Some people are constantly leeching off of others.

Just like the parasite with the same name, they benefit at the expense of someone else. I’m not talking about bumming a smoke at times or asking for change if you’re in need. “Borrowing” becomes leeching when it occurs regularly and when they don’t see anything wrong with what they’re doing.

Some people never ask for anything because it would hurt their pride, but humans depend on each other and most of us have, at certain point in our lives, probably started asking for more favors than we should’ve.

If you recognize yourself as a leecher, congratulations! You are at the right place to realize that kind of behavior is wrong, and change yourself for the better. If you’re not, this article is going to help you size up others and determine which people you socialize with are infectious.

As previously discussed, don’t be afraid to burn bridges, but make sure you burn the right ones.

SPOT THE LEECHER

You might not think you need a definition, but the red flags aren’t always as clear as you think. To help make things easier to understand, I have divided freeloaders into three main categories:

1. HARMLESS

All of us have probably been this type at one point or another. It refers to those who occasionally ask for small things, such as borrowing some change for the vending machine. If they are in a rush, they might ask you to do something instead of them.

This applies to acquaintances, coworkers, relatives, friends, beggars – basically anyone. Reason why they are harmless is that, while they do ask something for nothing in return, they are not expecting anything. If you decide to help them out, great. If not, no hard feelings; you probably had a good reason, because most of us usually wouldn’t mind stepping in.

2. ALARMING

This category mostly applies to people you are more closely associated with. In this case, the requests are not so small and not so seldom. Things they usually might ask for include:

  • larger sums of money
  • bigger errands
  • paying instead of them (drinks, food, tickets, fees, etc.)

These type often asks you to do something for them, but don’t appreciate it. If they forget their wallet, they won’t opt for simply not purchasing what they desire, they will ask you to purchase it for them. They constantly invite you to “be a pal” and “don’t be so petty” and “treat” them, since you’re such good friends.

They will get offended if you decline their offer and question your relationship, trying to make you feel bad or like you owe them something. These type of requests usually don’t come from your best friends, but good friends – people you are close enough, but not close enough.

A real friend would never behave in a such a way.

3. RUN

The worst type of leechers take it one step further. Not only do they constantly ask for big favors, provide nothing in return and expect it’s your duty to help them out any day of the week, they behave arrogantly and quickly turn hostile.

To best illustrate, here’s a personal example:

I was going home from an event and a person I wasn’t really that close with (let’s call her Jane Doe)  asked if I’d be able to drop her off on my way home. I had room in the car and saw no problem with helping someone out.

As a group of us were walking to the car, Jane asked if I could drop her off at home. I told her that my route was different, as I was going to the opposite part of the city, and that I could drop her off at the nearest bus station, from where she has a direct bus to her apartment. It was middle of the day and, as buses were regular, nobody thought it would be a problem. After all, I was helping her out.

To everybody’s surprise, she became infuriated with my response, demanding I take her home this instance. I remained calm and reminded her that if she’s not content, she doesn’t have to get in the car. She was silent.

As we were entering the car, she kept complaining about how my vehicle wasn’t up to par to her standards. We started driving and she kept complaining about how not only am I not taking her where she wants to go, the car we are driving in is a piece of shit.

I stopped the car in the middle of the road, turned to her and told her in a calm, but loud voice, that she should get out. She suddenly got completely silent, after which I reminded that I’m doing her a favor, and that I am not her taxi nor is she paying me anything to help her out.

I notified her that if she says one more unpleasant or insulting remark, I’m going to kick her out of the car, or if she refuses to get out, drive back home to the opposite side of the city.

My car was a piece of shit and I couldn’t care less, but I wouldn’t allow a stranger to criticize and insult me in front of my friends, after asking me for a favor.

She was silent for the rest of the trip and left without uttering a word.

LEECHING VS BORROWING

Asking for someone to help you out isn’t bad and isn’t automatically considered leeching. There’s nothing wrong with assisting someone in need and if we all did it more often, the world would be a much better place.

What separates moochers from the rest of the crowd is that they have no shame, remorse or view what they’re doing as wrong. They take advantage of you and take you for granted. Here’s another story:

I made plans to go out with two of my friends. One of them (let’s call him John Doe) was notorious for regularly going out, but hardly ever having the money to buy alcohol. I paid for him once or twice, but seeing how this is starting to turn into a habit, me and my other friend told him that if he doesn’t have the money, he can’t come.

So, the three of us meet up, and John immediately tells us he doesn’t have the money. We tell him that he can come with us but we won’t buy drinks for him, and then turned around and changed the subject. John closed up and just stood there with a sad face.

Secretly, me and my friend agreed to pull our money together and buy him drinks regardless of what we said, simply because we wanted to. But before we did, we decided to play a joke on him and see how he reacts.

At that moment, John says:

Some friends you are…anyway, here’s my money.

He then proceeded to take out his wallet and pay his share. John wasn’t broke and hopeless. He was simply an asshole. He had money to spend, but he’d much rather guilt you into paying for him. That is the worst kind of leecher.

Be wary of your friends if they behave a similar way. You may turn a blind eye at the beginning, but sooner or later, someone’s going to have to pay the piper.

And since they won’t have any money, you can bet it’s going to be you.