, and they get exactly what they need, they vanish into thin air. How convenient, right?
We see this dynamic play out with:
- People who become friendly with you at work or school when they need your help on a project.
- People who seem drawn to you when their other relationships become frayed (e.g., they're not on speaking terms with their partner, kid, or closest friend).
- People who only come to you when they need something (e.g., money or a ride).
- People who use you for other ends, like meeting new friends or potential partners.
Now, there's nothing wrong with any of the things I've listed above when you're dealing with someone who's truly invested in the relationship.
He or she may have helped you in the past, and now you wish to scratch their back just the same.
After all, relationships are about helping each other out -- about being there for one another in good times and bad.
But when a person is driven mostly by selfishness, they pretend to care for the person's welfare insofar as it benefits them. Once they've gotten what they want, they go about their way, never to be heard from again.
In the worst cases, we can develop feelings for these people and are left heartbroken when it becomes clear they were using us for personal gain.
While there's no foolproof way to prevent being sucked into their scheme, allow yourself to be guided by your gut, and not just your heart.
If something about the person strikes you as odd, keep a certain distance from them.
Don't accede to their every request only because you don't wish to appear rude or unaccommodating.
Some people have no qualms about milking others as long as they can. Whether it's using someone for sex or money, they will continue to exploit the person until they sense they're at risk of being caught, or feel whatever goal they had in mind has been achieved.
Once their machinations come to light, don't blame yourself for being gullible. Don't beat yourself up over how you could have done things differently.
It's all in the past. Just let it go, and learn from the experience.
What goes around comes around, and they will have their day with a little friend we like to call karma.
Take pride in the fact that you're already leagues above all the fakes and pretenders of the world.