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Am I Manipulative? Are You? Take the Quiz

Updated on February 1, 2013

Masterful Manipulation

Manipulation - Shrewd or devious management especially for one's own advantage.

What makes people good at manipulating others? Is it good on any level? The power of persuasion or the practice of deception?

Do people realize they are manipulating other people? Is it gender specific? Are females more manipulative than males?

Manipulation tactics are used every day in police interrogations, real estate deals, fraud, matters of the heart including some types of psychological control. Persuasion, art, crime or skill you should know how to spot it and how to avoid being manipulated.

I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Gender and Crime

In 2010 there were approximately 13,120,947 arrests nationwide.(Excepting traffic violations). Of those arrests a little more than 25% were committed by females.

  • 1 in every 8 persons on parole are female.
  • 1 in every 4 persons on probation are female.

Drug related crimes are the number one reason for arrest, next they seem to be associated with violent crimes or assaults and the trend trickles down to crimes like fraud, bad checks, prostitution and other social crimes.

Statistics have always proven that men tend to commit more crime. The trends appear to be changing which leaves some researchers scratching their heads and wondering if the increase could be related to females taking on more masculine traits in personality over decades. As women are more equal in rights are they becoming equal partners in crime?

Are more women adopting the, "I can do bad all by myself" attitude?

In my research I ran across a debate between two admitted "con artists." The female boasted, "I don't know why more females aren't con artists, it's an easy, lucrative job. I make $250,000 a year."

The male implied that being a good con was mostly a male related offense as the statistics will prove.

I had to chuckle when the female pointed out that because men get arrested more for that particular type of crime it just proves that women are playing a better game.

Maneater - Nelly Furtado

The Confident Man


Dinner at Marm's

You know what they say about getting in bed with snakes....
You know what they say about getting in bed with snakes.... | Source

It's a Game of Confidence

Con man is derived from the term coined "confidence man" after a man named William Thompson. He was arrested in 1849 according to the New York Herald, for his trick of approaching people as if they were good friends while gaining their confidence so he could ask to borrow their watch, which apparently only bought him a little extra time before someone recognized him in the street where he was arrested.

The most successful fencing operation of the 1860s and '70's was run by females. Marm Mandelbaum was the leader of an elite group of woman socialites that were organized and extremely profitable. Mandelbaum was hard on the eyes by all accounts but drew the admiration and loyalty of criminals. She bought the confidences of the lawyers and judges.

Marm Mandelbaum and her crew belonged to circles in rich society. They would be invited to dinners and parties where they would steal the silver or jewelry or whatever they could fence. The ladies all met up for brunches and lavish dinners where they exchanged stories about their latest endeavors.

Interesting to note, manipulation often has an element of complicity of the victim. They often begin their game by offering their own confidence in the victim, rather than the other way around. They may offer a gift or a "special deal." They often entrust the intended victim first knowing in advance the biggest con game is playing on the theory of reciprocity.

It is human nature for people to want to offer "pay back" when someone has done them a favor. Cunning people count on this as a weakness.

"Everybody has the ability to be manipulative, to be hateful and deceitful." Neil LaBute


There are many scammers who take advantage of people who are looking for requited love. Online dating sites are a breeding ground for con artists. Males and females have taken advantage of unsuspecting people to prey upon. They gain their trust and then borrow money and disappear leaving the victim feeling foolish. The worst offenders know that and count on it like an insurance policy.

Psychologists point out that it is easy for people to become confused in relationships about when they are being manipulated. The trickiest part is spotting the tactics used to control their partners while they are in the relationship.

Conniving people watch their victims like hawks noting all the details about them. Do they have the disease to please? An addiction to earning approval, validation or lack assertiveness? If a person suffers from low self esteem, low self reliance or has identity confusion the proficient manipulator will be taking notes and waiting to exploit those weaknesses.

If you are sweet and hate saying no, the manipulative co-worker will be thinking about you when they need someone to 'cover them' for a slight indiscretion at work, like clocking out for them so they can leave 5 minutes early. (Just this once!)

The biggest manipulators often fly under the radar by using superficial charm and praise. They always find something positive to point out while they work you like a smoked rib. If you suffer from vanity they will be sure to constantly tell you how great you look. If you are over conscious they'll be sure to take you on a guilt trip.

Experts say that it's common for people to think they can't be manipulated. It's one of the "it does happen to everyone except me" schools of thought. People also have the mistaken idea that they are never manipulative. Some people claim it as a skill.

Are you manipulative? Take the quiz and find out!


Submit a Comment
  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey healthyfitness - you are right! Everyone is - think about this. If I tell my kid - "if you play with matches - you will pee in your bed." Of course it isn't true but I might tell myself I am saying that to protect the kid from doing something that could harm's still manipulating. If I tell the girls, "I'll give ya 5 bucks for every A on your report card" - still manipulating!

