Is manipulation that bad?

Have you ever heard of the dark triad? It’s a subject in psychology that focuses on three “dark” character traits : Narcissism (exaggerated feelings of self-importance), psychopathy (lack of  conscience, empathy , remorse) and last but not least Machiavellianism (duplicity and manipulation). No, I’m not gonna mumble about these three or even one of these three traits. But. Machiavellianism really intrigued me to make a small research on the art of manipulation and the morals about it.

Through our lives we have all been uncomfortable in some situations, not knowing how to act in order to hide our insecurities and seem more confident. No matter what, we have to feel or at least seem confident for one simple reason : to get what we want. Either if what we want is to be equally respected and not be looked down on when we first meet someone, or even if what we want is to get the job we are aiming for. Have you ever liked someone you just met, who was constantly staring at the floor and you could barely hear his/her voice? Have you ever heard about a company hiring a person who seemed really scared and trembling during a job interview and rejecting the one with a charming speech? I bet you haven’t. Now these are extreme cases, but I assume you got the point.

Do not allow yourself do be controlled by your desire for pleasure or your fear of pain. Use only your mind to understand the world around us.(stoicism)

We have grown up as children being taught  that we always have to be honest. That lying and taking advantage of people and situations is “bad”. And we were so devoured by the big sense of self we ‘ve got, that we thought it is “bad” for us, and we’ve been told that for our own good. We never wondered for whom these actions are bad. And guess what! It’s not always us! And guess what else. It ‘s not always bad! Lying and taking advantage of something is not necessarily  harmful for anyone.

So what do we do when we don’t fulheartedly talk to people, but we know we must get them to like us, or at least keep them close, because they may be useful in the future? We could see all social paradigms and scenarios as games of strategy that require meticulous manoeuvring. This may not be considered “moral” , but it is definately not immoral since you do it right . A small, really small , summary is written bellow, containing stuff that works, from my experience.

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.
-Niccolo Machiavelli

At this point I need to tell you about the types of lies we ,humans, use to deceive. The first one and most common is the verbal, and the second and sneaky one is the non verbal.

Verbal deception

This is the difficult one. Basically words are natural betrayers and it requires great skills to be convincing. The first thing that comes to your mind is speaking is the truth, and even if a small truth decides to pop out of your mouth about something irrelevant at a first glance, could be damaging.

1.When changing or hiding the truth. (How common,right?)
2. When making something up, from scratch. (Oh snap. Pray you won’t get caught.)

Non verbal deception

Aka body language. Oh , you’ve heard that plenty of times, right? Wait!                               This is the powerful one. It srtikes right to the unconscious

Basically both the above have to be combined in order to…..

Get someone to like you

Stand up straight and smile. This applies in any situation. No matter how much “you forget to to it all the time” or how “uncomfortable you feel” at the time. Just do it. It’s the main key. Show that you care. Look in the eyes of the other and act like you care. Try to focus on the right eye (controls emotions). Move your head when the person’s talking and ask them questions to make them feel comfortable. Peoples favorite subject is always themselves. Remember: Don’t talk too fast. It would indicate you’re in a rush or have already made up the conversation in your mind. You have to seem cool. Observe their body language and make some same moves as them. This will subconsciously make them believe you think the same way.

When talking to a group of people it is great to have a direct contact to your listeners. Don’t make the mistake of maintaining eye contract with just one person because that will stop the other members from listening. And by any means, do not keep your arms crossed. Make gestures.


He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.
-Niccolo Machiavelli

Be convincing

Embedded commands are the key. This includes the tone of voice, special gestures and expressions to alert the subconscious (such as “You should know that…” , “We are proud to announce…”) .

When debating give away first your argument and then your stands. If you tell people your stand first, they are more likely to discard anything you say about the subject because they already understood your bios. If you don’t tell them where you stand and remains a mystery , they will have to piece things together and figure out themselves. Do not seem awkward! If you have the urge to say words like “umm..” replace them with pauses.

When asking for favors or want to justify yourself for something stupid you did and got caught use the word “because…”. No matter how dump the reason may be , people think it is ok, because there IS a reason! …Yeah, I know.

Of course there are so much I could write about the “get someone to like you” and “be convincing parts, but that would make me go on and on for pages.

Now back to the initial point. What I’ve written so far is basically how a small distortion of reality could not only be harmful-free, but also making your life a bit easier. After all, it’s important to remember that when you communicate with someone, the result of that communication is 50% up to you and 50% up to the other. You may have to “send the right message” but the other has to decode it  right as well. Since the other can ask you questions about what you just said or did, he/she has the potential to understand what you’re thinking. Although people usually avoid to ask many questions because they subconsciously think it might be rude. So.. TA-DAAA!

Words are just an approach of an individual’s reality. They are a compromise made in each society . They could never be 100% “true”. Considering that, we are all in some way, born liars. Make the best out of it.