7 phrases manipulative people use to gain your trust

In the reality of our world, trust is an often-misused currency.

We need to look not just at the words used by other people, but also the underlying intentions behind those phrases — or else, we risk putting our trust in the wrong people.

This implies that the words we use matter significantly, but only when they are used to manipulate emotions and gain trust, affecting both the person and those around them negatively.

So if you want to avoid being manipulated, this article is for you.

Here, I have outlined five phrases commonly used by manipulative individuals to gain your trust. We will analyze the implications of these convincingly deceptive expressions.

Let’s delve in.

1) “I understand how you feel”

You’ve probably heard someone say, “I understand how you feel.” It’s a common phrase, one that slips off the tongue easily in conversations, especially during times of distress or conflict.

On the surface, it sounds empathetic, doesn’t it? Like the speaker is stepping into your shoes, seeing things from your perspective.

But when used by manipulative people, this phrase carries a different weight.

Manipulators use this phrase to create an illusion of empathy, but their actions reveal otherwise, and they primarily use such expressions for their benefit. They use it to establish trust, to make you feel understood and accepted.

It’s a strategic move, a means to an end.

If you can distance yourself from their words and focus more on their actions, you’ll start seeing the disconnect. You won’t need to second-guess yourself.

2) “You’re overthinking this”

One that you might have heard before is, “You’re overthinking this.” It’s a phrase often used in discussions when disagreements arise or when someone challenges another’s point of view.

At face value, it seems like an attempt to calm down an overly analytical mind — a gentle nudge towards simplicity. But in the hands of a manipulator, this phrase takes on a different shade.


Because manipulators deploy this phrase as a means to invalidate your concerns or doubts. It’s not about encouraging simplicity — it’s about subtly undermining your thought process, making you question your judgment. 

3) “We’re on the same page”

Let’s shift our focus to a phrase that might initially seem harmless, even encouraging.

You’ve likely heard it in both professional and personal settings, “We’re on the same page.” It’s a phrase that often follows a discussion or negotiation, signaling agreement and alignment.

At first, it gives the impression that the speaker is aligned with your thoughts and perspectives, but when spoken by a manipulator, this phrase holds a different implication.

“We’re on the same page” is used not to affirm agreement but to subtly impose their views.

They don’t genuinely seek alignment; instead, they use this phrase to nudge you towards their perspective, making you believe that your views are identical. It’s a clever strategy to gain trust.

4) “I’m only trying to help”

Now let’s discuss another phrase that you’ve probably come across in various interactions, “I’m only trying to help.” This phrase is often used in situations where advice is given, or when someone steps into a situation uninvited.

It might seem like a phrase that signifies a selfless effort, a concern about your wellbeing, or a desire to assist — but not when it’s used by a manipulator.

For them, “I’m only trying to help” is not a genuine offer for assistance but as a means to establish control over your decisions and actions. It’s not about helping — it’s about subtly steering you towards their desired outcome.

5) “Trust me, I’ve been there”

pic1607 7 phrases manipulative people use to gain your trust

We all have experiences from our past that shape us, and sharing them can be a powerful tool for connection and empathy.

But in some cases, it’s a phrase used to manipulate.

Don’t believe me? Well, let me share a personal experience. 

I once had a friend who would often use the phrase, “Trust me, I’ve been there.” At first, it seemed compassionate and understanding. It felt like my friend was attempting to connect on a deeper level by sharing personal experiences.

But with time, I realized this phrase was used more often to manipulate situations to their advantage than to provide genuine comfort or understanding.

My friend would use this phrase as a tool to gain trust and influence decisions. I thought it was simply them being empathetic, but I later realized that it was about asserting control by claiming superiority of experience.

This realization was heartbreaking. I had to learn the hard way that these words can be used to manipulate. It’s sad, I know, but often, you need to be wary of the phrase as it is commonly used for manipulation.

6) “I only want what’s best for you”

This phrase is one I particularly hate — “I only want what’s best for you.”

We commonly hear it from loved ones – parents, partners, friends – who genuinely care about our wellbeing. 

But here’s the twist:

When used by manipulators, this phrase is not a reflection of genuine concern but a tool to impose their will under the guise of goodwill. It gives the impression that they have your best interest at heart, but often, it’s their interest they’re guarding.

They can say they want what’s best for you, when it’s actually the other way around — they want what’s best for them. 

So don’t think it’s a phrase that signifies genuine concern when it comes from a manipulator. That’s them trying to subtly control you to do what they want you to do.

7) “I would never lie to you”

Let’s examine a phrase that, paradoxically, should raise a red flag instead of reassuring trust – “I would never lie to you.”

Now, honesty is a cornerstone of any relationship, be it personal or professional. But when this phrase is used excessively or without a valid context, it might not be as transparent as it sounds.

What I mean to say is that when someone constantly feels the need to affirm their honesty, it may be an indication of the opposite — manipulators often use this phrase as a defensive mechanism to preemptively dismiss any doubts you might have about their integrity.

It’s not about reassuring trust — it’s about maintaining control and deflecting suspicion.

Final thoughts

Human behavior is already complicated — and it becomes even more so when manipulation enters the equation.

That’s why it’s so important for us to learn to discern when someone is using seemingly innocent phrases to manipulate us. These phrases, as harmless as they may seem, are often laced with ulterior motives.

By becoming aware of these manipulative phrases and understanding their implications, we can better protect ourselves and maintain genuine, healthy relationships.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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