    I think that some people differentiate between "good reasons" and "bad reasons" decide if it's an ok thing or not?

  • healthyfitness profile image

    Rick Grimes 

    6 years ago

    I think we're all a little manipulative by nature, some more than others though. I definitely see myself as on the "more manipulative" side, but i guess it comes from my need to succeed ha!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi sweetie - I think that's about normal. We all try to convince other people in our own ways - like I might tell my husband, "I will clean your truck out if you clean the refrigerator out." That is manipulation, really. I am offering something so he will do what I want ultimately.

    You hit the nail on the head though, saying, "if I have to hurt someone to get something then I can not." That is the kind of manipulation tactics that I stay away from and think are devious too. I think some people try to use "tricks" and methods of really mean things to manipulate. I used to have a boss and she loved to be so mentally cruel. She would tell me in the morning that I was to report to her office before I left, knowing I would be thinking all day I had done something wrong. That was the point. She was amused by my worry and concern. At the same time, she knew I'd be walking on eggshells and working extra hard before the end of the day meeting. She actually laughed and admitted it - I was pissed! It was SO mean...that was my job - my livelihood and my family depended on me. It wasn't very funny!

  • sweetie1 profile image


    6 years ago from India


    I wont say I am manipulative in a sense that I would manipulate event those who are not family or close friends but if I want something done then I get it done with help of family or friend. And yes I can manipulate them to do it but that's it. But If I have to hurt someone to get something then I can not.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Oh Audra! Yes karma takes care of people for us! I was married to an AH - really a con artist and manipulative guy - man. It's what actually made me take more psych classes...I couldn't understand how I had been so fooled by him! Everyone was though - he was gorgeous and so kind, so funny. I found out that was a big sham after we got married though. Suddenly, we moved far from my family, next he didn't want me to finish my college, then he wanted me to quit my job...see where that's as going? HA! I was only 23 so I didn't see it or suspect a person of being such a liar!

    But guess what? I saw him last year (we divorced in 1993) and OMG! He is fat and BALD! Hahaha! Now it's only funny because he really treasured his mane. He used more hair product than I did!! Haha! And we were on a float on the river so I was wearing my bikini..hahaha. I fared SO MUCH better than him! Hahaha. It was AWESOME!! I hope you get a day like that...I sincerely loved it!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Well it could be different Sharon - after all we all can change our minds:) haha. I know usually when I'm being manipulated and it ticks me off. I won't play. I have someone who calls me and asks - ok they don't ask - that's what annoys me - but a relative that will call me and tell me the most recent drama. Then they say everything to provoke me to say, "here take the money" but now I refuse. I am gonna play stupid from now on:) lol

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I was sincere...and I really am but it gets me into trouble SO much. I have this bad habit of being honest all the time. Yep...if I lie I feel real weird and it becomes obvious so even the smallest lies will get me all nervous! Lol. I feel as if manipulating people is wrong. I think you should be direct as much as possible, you know? I ask for what I want and it's the easiest way to go about it:) lol.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I like how you talked about the origins of the con man. While reading your hub, I thought about my relationship with a very, very bad ex. He was manipulative and abusive. But, your piece also brought the growth up n I have moved on and how I have a wonderful life with Micah! My manipulative ex...karma will get him.

  • tammyswallow profile image


    6 years ago from North Carolina

    LOL! I scored as direct luckily, but I do have other tools in my toolbox. :) Very interesting hub and crime statistics. This is so much fun!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey kanizm....I'd go for broke and say that is true for ever single one of us! Thanks for the comment:)

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Ardie! My result was that I am too sincere as well! ha! I just feel like being manipulative is deceitful and that never leads to good things! Many times, we tell ourselves we are manipulating people for good reasons or because it's good for them. Like - how about a parent who tells a child that they will wet the bed if they play with matches? It's for a good reason and might get the result you want...lots of that gets brought up because people want to justify why they feel they have to "convince" another person that their beliefs are right. It might be - who am I to say? Personally, I find that honesty - even when it hurts - has the best results...crazy me. I know. lol

    You know what bugs me the most? The kind of people who want you to do something for them...but rather than ask - they drop hints knowing you will probably offer to do said "thing" and then they can pretend it was your idea to help them. You know, the people who will come and sit next to you and start out with a deep sigh. (So you will ask them what is wrong, of course) then they will tell you their issue such as...."I have a piece of furniture that belonged to my twice removed dead grandmother's sisters, brother and my sister is moving. We can't find anyone with a truck as big as yours that can move it for us this weekend so I guess I am just going to lose it forever." (Here is where I say, "of course I will help you move your junk.") Everyone knows I have a hard time saying NO! lol I do fall for stuff like that and then I get pissed at myself for being so dumb! lol

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Ha! That's so true and you know I found that damn pie and wouldn't have shown up with out it - or the home made mashed potatoes. Everyone said I should cheat and just spoon the Bob Evans and take them in my bowl - I could have pretended. I just knew I couldn't. I can not look my mom in the eye and lie to her. I just can't. A shame for her too because I am very positive she wishes I would have lied more often! haha lol lol I always busted myself - I got in less trouble telling on my own self so I just cut to the chase if I got out of line.

