Is this really taking advantage?

I was reading another thread about how some individuals seem to get through life by literally taking advantage of others. We all notice this, even if it’s happening to someone else, if there is a negative affect. Can you really be taking advantage of someone if the other person has no negative side affects?

I’ll use a personal example. I know how to drive and own a car, but if I’m hanging out with a friend who enjoys driving I let them drive my car. An ex used to drive me around a lot, because he liked to drive. I don’t particularly enjoy it. He said I had used him in that aspect. I don’t really see how. It was my car. I was the one getting more miles and I paid for gas. I never forced him, or anyone else, to drive. If they said no, I would drive.

So, in general, can you be taking advantage of someone/thing if the person/thing isn’t being negatively affected?

The line is between taking advantage of a situation and taking advantage of people.

If you never offer to do something that benefits someone else and just let them do it (e.g., drive you around town) because they’re too nice to ask you to do it, then yeah, you’re taking advantage of them. You’re taking advantage of their niceness.

I have a friend who does this sometimes. We’ve taken trips together and roomed at hostels to save money. Inevitably, when we share a bunk bed, she always claims the bottom. Never asks whether I might want it first. She just puts her stuff on the bed and makes it hers. Her assumption apparently is that if I want it, then I’ll speak up and say something. But I’m easy-going and nonconfrontational so I don’t go through that trouble. So I take the top bunk without saying a word about it.

Inside though, I am bothered when she’s presumptuous in this way. It’s the kind of thoughtlessness that can lead to resentment over time. I hate it too because when I notice things like this, it makes me feel like a score keeper, which is really not how I want go about leading my life.

Seriously? You never say anything to her, but she’s somehow supposed to know it anyway? Is she psychic?

Good lord, I hate mind games like this.

Actually I did say something about it to her the last time she did it (it came up in passing though, over dinner or something). And she told me in so many words that because I hadn’t told her to get up off the bed, that she’d assumed it was okay that she slept there. This kind of thinking would have never occurred to me as cool. It strikes me as thoughtless and assbackwards. “Get off the bed b/c I want it” or any variations on that theme just aren’t my style, and she knows me well enough to know that.

Call me crazy, but if me and another person are faced with a decision like who sleeps where-- and one arrangement clearly is more convenient/comfortable than the other–I don’t just make a grab for the best one and leave it to the other person to say “Not so fast. Let’s draw straws or something.” It’s far more considerate to ask before you grab, IMO. At least have the courtesy say “Ya mind if I sleep on the bottom bunk?”

Does not doing this make someone an asshole? No. But I wouldn’t be surprised if people who are courteous like this never are accused of taking advantage of other people.

I’m sorry you’re having this type of issue with a friend. This is part of the reason I refuse to travel with certain people.

While I still don’t think I’m taking advantage in my situation, I’ll try to do more driving from now on.

You don’t necessarily have to do more driving, just make sure you offer something in return for the favour they’re doing you - because it is a favour. Spot them lunch. Offer to help them with an errand they need running, whatever.

Thanks for the advice.

I think it all depends on how the situation is playing out. Unfortunately you didn’t give us a lot to go on to really say whether you’re really taking advantage of your friend.

When you’re hanging out and yall decide to drive somewhere, how is the decision made as to whom will drive and whose car gets driven? Is it just assumed that it’ll be your car because of some unspoken agreement? Or is it explicity discussed (“My car or yours?”) Do you ever ask “Want me to drive?” or say “I’ll drive if you want” or is it always assumed that they’ll be the one who gets that job unless they protest (the latter constitutes the beef I had with my friend). You said your friend likes to drive. But that doesn’t mean they always feel like it, right? So on this point, just make sure you’re not assuming too much.

It’s a little dicey, admittedly, but that’s how niceties are. Sometimes even when you do ask courteously, people still might feel exploited, because it does depends on how you ask. If you say “You’re cool with driving, right?”, you’re not completely giving them the freedom to say no; the expectation is that they are supposed to say yes.

I don’t think you’ve considered that “he likes to drive” doesn’t mean “he always wants to drive, no matter what.”

