# An opportunist friend

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

I'm a word, I tell you words.
I'm short, I shorten your path.
I've the answer, now tell me it!

What am I?

Hint #1:

I'm not far.

Hint #2:

Far I'm not, indeed I'm here.

• I really hope the answer isn't 'boner'...... Mar 24, 2015 at 19:21
• Nah it is not... Mar 24, 2015 at 19:22

Are you

a hint?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

Hints are often hidden by spoiler tags

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.

As people fail to guess the correct answers, hints are given.

Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

The creator of the riddle chooses when to give hints.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

"hint" is a word, and a hint provides many helpful words.

The task is helping people figure out the riddle.

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Hints are usually shorter than the original clue/riddle, and they help you get to the solution.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

Hints, by their nature, allude to the correct answer, as if they are beckoning for you to get it right.

• That's it! Well done! Mar 26, 2015 at 6:06

It must be the

apostrophe-sign, like in "I'm" or "I've"

Explanation:

First of all, the apostrophe is used throughout the whole riddle, so it is probably the clue.

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

The apostrophe may appear or may not. The writer decides if to include the apostrophe.

I'm a word, I tell you words.
I'm short, I shorten your path.
I've the answer, now tell me it!

The apostrophe makes the statement shorter. It is no word, but it "tells" you words.

Second guess, based on the first one:

abbreviation

• Wow, I keep getting brilliant answers! Unfortunately, this isn't the right answer! Mar 25, 2015 at 12:44
• Well, it was worth trying.. :P Btw. when I read your riddle, in my head it is vocalized by the voice of Yoda from Star Wars. Mar 25, 2015 at 12:49
• Master Obi Wan, that was intended, though not helpful for the solution eheh! Mar 25, 2015 at 12:58

It seems like a bit of a trick given the title, but...

OPPORTUNITY?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

It's often hard to find an opportunity; metaphorically, it's well hidden away.

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

You often need to wait for an opportunity to do something.

Need me you will, so I may appear.

If you're lucky, an opportunity appears!

Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

An opportunity doesn't decide anything by itself; you have to decide to take it.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

"Opportunity" is a word.

It may be an opportunity to perform some task.

I'm short, I shorten your path.

If you seize an opportunity, it may significantly reduce your labour.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

See above :-)

• Nice, but not the answer! Mar 25, 2015 at 6:21

This might be the deepest, most thought-provoking answer to a riddle ever. It's

Siri

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

It's a feature of the phone that stays in the background until the owner asks for it ("Siri, how do I ...")

I'm a word, I tell you words.

Siri responds to questions in speech. And, she can define words for you.

Siri keeps tasks (reminders, alarms, etc) for you

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Siri is a short word. She shortens your path by giving you GPS directions.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

Disclaimer

I don't own an iPhone.

• Cool, but it isn't the correct answer! Mar 25, 2015 at 6:22
• The Disclaimer made my day! :D May 5, 2016 at 15:06

Perhaps your unreliable friend is ...

Muse

And why?

The muse is not visible, yet we need it to create anything worthwhile. It may not appear; the master of the muse is fate. Muses inspire in words and deeds; "I shorten the path" is the least convincing fit for this answer.

• Good thoughs, but this isn't the answer! Mar 25, 2015 at 6:20

tongue

Reasoning

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

very hard to see your own tongue without a mirror

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

you need it for tasting

Need me you will, so I may appear.

when eating

Appear I may, I don't decide.

tongue can't control itself

Decide I don't, my master does.

humans do

I'm a word, I tell you words.

helps you to articulate

we all know the purposes of a tongue

I'm short, I shorten your path.

chewing is the first step in the digestive process and tongue aids in that

I've the answer, now tell me it!

you're a tongue!

• I like your answer, but it's not what I'm looking for! Mar 25, 2015 at 15:19

Is it

History?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

History records many event, but some remain hidden

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

While not all are recorded, a story of the past is still needed.

Need me you will, so I may appear.

History exists because you 'will' (in future) need it

Appear I may, I don't decide.

It's not the one who wrote history decides its content,

Decide I don't, my master does.

But the people / things in the past.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

History is a word, and it tells you 'his-story' in words

A task to record the past

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Human history is short, yet contains valuable information to shorten your path (to success, for the opportunist friend)

I've the answer, now tell me it!

History!

• I like the attempt, but it's not the answer! Mar 25, 2015 at 19:58

I think its a

Explanation line by line:

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden. Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me. Need me you will, so I may appear.

Appear I may, I don't decide. Decide I don't, my master does.

It isn't up to the phone to open the app but the user can.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

The navigation app tells which path you have to take.