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10 Ways to Manipulate People

Updated on January 10, 2014

Nobody likes being manipulated, and it’s generally a bad thing to do to get your way. But sometimes, it’s needed. Say you wanted to calm someone down or want them to help you…what would you do?

1. Ask for help

Feeling lazy? Want someone to do you a favor? Then open the conversation with “I need your help.” This increases your chances of getting your favor done, because people don’t like the guilt of not helping others.

This makes sense. If you start off by saying, “Man, can you mow that lawn for me?” they’ll think you’re joking. But a simple “I need your help” makes you seem innocent.

2. Fear and relief

Basically, to do this, you need to scare the person, then relieve them, then ask them for the favor. For example, say, “You know when you were looking after my dog for the weekend? When he came home I thought you’d given him something he’s allergic too, which can cause death.” — (pause here, this is where their fear peaks) — “But we took him to the vet and he was just tired,” (relief). “By the way, can you look after him again this weekend?”

3. Just your ally

You know what angry people are like. Waving their hands around, and refusing to admit they’re wrong even though they know they are. How do you calm them down? Well, when someone is being confrontational, try standing next to them as opposed to in front of them.

You won’t appear as much of a threat, as you’ll be right next to them, viewing what’s around you in their eyes, making you seem like an ally.

4. Victimize yourself

This is a great way to get what you want, as long as you don’t overdo it. Use phrases such as: “It’s fine, I’m used to this,” or “I don’t need a ride home, I need to lose some weight so I’ll walk.”

People will feel sorry for you and will try to do anything to reverse that thought you have about yourself. You’ll be getting sympathy and car rides in no time!

5. Use their name

When talking to someone, repeat that person’s name as many times as you can without it coming off as weird. It helps them like you more since you’re using something personal to refer to them, and not just “you”.

This’ll also obviously help you remember their name so the next time you meet them you don’t have to awkwardly wave your hands around, trying to remember whether it was Katie or Zagulele.

6. Have unusual requests

This one is a weird one. You have to ask the person for an unusual request, then once you’ve confused them, ask them for the normal one. For example, ask your friend for three-and-a-half tubes of toothpaste before asking for the homework answers.

If you just straightaway ask for money or a ride, the person will be more likely to say no because hearing these requests time and time again has conditioned their mind to say no immediately. The strange request will throw them off.

7. Bribery and blackmail

Two of the meanest techniques…bribery and blackmail. If the person still isn’t bowing down to your request of ice-cream, then it’s time to bring these in. “If you give me a scoop of cookie-dough ice-cream I’ll get you that exchange student’s number,” or “Get me that cookie-dough ice-cream or I’ll tell that exchange student your clothes are made out of hamster fur.”

I would worry for your friendship or any future friendships with this person, though.

8. Rephrase and repeat their words

Have you ever had to listen to someone going on about something so boring you’d rather watch paint dry? Of course you have. But sometimes the option of walking away or falling asleep isn’t there. So while you’re daydreaming, try to rephrase and repeat what the person is telling you, even if you don’t get it.

It makes them think that you’re listening and really interested in what they’re saying.

9. Nod

While saying something to someone, make sure to nod throughout. The other person will begin nodding too (because it’s in the human nature to copy what another one of us is doing), subconsciously convincing themselves that they agree with you.

10. Emulating actions

You want to check whether the person you’re talking to is interested in what you have to say? Then do a simple action like folding your arms or moving your head to the right. If they’re interested they’ll mirror your actions.

Why? In #9 we already discussed that it’s in the human nature to copy. A person will also do this if they like or trust you.

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