Deal With Manipulative People

If we encounter manipulative people using psychology to gain an unfair advantage, be upfront and honest without being hostile. Seek further clarity in their motives and goals and the underlying reasons.

We need to focus on trust, not the various tricks in the book, to earn respect. Trust is the single most character trait that any person will look up to.

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How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

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Contradicting others does not build good relations, because as soon as people hear contradicting information that is proving them wrong, their logical instincts get shut down and they slide into a fight-or-flight response.

While it does feel good to one-up someone with a clever story as a reply to theirs or to correct someone, just don’t do it. Suspend your ego and ignore the desire to be always correct, or to be emotionally hijacked by a situation in which we are not in agreement with someone else's thoughts and actions.

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  • When you meet someone don’t judge, but listen attentively. Validate your thoughts without colouring them with prejudice or judgement.
  • Take your time to understand the person’s needs, wants, dreams and aspirations.
  • If during listening you come across stuff you don’t understand or agree with, act curious and dig deeper.

Most people want to talk about themselves, as it provides their mind with a pleasurable sensation. Let them do so.

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The former head of the FBI’s behavioural analysis program, Robin Dreeke has studied human interpersonal relations for about three decades.

He has some expert advice on how to put strangers at ease, and how to use your body language like a pro, among other things.

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Everyone has struggles, obstacles and challenges in life. Asking about what kind of challenges the other person is going through is an ideal path to a great conversation. The challenges they may have could be at work, or at home.

Seeking advice is one of the best ways to influence peers, superiors and team members. It is a soft, persuasive approach that is effective, provided you are sincere.

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Asking people to talk and simply listening to them makes you a better conversationalist and extremely likeable.

The basics of active listening are:

  1. Do not interrupt, disagree or evaluate the other person’s words.
  2. Nod your head or make appropriate acknowledgement.
  3. Repeat back a short summary of what you heard.
  4. Inquire and ask questions, showing real interest.

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If you tell someone you are leaving in a minute, they are relaxed and open to listening to you, but if you are at a bar and offer a drink to someone, their shields go up. Tell them when you are leaving, upfront.

If the approach is preceded by inquiring politely if they have a minute, the compliance rate among strangers is higher. People need to feel safe, in control and not trapped in talking to some weird person they don’t know.

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Stop thinking about what you are going to say next when someone else stops talking.

Simply be curious and hear out what the other person is saying, even if you are listening but not shutting up mentally, you are not really listening, but are thinking about what you want to say. Ignore that instinct and just explore what the other person is talking about.

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Just like our words need to be positive, vibrant and free of ego, your body language has to match, and a smile is the best way to portray it quickly. A gentle smile with a palms-up gesture suggests openness and comfort. Smile slowly, not in a hurry, and don't grin.

Smiling also makes us happier and provides the brain with the same amount of pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate.

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  • Ignoring context: Crossed arms don’t mean much if the room is cold or the chair they’re sitting in doesn’t have armrests. 
  • Not looking for clusters: It’s a consistent grouping of actions (sweating, touching the face, and stuttering together) that is really going to tell you something. 
  • Not getting a baseline: If someone is always jumpy, jumpiness doesn’t tell you anything. 
  • Not being conscious of biases: If you already like or dislike the person, it’s going to affect your judgment. 

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How To Read People: 5 Secrets Backed By Research - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

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“Keystone” Habits

The primary keystone habit is regular exercise. People who exercise habitually start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives, even unknowingly. They eat better, use their credit card less, are more productive at work and more patient.

Food journaling is another keystone habit. Just write down everything you eat, every day.

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7 Ways You Can Easily Increase Your Willpower - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

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Communication in the virtual world

Bonding with colleagues in the real world is easy. It the virtual world, the tools we have available are video conferences, group messages, and email - all cold forms of communication.

Despite the challenges associated with online tool, there are simple rules we can use the make colleagues and clients like us.

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How to make people like you – virtually

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