    She would have known I didn't make the potatoes - somehow she would have known!! I just bet it and I would have caved right away. As soon as I got there - my step dad said, "just tell me you didn't forget the potatoes." Sheesh! No pressure! I would have turned around and gone the 20 minutes back to get 'em!

  • kanizm profile image


    6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

    Nice blog.

    Am I manipulative? Depends on the day and time.

  • Ardie profile image


    6 years ago from Neverland

    I have to admit I was a tad nervous to take the quiz....I thought it would say I AM manipulative - because I know I can be if the situation warrants it. But I am pleased to announce that I scored as "too sincere to be manipulative". Whew that was close! It also could be why I don't always get my way - I better work on that. Kelly, you always have such clever Hubs =) now can you write one and let me have it...for me? *batting eyelashes*

  • fpherj48 profile image


    6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Well, now....let's discuss this serious issue...."MOMS" (all of us........even OUR Moms) are allowed to use any and all means of trickery and/or passive/aggressive get things OUR way!......this is just a simple "GIVEN." Mom's are exempt from most rules.......GRANDMOTHERS are not only exempt from ALL rules, they get to make the rules AND change them at will!!! ROFLMAO

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Paula - I know you're straight up. I love that about you!

    I do use manipulative tactics at times. I know I do. I don't like it or having to reduce myself to it but I want what I want:) lol. I try to be very very careful because I have had sooooo many psych classes and worked for lawyers. I have a huge built in bullshit detector. Lol

    I don't like it at all when someone tries to beat around the bush - or do and say things to get me to do what they want. It makes me do the opposite. I know you've had a lot of psychology too - so I wonder if you know what I mean when I say I feel as if I have an unfair advantage?

    I feel that it's wrong. If I want something...I ask for it. If I have a question I want an answer to - ill ask that question rather than walk around it trying to elicit the response I am looking for.

    Just mom was manipulating me...I know she doesn't realize (or DOES she?!) she's doing it but it went like this...

    "Mom, I used a cheap pie crust. All the tops fell off the mini pies!"

    (I expected her to say, no problem) what she actually said was, "OH NOOOOOO! Now we aren't going to have enough dessert! What are we going to do?!! first of all that means what are YOU going to do unless she had a mouse in her pocket! Secondly, it meant, you have an hour to find another dessert on TG day. Do it. Now Bitch.


  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Mhatter - I can see why you'd feel that way - I just had a guy call me for a charity and I don't do business by phone at all. Poor guy! I felt sorry for him...I knew he was just trying to work and make a buck.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Melovy - thank you! I agree too - these are LEARNED behavior and while its hard to UNlearn them - it can be done. I think some people don't really realize manipulation is a real bad way to get what you want.

    I am a firm believer in cutting thru the crap and getting to the meat of the matter. I don't like it when I feel like I'm being manipulated and I suspect no one does:) lol.

    Negative attention gets me...I still have trouble grasping why people like negative attention, you know?

  • fpherj48 profile image


    6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Kelly, my dear friend.....I would take the time to take that test, but the reality is, it's a total waste of time for this old lady.

    I couldn't be "manipulative," if I WANTED to be, took a course in Manipulation 101, researched the subject, watched the manipulating pros at work for days or even made a deal with the devil.

    I am 100% pure, authentic, point, blank, in-your-face-, what you see is what you get....tell-it-like-it-is.....painfully a FAULT. There are those who find this unbearable and unacceptable.....and of course, they are the people who don't spend much time around me....or at the very least,they ask me no questions, that might require a disingenuous and/or politically correct answer......because they already know that I will tell them the truth, based upon facts and common sense and what is right/just. NO B.S. period. "Manipulation," as you have as much, stated, is a game people play. I don't like "games"....don't play them, nor do I accept any one playing them with me. I find it a total waste of precious time, energy, brain power and morality. As a result, I am not easily manipulated, although there are cases, I will allow someone to believe they are manipulating me, just because I LOVE them and would do what they ask of me anyway....LOL.

    Lest I neglect to mention, there are also those who appreciate, accept and respect me for my belief and attitude. Either way, love me or prefer to avoid me......I am who I am, at all times, with everyone and anyone...despite the cheers or the jeers.....I am not in the business of collecting devoted fans/friends, by sly, phony, cunning and sneaky means. To me, that's about as stupid and useless a thing anyone can do. I use my life in realistic, genuine ways. Basically, what this all boils down to.....NO WAY IN HELL, COULD I EVER BE A POLITICIAN!! .......Great Hub.....REALLY great!! Up & shared.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for this. Being in the charity business,one has to be manipulative.

