How To Avoid Getting Used -- For Guys

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Aoi
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03 Aug 2009, 5:33 pm

I went through similar experiences in high school, and after some guys I knew pointed out what was really going on, I developed a cost/benefit analysis process for tracking my interactions with girls. Though in principle this should have been difficult, it proved quite easy to do, since I had very few such interactions. As an uber geek nerd with no looks, style, or cash (to say nothing of the social skills of a pre-teen), I was not able to offer much. But the cost/benefit analysis process helped me avoid being abused for homework and similar "services".

The depth and complexity of adult relationships is overwhelming for me, so I've been refining my model in my spare time recently, just as a way to flex my mathematical and algorithm-writing muscles. I doubt it will work well for me, since I can't apply it in real-time, but it may help me understand in retrospect what happened. It has already helped explain the female stalker I became a victim of two years ago.

In the interim I resolve this problem by simply not saying or doing much. I may have missed some good opportunities because of this approach, but I've also probably missed some risky or difficult situations as well.



techstepgenr8tion
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03 Aug 2009, 7:29 pm

I only recently had an experience like this, mainly this past winter. Most of the time, quiet or not, I think women can tell that I'm no-BS. I had a girl who wasn't interested (vice a versa as well) who wouldn't stop calling me, I couldn't figure out why - really a first so I just went with it because I felt like I was changing pace and doing something different. Trouble was, she was kinda boorish and trying to push me to sidekick status, I don't even think deliberately, and for all that she still kept calling. After about three or four nights of that over a few weeks I slowly just stopped answering my phone and I finally did just tell her straight up - I don't see where this is even a healthy friendship, she promptly lashed at me and I was jumping for joy that she finally got the hint.

Point is I do value my time a lot - just like I value my friends and anyone who can genuinely see the best in me and wants to bring it out. Between that and everything else I have going on - not much time for having a friend who I'd have to scold like a bad little kid occasionally out of nowhere just to assert myself; on the bright side *far* better to be used for a minute as a friend before you catch on than be the guy who's buying a ring. Thank God there's plenty of alternatives out there to choose from.



MDD123
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03 Aug 2009, 9:23 pm

This is good information, the problem is that I get a sense of resentment from the times it has happened to me.

I like of think of myself as helpful, helping people gives me a good reputation, and helping women helps me to understand interactions a little more. The chore here is to be unbiased, I have to enjoy the act of helping more than the reward. Deontology is the ethical principal at work for me. I'll do an excellent job, make them feel good, ect... to prove my worth, but I'll hold them to the same standards, if I don't see them doing something useful for me (social opportunities, flattery, an interest in me, ect...) I'll find a reason not to help her in the future, I just explain that I'm busy helping other people out, because I'll be a lot more interested in people who actually need help.

I can't give one good example when I've done something like this with an actual prospect, I'm just setting up a good game plan, this is good information.



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03 Aug 2009, 11:02 pm

Reasons why Aspies are a target for users:

*Desperation for friendships/relationships
*Low self-confidence/self-esteem
*Lack of knowledge on how healthy relationships work
*They are eager to please, and will do anything to make people like them. This is tied to desperation in some ways.
*They are passive, don't stand up for themselves, or try to avoid conflict
*Naiveitivity

The first step in eliminating this problem, is recognizing these things about yourself, and working to improve them. The problem doesn't lie entirely with the user.


Some ways to spot users (Narcissists):

*They talk about themselves way too much. You are constantly hearing: I, me, my, mine, and myself.
*They don't seem too interested in what you have to say.
*Their time is precious to them.
*They treat waitress, etc. like crap when you go out.
*Poor, or dry sense of humor.
*They act fake
*They act childish (this is different from acting childlike)
*They are impatient.
*Constantly asking for favors, and other things from you, but not doing anything for you in return.
*Mention things like they are looking for a sugar daddy, or sugar momma...basically someone to take care of them.



Stinkypuppy
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04 Aug 2009, 3:14 pm

billsmithglendale wrote:
In a good or valid relationship, both people are equally happy being "of use" to the other person, and both people's needs are fulfilled. This is a simple but powerful equation. If one person feels inequity in the relationship, on some level they are being used.

Without disagreeing with your original post at all, I wanted to ask for clarification purposes: do completely equitable relationships actually exist? I mean, sure any kind of more-or-less mutual relationship is going to involve some give and take, but let's say for example that one person has many more needs to be taken care of than the other person in the relationship. If both people are "happy" to provide for the needs of the other person, then neither person is being used?

Plus I've met a lot of Aspies and all of them (including myself) have either been used in relationships, or been the user. Is it possible for Aspies to be in an equitable relationship, or must they suppress their AS side and be more "NT-like" in order to get something that can even remotely approximate that?


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billsmithglendale
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04 Aug 2009, 3:53 pm

Stinkypuppy wrote:
billsmithglendale wrote:
In a good or valid relationship, both people are equally happy being "of use" to the other person, and both people's needs are fulfilled. This is a simple but powerful equation. If one person feels inequity in the relationship, on some level they are being used.

