There is a widespread myth in Western societies related to the idea of meritocracy. It is the belief in the self-made man, someone who is successful in life (basically in economic terms), and who owes nothing to anyone, since everything he is has come about through his efforts and decisions. It is a myth precisely because no one has what he has by his own effort.
We are a large part of who we are because, throughout our lives, other people have contributed to our having the opportunity to reach adulthood, whether we are aware of it or not, and many times they help us throughout our lives or a good part of it.
However, in this collaborative network, there are those who decide to take much more than they give. These are interested people , who submit their whole philosophy of social relations to a principle: what do I get out of it?
The 4 characteristics of the persons concerned
If the persons concerned are so harmful, it is among other things because it is not always easy to recognize them or to intuit their intentions . Thus, when they try to get something from others without giving anything in return, this fact can be camouflaged in different ways that we will see later on.
Moreover, although it is difficult to maintain the deception by repeating this kind of behavior over and over again, sometimes there are those who achieve such a powerful power of seduction that we do not even realize that they are taking advantage of us. Once we have entered a dynamic in which vampirization becomes a habit, it is difficult to detect it. If we have been involved in that relationship for a long time, our perception becomes biased, distorted.
For all the above reasons, it is important to pay attention to the signs that indicate, in a more or less subtle way, when we are in front of one of the interested persons willing to make us waste time and efforts . Below you will find the main characteristics of these. Keep in mind that they do not have to occur all at once in order for someone to be considered to be behaving in a caring manner, and that the fact that one or several actions on this list are carried out does not make that person “labeled” for life: these are behavior patterns that are learned and can therefore be unlearned.
1. Use victimhood
Something that is part of the usual behaviour of the people concerned has to do with creating the illusion that everyone behaves unfairly towards them. Thus, the listener to this story assumes that it is reasonable to make sacrifices so that this situation of injustice is compensated, even if only partially.
2. Assuming we will help
Saying no to the request for a favor is something that most of the time costs. Those who act in an interested manner have an easy time exploiting this fact: it is enough to act assuming that the other will sacrifice himself for them.
In this way, to refuse to do something one must fight against double the pressure: not only must one risk becoming a selfish person, but one must also break the story that the other person creates through his way of speaking, according to which the normal thing is to act as he expects by adjusting to the objectives he proposes .
In other words, we have to reformulate the situation, explaining our perspective of the facts, something that the other person did not have to do, since his message was implicit in his way of speaking.
3. They use forms of speech that make you think of a symmetrical relationship
When you ask for a favor in an honest way, it is done in a way that makes it clear that you are doing just that: asking for a favor. However, it is typical for someone who has become accustomed to acting in a self-interested manner to try to “camouflage” this fact while, in practice, asking for a favor.
For example, when instead of asking for help you are asking for “collaboration”, as if both parties were getting something equally valuable and beneficial through an action in which one gives and the other receives what was asked for, you are acting dishonestly. It is true that these are simply linguistic formulas and that by themselves they do not cause significant harm, but they set a precedent, on the one hand, and put the other person in a position to compromise, so that their freedom to refuse to do that favor is limited.
4. They try to pass themselves off as extraverts
The easiest way to recognize when someone is acting in a caring way is to look at how they behaved when they had no favors to ask. It is common among friends to ask for favors, but if you make a request of someone you don’t trust, the honest thing to do is to get to the point, to explain what you want . You can’t create a friendship in a few minutes just before you go to ask for something, that’s a trick. And no, this is also not something that can be attributed simply to extraversion and ease of socializing: the extraverted are always extraverted, not just when they are looking for something concrete that someone can give them.