  • Melovy profile image

    Yvonne Spence 

    6 years ago from UK

    Very interesting hub Kelly. I agree with you that everyone is manipulative to an extent. (Except me of course and I can't be manipulated either! Ha, ha! If only… )

    I also totally agree with mperrottet that we learn these tactics early on, and I think people often do it because they don't expect to get what they want otherwise. Which is possibly odd, when you think about the con-merchants, but actually even they probably don't think they would get what they want if they ask outright.

    Clearly this is a thought provoking hub.

    And wishing your daughter a speedy recovery!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Drbj! I must have missed the Machiavellian hub of yours! Ill even link it up:)

    I think we all want to say "I'm not manipulative. No! Not me!" We are. It's human nature. Some people use it for a job or gainful employment:) and I honestly do not think some people realize they are doing it.

    My husband told me the other day that I should just give one of our reports away for free because someone did a "favor" for him. I said, "quiet and send them the bill. If I have to so much as poke holes in a file folder, I'm losing money. Favor schmavor!" I can't believe how easy he is to manipulate!

    Good think for him I'm not so darn easy after all right?! Hahaha

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    Excellent information and a fun quiz, Kelly. I took the quiz since I have low resistance to same. Found out I am sincere. But I will admit that in business and on occasion with ostreperous clients, I have been Machiavellian - in an elegant way, of course.

    See my hub: 'How Machiavellian Are You?'

    Voted up+.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Bill! Happy Thanksgiving! I have a sick child today so she and I will have a nice quiet holiday and wait for Grandma to send us a special plate:) lol. Doesn't it figure illness strikes the day before the holiday?!

    I bet you aren't manipulative much at all Bill - I do think you are straight up and upfront. You are not a game player and I love that about you:)

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey cheap trick! I love that game! Haha ill have to try it:)

    No you aren't wrong - we all ARE manipulative but for what reason and to what degree? I think we all do believe we are too smart to be snagged but the truth is we are too naïve to see it:) lol.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi mperrottet - I totally agree with you. I do think tiny children learn this behavior and use it unless the mom picks up on it and shuts them down:) lol. It's one of those situations where many just don't see it!

    I have one child that cries to get her way. The other one argues.

    Which one do you think gets what they want the most?

    The crier! Lol. Is more tolerable and tricky! Hahaha

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Faith - I do think we are all manipulative to some degree. I think it becomes bothersome when people use these tactics and are not aware how much they rely on this stuff to "use" other people. I sometimes think people really don't know they should not sometimes.

    I think it's better to come right out and say what you mean. If someone wants something for example - like how about those people who complain about how tired they are when they want help - knowing someone will offer it if they asked? I guess it seems better if they trick a person into helping? Thank you so much Faith!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    6 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Very interesting my friend. I don't need a quiz to tell you I'm not manipulative. I'm much too straight forward and in your face to manipulate.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  • cheaptrick profile image


    6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

    I may be wrong here but...It seems manipulation is an integral part of human nature.The real question is whether the manipulating is positive or negative?

    My GF and I play a game of 'Who can make who feel better'.A great game of manipulation I highly recommend.Very well presented hub


  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 

    6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

    I think that people who are manipulative may learn these tactics early on if they can easily manipulate their parents to get their own way. We all have seen children who are obviously controlling their parents through being overly "cute" or having temper tantrums. Even my dog is manipulative - she looks at me adoringly with her bug brown eyes and puts her head on my lap when I'm having a snack that she wants me to share with her. Good hub - voted up and interesting.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    6 years ago from southern USA

    Wow Kelly,

    This is really a great informative hub here you have written. I did take the test, and I am only manipulative as a last resort. Ha. I just don't like playing games with people, but just being honest and upfront with them, and would hope they were with me. However, I believe women know they are, as they said back in the day "being played" and sometimes play along just to see how long the other will continue in this games. We are dealing with another human being, and risking their very lives by just using them for one's own selfish reasons. It is always best to be honest and upfront from the start. A lot of people are what we call "people pleasers" and just like to keep the peace and do not like conflict. I think women nowadays can be, if not more so, manipulative than men, as we have been given our feminine wilds that men just seem to fall for right away, and women do know just what to say. However, there are a lot of men on the same level, but I think most women know they are being manipulated and just want to see just how long they are going to keep this up. Love the Mary J. Blige and other video here. Thanks for the history on this subject, as it is very interesting.

    Excellent write here. Voted Way up. Sharing

    In His Love, Faith Reaper


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