Without disagreeing with your original post at all, I wanted to ask for clarification purposes: do completely equitable relationships actually exist? I mean, sure any kind of more-or-less mutual relationship is going to involve some give and take, but let's say for example that one person has many more needs to be taken care of than the other person in the relationship. If both people are "happy" to provide for the needs of the other person, then neither person is being used?

Plus I've met a lot of Aspies and all of them (including myself) have either been used in relationships, or been the user. Is it possible for Aspies to be in an equitable relationship, or must they suppress their AS side and be more "NT-like" in order to get something that can even remotely approximate that?


Hi Stinkpuppy -- no offense taken at all, it's a completely valid question.

I would say that in the example you listed, if the other person is indeed happy and fulfilled with the relationship, perhaps because helping people is a big part of who they are or what makes them happy, there is nothing wrong with that relationship. I think the "user relationship" I am cautioning against is one where one party has far different expectations than the other person about the end state or rewards from the relationship, and one person's needs are not being met (making the person unhappy). In your example, both people's needs are being met, and both people are happy.

I'm also happy to say that AS can find compatible relationships -- if anything, my wife seems to be far happier and more comfortable with my AS traits than she does my NT ones. So me blabbing, lecturing, not being very social, and being a homebody makes her far happier than me making lots of social contacts, schmoozing, staying out late, and not being dependent on her. In our relationship, she is the one who takes on far more of the burden (though I do make like twice her salary), and she constantly reiterates that she is happy with this arrangement. She is one who is happy to serve.



makuranososhi
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04 Aug 2009, 5:43 pm

There is a huge difference between complementary and dependent/user relationships; when both parties are honest and aware, there are going to be imbalances in every relationship which are not issues when the other is willing to compromise and be supportive. When such things are demanded, expected, and not reciprocated is when things slide from one arena to another. My wife is an amazing woman who is determined to be creative in her support of me; I am more than happy and willing to shoulder the load when she needs me.


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TheWeirdPig
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04 Aug 2009, 6:55 pm

If I could state my opinion, "getting used" is a strong statement. Most of the time, I don't think the original intent when it's platonic is to use someone. Some girls are so starving for male attention that they'll lead a guy on. It seems as though these girls will do it to anyone, but AS guys are especially prone to this. Some girls are flirtatious with everyone. They have been conditioned use their flirting to get something (this is true for guys being flirtatious too . . .). Other women just don't do a good job of communicating that their interests are platonic. Other women communicate their platonic intentions clearly, but us guys don't see it.

There are times when I've felt used when I shortly realized that I wasn't. The key statement is that I felt like I was being used. It is not good feeling whether it's true or not. Most of the time, there was never really a base for a romantic relationship anyway. The complexities of my personality would not fit into her lifestyle, even though I was a "really nice guy." Perhaps I sometimes felt "strung along," but never really used. When I knew I was being used, I did one of two things: I let it continue, or moved on. When I let it continue, I guess I was using her too.

I guess as I look back at it, I don't think that there was anyone who was using me that I didn't want using me. I guess this is a codependent type relationship. But platonic friendships with people you are romantically interested never work and are nothing but heartache and heartbreak. Sometimes a woman will use a guy as a back-up. She likes one guy who strings her along, but truly is better friends with the second guy who likes her. She wants her cake and to eat it too.

I know that intellectually I can say "don't be used," but the reality it's hard not to when it's happening. And the reason it happens to AS guys are all the reasons that AS guys have with relationships in general. It starts young until the guy finds someone for real or gives-up. On the social pecking order, AS guys usually are not high in the list for women even though we may be "really nice guys."



MDD123
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05 Aug 2009, 12:20 am

TheWeirdPig wrote:

I guess as I look back at it, I don't think that there was anyone who was using me that I didn't want using me. I guess this is a codependent type relationship. But platonic friendships with people you are romantically interested never work and are nothing but heartache and heartbreak. Sometimes a woman will use a guy as a back-up. She likes one guy who strings her along, but truly is better friends with the second guy who likes her. She wants her cake and to eat it too.

I know that intellectually I can say "don't be used," but the reality it's hard not to when it's happening. And the reason it happens to AS guys are all the reasons that AS guys have with relationships in general. It starts young until the guy finds someone for real or gives-up. On the social pecking order, AS guys usually are not high in the list for women even though we may be "really nice guys."


In that case, I think I'll settle for being that second guy. Sure I don't like to see women in distress, but there's a logical reasoning to all of this. If she isn't capable of seeing anything in someone who could do her no wrong, then she doesn't deserve the undivided attention (from me anyway).

A better approach is to indirectly cheer them up, this way you can hide your interest. My personal approach is seeming interested in something else (possibly related to her). There's no need to be a nice guy in this situation, I think I'll try my advice out.



vessel
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05 Aug 2009, 4:37 am

This has actually been a very educational thread for me, you don't even know.



billsmithglendale
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05 Aug 2009, 10:19 am

vessel wrote:
This has actually been a very educational thread for me, you don't even know.


Thanks for this and other similar comments in this thread -- it really makes me feel good about having made the initial effort and follow-up if it helps folks here live a happier or better-informed life.