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 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 23:35

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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.