I have a "friend" who used to socialize with me a lot and we had a lot of fun. She'd invite me over for dinner and to parties she threw. I got really close to her, or so I thought. She has a second home in my subdivision and comes here twice a year for vacations. During the time she's not here, she used to ask me to do things at her house and to keep an eye on it. Now that she has a new next door neighbor who does these things for her, she has completely stopped inviting me to dinners and social functions. What is the best word to describe a person who grooms someone for future personal gain? That is the type of person I am beginning to believe she is. My heart is broken over this.

  • She was using you and she was manipulative and selfish.
    – user140086
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 15:02
  • I would call such a person two-faced, or a double dealer
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 15:38
  • 1
    I would call her a "user".
    – Al Maki
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 16:29
  • You seem to have a question sandwich here:  one question at the beginning and the end, and a different question in the middle. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 6:43

3 Answers 3


I am not sure if there's a word to describe specifically "a person who grooms someone for future personal gain".

However, as a more general case, "a person who does a favour expecting something in return" is doing a "quid pro quo". This does not describe the person but only their action.

quid pro quo: something given or received for something else


Consider terms like false friend and fair-weather friend.  (I don’t think they really answer the question well, but I offer them up in case you like them.)

The middle of your question is about a person who treated you well for concurrent personal gain.  I believe that the word for this is symbiont (alternatively, symbiote), defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as:

An organism in a symbiotic relationship.

where symbiotic is

Denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups:  ‘the reader can have a symbiotic relationship with the writer’

A symbiotic relationship is also called symbiosis.  In case this sounds too clinical for you, consider: a symbiont is like a parasite except a parasitic relationship benefits only the parasite, whereas both participants in a symbiotic relationship receive some benefit.

You might say that this person was exploiting you:

Oxford dictionary (American English):

  • Make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource):  ‘500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology’
    • Use (a situation or person) in an unfair or selfish way:  ‘accusations that he exploited a wealthy patient’
    • Benefit unfairly from the work of (someone), typically by overworking or underpaying them:  ‘making money does not always mean exploiting others’

Cambridge English Dictionary:

  • to use something for your own benefit:  The two companies joined forces to exploit the potential of the Internet.
  • to use someone unfairly for your own advantage:  Factories here are coming under criticism for exploiting workers.

Macmillan Dictionary:

  • to treat someone unfairly in order to get some benefit for yourself  Children are being exploited in many of these factories.
  • to use a situation so that you get benefit from it, even if it is wrong or unfair to do this  We need to exploit every opportunity for media coverage.

One might question whether you were exploited, since you derived benefit from the relationship.  But, if your heart is broken now, you seem to feel that you were treated unfairly.  Noun: exploiter.  Adjective: exploitative.

I’m not sure what else to call somebody who grooms someone for future personal gain.  Consider:

  • Strategic symbiont
  • Symbiont/investor
  • Far-sighted symbiont
  • Anticipatory symbiont

I for one shall suggest the word SYCOPHANT with some synonyms given here under please. Definitions of sycophant :

noun : a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage Synonyms: ass-kisser, crawler, lackey, toady Types: apple polisher, bootlicker, fawner, groveler, groveller, truckler someone who humbles himself as a sign of respect; who behaves as if he had no self-respect. goody-goody a person who behaves extremely well in order to please a superior Type of: adulator, flatterer a person who uses flattery. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/sycophant Hope you like it.

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