Why do nice people get taken advantage of?

Caitlin Houston
2 min readJan 18, 2024

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Why do nice people get taken advantage of? Despite the universal teaching of the old adage “Treat others the way in which you wish to be treated,” some humans do the opposite. Whether it’s an act of disrespect, manipulation or exploitation, the WHY is something I grapple with most.

In my adult life I have found myself taken advantage of on more times than I want to admit. Whether it is in the workforce or my personal life, I unknowingly allow others to use my kindness and friendship for their own betterment. I never know it’s happening and only realize what’s occurred once the damage is done.

mom and daughter twirling in dresses

Why do nice people get taken advantage of?

When I reflect back on moments that have hurt my heart most, I notice it always starts with a misinterpreted friendship. My therapist says I allow people to get close too quickly. Once I believe a person is in my life for something more than a transaction or interaction — I let my guard down. I never know I am nothing but a step ladder to success or a pathway to something better. Whatever purpose I serve is not one of a friend — but more of a tool to better their own life. This happens frequently in the world of online friendships.

Some people will only “love you” as much as they can use you. Their loyalty ends where the benefits stop.

When googling, “Why do nice people get taken advantage of?” I found multiple reasons. Nice people get taken advantage of when the other person doesn’t have respect or appreciation for the one they manipulate. Kindness is misinterpreted as weakness. And when you have a kind heart, people can play at your heart strings to get what they want.

Isn’t it human nature to see the best in others? We all want to believe people enter our lives with a happy purpose, but I have lost count of the times I was wrong. Life is too short to treat others unkindly, but it’s long enough that we always have the time to talk through unpleasant emotions.

One of my goals as a Mother is to teach my children how to navigate difficult situations involving others with tact and patience. It’s not always that easy though — especially when your mental wellness is on the line. I wish this post was offering advice. But instead I’m offering my story to you — as an example of someone who struggles daily with this question. Why do nice people get taken advantage of?

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Caitlin Houston

Caitlin Houston is a Mom of three and creator of Connecticut based life + style site Caitlin Houston Blog.