I want a word to describe someone that doesn't ask for something. However, they drop hints they want it.

For example: a kid keeps saying "it's too high up I can't reach it" Instead of asking for help


Saying you were sick last week and don't want to get sick again so your friend closes the window instead of asking for him/her to close it

  • Does closing windows count as dropping a hint? That sounds more like taking initiative.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 15, 2017 at 11:33
  • 2
    @Lawrence The person hinting doesn't close the window, they just make oblique health references until someone else does.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 15, 2017 at 13:40
  • @Spagirl Hm, that picks up an inconsistency in the OP's example. I think "you" and "your friend" were supposed to refer to the same person.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 15, 2017 at 23:35

3 Answers 3


You might describe such a person as 'Playing the Victim'. The phrase can cover a range of behaviours, but includes this kind of 'poor, little me' manipulativeness. Wikipedia describes this:

Manipulators often play the victim role ("poor me") by portraying themselves as victims of circumstances or someone else's behavior in order to gain pity or sympathy or to evoke compassion and thereby get something from someone. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering, and the manipulator often finds it easy and rewarding to play on sympathy to get cooperation.

It appears that in psychology terms such a person may be described as a 'Dependent Addict'. This type is described in Human Manipulation - A Handbook By Malcolm Coxall

seeks to inspire constant pity and a need to be helped, supported, guided and perhaps manipulated. In this way they will let others do their work for them.... The addict can be parasitic, eternally childish, a hypochondriac, a helpless individual or a whiner.

However, not every person who likes to get their own way can fairly be classed as suffering psychological disorder and the phrase 'dependent addict' may be prone to being misinterpreted as refering to substance addiction, so I'd advocate caution in deployment of that term. Colloquially, I might call such a person a 'professional victim'. Within my family we call such a person a 'helpless Hetty', but that doesn't seem to be a term the Internet knows.


You might describe such a person a passive aggressive. Although not all passive aggression manifests in this way. Several other types of passive aggression exist.

Types of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Note - Making Wistful Statements tops this particular list


I think you are trying to come up with the word inadvertent. That’s how I use the word anyway, some may say that’s wrong but it’s like this..

I messaged a guy I haven’t talked to in a long time and out last exchange was super awkward.

When we established that it was me texting him and this is my new number’

He says “okay cool, so what else is new”

He is inadvertently asking me what I want/the reason to be texting him.

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