Your idea, what you actually said in the original post is, “I let them drive my car.” You see it as granting them a favor. But the other person may see it as you “make them drive.” People don’t like to be forced to do something, even something they enjoy.

This is the sort of thing where a little communication goes a long way.

You say: “Do you want to drive?” You are responsible for asking the question.
Other says: “Yes” or “No” depending on their preference. It is their responsibility to answer honestly, even when the honest answer is “no.” At that point, you can respect their wishes.

Same with YWTF. Yes, she’s thoughtless for never asking, but if it bothers you so much, it is your responsibility to say something. A confrontation isn’t necessary; since you know she doesn’t ask, when you get to the hostel, before you get to the room, just ask “How do you want to work out the beds?” or even “Mind if I take the bottom bunk this time?” This tells her that you want to have an actual conversation about it, and doesn’t require her to read your mind.

You could also choose to open a conversation about how much you’d appreciate it if she would think to initiate the conversation herself once in a while. She, again, can’t read your mind and probably has never had a clue that it bothers you. So tell her.

And if you can’t have a conversation without it being a “confrontation,” then I suggest you revise your approach to said conversations. If this is really a friend, you should have built up enough good will with each other that you can talk to each other without it devolving into something hostile.

Truth: No one can take advantage of you without your permission.
– Unknown

A few people wanted to know more details. It seems my car is taken a lot because a few of my friends need to use their cars for business and personal uses. So, they don’t want to rack up too many miles because their car has to last them longer. I bought my car new. They bought their cars used. Sometimes, I ask and if they say no I agree. I’ll say “Can you drive the way back?”. Maybe from now on, I’ll ask less. One poster said I see this as a favor. I sort of do. In that, when it’s only four people or less I volunteer to just take my car. As I said, I know their cars have more miles and they need their cars for work. Where as I have a job that doesn’t require additional driving besides commuting to there and home. This isn’t all of my friends. It’s just the ones as I said who use their cars for work purposes and my boyfriends, because I do things for my boyfriends they don’t like to do for themselves.

This is a highly debatable area; I have a sister who thinks that it is your responsibility to say no, so she asks for everything. I think that people have a responsibility to think about how much they’re asking and not always put the onus on the other person to say no. I don’t think either of us is wrong, but it’s definitely two different ways of living your life.

As for asking other people to drive your car all the time, I’d probably get tired of that, too. It’s your car; you drive it.

I’ve slept in a lot of hostels, and I far prefer the top bunk. Is it possible that she thinks she’s being nice and giving you the best spot?

If you have to make big assumptions to justify your actions, then you could be trodding on dangerous ground. Those assumptions might be wrong, and if they are both wrong and self-serving they could cause you some problems.

For example, you say you know your friends don’t want to rack up a lot of miles on their cars. But this doesn’t mean they’d always be in favor of 1) taking your car or 2) being the driver.

You can’t really go wrong in asking for their preference everytime a decision is made.

No, she has no reason to think that I like the top bunk. I would find it strange if this was her assumption, since she likes the bottom bunk for the same reason most people would/do: it’s closer to the floor so it’s easy to get in and out, if the blanket falls off you don’t have to go skydiving to retrieve it, and it’s safer. For clutzs like me who are prone to ankle sprains and shit when crawling down ladders in the middle of the night to go pee, this last reason is important.

I haven’t desired the top bunk since I was kid. What is there to like? You must be a crazy person. :smiley:

There’s more space, you can usually sit up without bumping your head, the air circulates better (cooler in summer), and the other persons movements don’t bug you as much. It is annoying if you have to go to the bathroom though. I can’t say I’ve ever had the blanket problem.

ETA: it’s entirely possible that I am crazy, but I am living proof that at least some people do like the top!

That and if it breaks, the person on top is less likely to die/get hurt.

In my experience, the bottom bunk has enough room for sitting up without any problems. Funnily enough, I’ve been in rooms where the ceiling was low enough to prevent me from being able to sit up on the top. I also disagree about it being cooler in the summer. Heat rises, for one. Also, window breezes and fan currents don’t see to flow up as much as down. I find it stuffier up on the top bunk.

That plus the peeing thing makes the bottom bunk a much better deal.