What is the word that describes a person who uses other people, generally for personal gain, without anything given in return? Maybe through blatancy or through manipulation. I was using extortionist, but I know that's not correct. To further explain; someone who keeps a relationship only for the benefits it provides.
I would suggest leech:
- a person who clings to another for personal gain, especially without giving anything in return, and usually with the implication or effect of exhausting the other's resources; parasite.
: a person or thing that takes something from someone or something else and does not do anything to earn it or deserve it
Along the same lines are freeloader, sponge, and mooch:
freeload: to get or ask for things (such as food, money, or a place to live) from people without paying for them
sponge: someone who gets something from someone else without doing or paying anything in return
mooch: to ask for and get things from other people without paying for them or doing anything for them (noun form can be either "mooch" or "moocher")
All definitions from http://www.m-w.com
It is established in common dialect (Scottish - proper English) that a user is someone who uses another person to serve themselves heedlessly.
Simply using the word user might be straightforward enough! A word which springs to mind for me, due to my locale, is a skag - also someone who uses another person. Opportunist/parasite/freeloader.
Interestingly (some might say), skag also means Heroin. A skag (or skaghead) is a user (of Heroin), but the word spills over to refer to a person who takes advantages of others heedlessly. (Incidentally, it just so happens that long-term addicts of skag show tendency to display this behaviour).
In popular vernacular this person is simply called a
And because it's popular vernacular I'll cite Urban Dictionary:
user (n.) - a person who uses a friend or aquaintance solely for the purposes of gaining a type of advantage; whether it be:
1) when no one else is around, they need someone (like you) to take them places
2) someone who doesn't include you in any activities that they have with their friends, who you too, are friends with, yet YOU would invite him or her in a heart beat
3) a person who completely ignores you when he or she is with a group of people who may be cooler than you
4) a person who can call you ANYTIME and you would be there for them, and yet if you try to call him or her, they will not pick up; however, ONLY for using purposes he or she would pick up, like if he or she needs a RIDE somewhere (yet they would pick up their phone for any other person)
5) a person who constantly gives you excuses...when you know he or she is completely full of SHIT
and even after all this, this person still calls you their "friend"
"opportunist" comes to mind.
- "one who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences" TFD
Depending on context, you could use:
- designing (adj) "showing or exercising forethought" TFD
- manipulating (adj) "controlling or playing upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
- artful (adj) " good at getting or achieving things in ways that are clever and not noticeable"
- a parasite (noun) "a person or thing that takes something from someone or something else and does not do anything to earn it or deserve it" MW
Technically, that could be a psychopath.
The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal.
This article illustrates things to a degree:
As I wrote in a recent article on Gizmodo (link is external), when I first met tech guru John McAfee I was utterly charmed. He seemed to be living his life with a clarity and moral courage that I found exhilarating. The first article I wrote about him was effusive, and when I traveled to Belize to meet up with him for a second article, I looked forward to spending time with someone who I felt to be both intellectually and physically adventurous. On this second trip, however, I began to notice a troubling pattern. McAfee spent a lot of his time bragging about the hoaxes he’d pulled off, gleefully styling himself as a “bullshit artist.” Sometimes he lied for fun—like when he told a reporter that his tattoo was a Maori design he’d gotten in New Zealand, a country he’s never actually been to. Sometimes he lied strategically, like the Facebook posting he put up about how he’d just bought a house in Honduras. At the time, he was facing a raft of lawsuits. "The judge in one case couldn't understand why I would put incorrect information about myself on the web," he told me. "I said, 'I thought that if somebody wanted to serve me papers, it would be much more enjoyable for everyone involved if they tried to serve those papers to me in Honduras.'"
After I wrote an unflattering article about him, a number of people from McAfee’s past reached out to me and told me even more troubling stories. I became convinced that McAfee was not merely a disingenuous person but a true psychopath.
Schouten says that we should not be surprised to find psychopaths among the ranks of successful entrepreneurs like McAfee. Indeed, he emphasizes that psychopathic traits can be positively helpful. “Psychopathy could confer a competitive advantage, at least over the short term,” he says. “Grandiosity and over-the-top self-confidence, as well as skill at conning and manipulating, can go a long way toward convincing investors of one’s vision.”