I need a word or idiom for someone who takes advantage of you because they know you like them. In relationships, I heard the word "user", as someone who uses their romantic partners for material gain.

More specifically, I'm thinking of someone who guesses what kind of people you like and then acts like that until you like them and start offering yourself to help with various things they need. Edit: for this one I could do with a name of a famous character from a novel.

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    Deception is the first general word that comes to mind. If it's a woman doing it, gold digger is a good one.
    – Othya
    May 4 '16 at 16:38
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    It's general, but "manipulator" might be what you need.
    – kirkpatt
    May 4 '16 at 16:38
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    One answer is again, quite often overlooked, in your question. Try "exploiter."
    – vickyace
    May 4 '16 at 17:56

I'd strongly suggest that you stick to the word ''exploiter'' but there are other terms used or accepted in several situations suggested below.

The word phony means a person who pretends to be someone else or to have feelings or abilities that he or she does not really have and it would fit your description only because nobody would go through the effort it takes to be phony without the possibility of material gains.

Another word is charlatan, which means a person who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people or simply put, a phony person. One could say '' My new friend turned out to a charlatan.''

Then there is confidence man used mostly in US which, as the name suggests, is someone who tricks you after he has gained your confidence.


In terms of a literary character, Becky Sharp in Thackeray's Vanity Fair may fit the bill, or possibly Wickham in Austen's Pride and Prejudice? Both are characters who use their personal charms to exploit others. Collins dictionary suggests such a character may be a 'picaroon': a person who lives by his or her wits.


How about "manipulative"? Someone is manipulative if they manipulate you, fully well knowing your feelings towards them, and then exploiting those feelings for their gain, pecuniary or otherwise.

Sounds like a mild case of narcissistic sociopathy as well, but I'm no psychologist.

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