12 little-known phrases covert narcissists use to win you over

Covert narcissists don’t behave like the typical narcissist—no “me, me, me” and no dramatic meltdowns.

In fact, you might even grow to like them because they’re like the humble introvert next door.

And since they seem harmless, they have the ability to manipulate you without you suspecting a thing!

How do they do it?

With words.

Just by using powerful phrases, they can win your heart and make you do things for them.

Want to know some of these phrases?

Here are 12 little-known phrases covert narcissists use to win you over.

1) “You’re a really good friend, you know?”

Covert narcissists weaponize praise.

They use it to encourage “positive” behavior and loyalty.

When they praise you for being a good friend, they want you to become a much better friend—and by that, what they’re really saying is “side with me” or “do things for me.”

Because hey, that’s what “good friends” do for each other, right?

By saying this, they’re also planting a seed in your head that if you won’t side with them or do things for them, you’re being a “bad friend”.

Let me tell you—I have a lot of good friends and we never tell each other “you’re a good friend”…because it’s such a strange compliment!

So be wary when someone says this to you— especially if you’re not really that close to begin with.

2) “You’re not like everyone else.”

We all want to feel special. And covert narcs know this!

They’ll say “you’re not like everyone else” to make you feel good about yourself. Why? We tend to do things to people who make us feel good.

But there’s more to it than that.

They’re also saying this phrase to discourage you from being like everyone else.

Perhaps they did something wrong and everyone thinks they’re a bad person. 

Then telling you this line is their way of manipulating you to think they’re actually not that bad…that they might actually be a good person if you really take a closer look.

3) “I feel like everyone’s against me…”

Narcissists love to play the victim.

Even if they actually deserve the punishment they’re getting, they’ll say all these “poor me” phrases that can tug at our hearts.

Of course, they’re doing it to win us over.

They’d especially use this technique on you if they know you’re an empath. That’s because they know it almost always works!

Who wouldn’t want to side with an “underdog”? Who wouldn’t pity the one who’s crying and feeling miserable?

Covert narcissists are scary because they are experts at emotional manipulation. Be very careful.

4) “I’m just thinking of what’s best for you.”

If you caught them doing a major offense—and they know you already hate them—they’d say this line.

They’d make you think that as long as they have good intentions, then their actions are justified.

They told your boyfriend about your secret? That’s because they’re “concerned” about you.

They fought with your parents? That’s because they’re just trying to “defend” you.

Even if it’s something not directly related to you, they’ll find a way to insert “this is for you” phrases so you’d consider them a good guy.

5) “They said awful things about you.”

If a narc is desperate to win you over, they’d turn their enemy into your common enemy.

Let’s say, once upon a time, their enemy simply said “I’m not ready to work with Jack right now,” they’ll relay it to you in a malicious way.

They’ll say “Nancy said she doesn’t like to work with you. She thinks you’re not talented enough.”

This will not only make you hate the other person, it will make you feel indebted to the narcissist for “telling you the truth.”

6) “Don’t tell this to anyone, but…”

The act of sharing secrets creates a false sense of intimacy.

Covert narcissists use this tactic to make you feel like you’re much closer than you actually are.

And they’ll make sure they’re hitting two birds with one stone by saying a “secret” about their enemy.

If they had a fight with your colleague Susan, for instance— and they want you to side with them—they’ll say “Hey, I know I’m not supposed to say this, but Susan is having an affair with our boss.”

Them telling you this juicy gossip will make you feel a little closer to them, and a little judgmental towards their enemy—a double win for the narc!

7) “You know I’m on your side, right?”

Narcissists want you to “reciprocate” to each other’s needs.

They’ll tell you they’re on your side so you’ll also be on their side—plain and simple.

Of course, after saying this line, they’ll make sure to remind you of the many things they’ve done for you in the past.

They’ll say “I remember we stayed in the office till midnight to finish your report!” 

Or “Oh yeah, we went out drinking every night when your ex cheated on you.”

Narcs use this line so you’ll give them favors. And it always works!

8) “You used to be very supportive of me.”

“Used to be”—as in the past.

Narcissists use this line to make you feel guilty for changing.

But they won’t have a meltdown. They’ll just make sure that they say it in a very subtle way. After all, they don’t want you to suspect that they’re manipulative.

It has other variations like “We used to be so close”, or “You used to be my hero.”

They’re hoping that by saying these lines, you’ll go back to being the supportive friend you once were.

9) “Just this once!”

It’s hard to say “no” to someone who asks favors and says “just this once.”

They’re like a desperate salesman who just won’t quit.

But what’s funny is that they’ve already been asking you favors left and right!

This usually works because how heartless of you to not give them ONE “little” favor, right?

But these favors aren’t really small!

They could be as big as you siding with them when they committed a major mistake, or you doing things for them that could ruin your reputation.

10) “I’m doing this for the sake of everybody.”

“I’m not just thinking about myself here…”

“This is for all of us…”

Covert narcissists are experts at making themself look like selfless heroes who just want what’s good for humanity.

They stole some money? It’s for everybody!

They lied about something important? It’s for everybody!

This is their way to convert you so you’ll be on their side.

After all, they “sacrificed” themselves for a bigger cause—something that could benefit YOU, too.

The least you can do is side with them when they need it the most.

11) “To be honest…”

A really good manipulator wants you to believe they’re honest and raw and authentic.

If they’re going to say something that might sound like BS, they’d say this line first.

“To be honest, I really don’t want to run for mayor. But I have no choice!”

“To be honest, I really don’t want to fight with Emma. But I don’t want her to do this to you, too.”

Do you know someone who’s fond of using “to be honest”? Be careful. You might be dealing with a covert narcissist.

12) “WE can make things better.”

It was their plan!

They did everything on their own.

They never even informed you about it…

But the moment they need your help, all of a sudden, you’re in the picture!

Now it seems like you’re part of everything.

Covert narcs love using the pronoun “we” to make you feel like you belong. 

Why? Because they want to gain your loyalty and support. 

You can notice this technique being used by politicians and people in authority…that’s because it’s proven to work.

Final thoughts

Do you know someone who regularly uses these phrases?

Then you’re definitely dealing with a covert narcissist.

Ask yourself what they could possibly want from you and if it’s something you truly want to give.

If you realize that what they want from you does not match your values, then don’t give it to them!

So what if you’re a “bad friend”? So what if they helped you in the past?

You’re an adult. Don’t allow them to control you and play with you like a marionette.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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