Phrases Manipulative People Use to Gain Your Trust

We all want to believe people are genuinely kind. Unfortunately, not everyone is – and those with bad intentions know just what to say to win you over. Protect yourself by spotting these deceptively charming phrases.

1. “I know you better than you know yourself.”

When a manipulative person claims to know you better than you know yourself, it undermines your self-confidence and makes you question your own judgment and perceptions. Rather than accepting what they say at face value, trust your own understanding of who you are and what you want. Maintaining a strong sense of self is important for avoiding manipulation.

2. “I’m on your side” or “I understand what you’re going through.”

While trying to seem empathetic can be a tactic to gain trust, some manipulators may use phrases like this only to exploit vulnerabilities. Make sure to verify their understanding and support through their actions over time rather than just words alone. Protect yourself by remaining somewhat cautious until you have a clear sense of whether they truly have your best interests at heart or hidden motives.

3. “You can trust me completely.”

two male friends talking at restaurant

Expressing complete trust in you is a manipulative tactic used to make you feel obligated to reciprocate that trust. This creates a sense of indebtedness, which then makes it easier for the manipulator to control and influence your decisions.

4. “I would never lie to you.”

two women chatting outside with drinks

Manipulative people may use this phrase to establish themselves as trustworthy and honest. However, it’s important to remember that actions speak louder than words, and manipulators often use deception and manipulation to achieve their goals. Trust is earned over time through consistency and transparency rather than empty promises. Their behavior is enough to make you question whether they have any feelings at all.

5. “You’re the only one I can rely on.”

man and woman talking on city street

By isolating you from your support network, manipulative people create a sense of dependency and control. They want you to believe that they are the only person who truly understands and supports you, making it harder for you to seek help or question their motives. Maintain connections with people you can actually trust.

6. “Everyone else is against us.”

friends having a convo at cafe

Manipulators may try to create an “us against the world” mentality to strengthen their control over you. By portraying other people as enemies or unreliable, they manipulate you into relying solely on them for support and validation. Seek a bunch of different perspectives rather than just one controlled narrative.

7. “You owe me.”

Diverse employees chatting during coffee break, walking in modern office, Asian businesswoman wearing glasses sharing ideas, discussing project with colleague, having pleasant conversation

Manipulative people may use this phrase to make you feel indebted to them, whether it’s for a favor they did for you or for their supposed trust in you. This tactic is aimed at making you feel obligated to comply with their requests or demands.

8. “If you really loved me, you would…”

This phrase is often used to guilt-trip and manipulate you into doing something against your will. It preys on your emotions and attempts to make you question your love or commitment to the manipulator.

9. “You’re overreacting” or “You’re too sensitive.”

Manipulative people love to dismiss your valid concerns or emotions by gaslighting you and making you doubt your own feelings. They aim to undermine your confidence and make you question your perception of reality.

10. “I’ve sacrificed so much for you.”

Manipulators may use this phrase to guilt-trip you into giving in to their demands or to make you feel like you owe them the world because of all they’ve done for you. They want you to believe that they have made significant sacrifices for your sake in order to create a sense of obligation.

11. “You’re being paranoid” or “You’re crazy.”

By using these phrases, manipulative people try to undermine your credibility and make you question your sanity. This is a form of gaslighting that aims to control and manipulate your perception of reality. Don’t let it!

12. “No one else will ever love you like I do.”

Manipulators may use this phrase to instill fear and dependency, making you believe that they’re the only person who will ever care for you. This tactic is aimed at isolating you and preventing you from seeking healthier relationships.

13. “I’m doing this for your own good.”

Manipulators may claim their harmful or controlling actions are meant to benefit you. However, trust your own judgment and instincts rather than blindly accepting what other people say is “good” for you without understanding their true motives.

14. “You asked for my honest opinion.”

Some manipulators use “honesty” and “transparency” as excuses to say hurtful things meant to diminish your self-esteem and confidence. Be wary of those who claim to be “just being honest” while disregarding basic respect and care for your feelings.

15. “We’re a team. Where you go, I go.”

Expressing an extreme codependent mentality can be a tactic used to isolate you from independent thought and prevent you from pursuing your own interests separate from the manipulator. Healthy relationships allow space for individuality.

16. “If you leave, I’ll kill myself.”

Threats of self-harm are a form of emotional blackmail aimed at keeping you trapped in an unhealthy dynamic out of fear or guilt. True caring involves respecting another’s autonomy and freedom to make their own choices. If someone uses this on you, call the proper authorities who can help them and get as far away as you possibly can.

17. “I’m the only person you can trust.”

man and woman talking outside

By claiming sole authority over who is trustworthy, manipulators undermine other relationships in your life that could challenge their control over your perceptions and decisions. Maintain a support system beyond any one person.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.