“No,” “I don’t think so,” “I’m not sure,” “I don’t know.” These are all phrases we’ve probably used at one time or another to avoid giving a direct answer to a question. And while they may seem like harmless white lies, research shows that these types of responses can actually be quite manipulative.
Manipulation is often thought of as a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, sometimes it can be used for good. For example, if you’re trying to get your boss to give you a raise, you might use manipulation to get what you want. The key is to do it in a way that is ethical and not harmful to others.
So how can you manipulate someone without being a jerk? Here are a few tips:
1. Be indirect
Instead of directly asking for what you want, be indirect. For example, instead of saying “I want a raise,” try saying something like “I feel like I’m not being paid what I’m worth.” This will make the other person feel like they need to justify why they’re not giving you a raise, which puts them in a position to make the argument for you.
2. Use flattery
People love to be flattered, so use this to your advantage. For example, you might say something like “I really admire your work ethic” or “I’ve always looked up to you.” This will make the other person feel good and more likely to do what you want.
3. Play on emotions
Appealing to someone’s emotions is a powerful way to get them to do what you want. For example, if you’re trying to get a friend to help you move, you might say something like “I’m really struggling right now and could really use your help.” This will make the other person feel empathy for you and more likely to help.
4. Be persistent
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. People are more likely to give in if you’re persistent. For example, if you’re trying to get your partner to go on a date with you, you might keep asking until they finally say yes.
5. Give them an out
People often feel guilty saying no, so give them an out. For example, you might say something like “I know you’re really busy, so if you can’t help me, I understand.” This will make the other person feel less guilty and more likely to say yes.
Manipulation can be a powerful tool, but it’s important to use it ethically and responsibly. If you do, you’ll be surprised at how often you can get what you want without even asking.