10. TRYING TO EXPLOIT YOUR WEAKNESSES AGAINST YOU
Whatever your weakness is:
Some people will purposely try to use it against you in order to manipulate you.
If they know you suffer from anxiety, they’ll constantly try to fear monger you. If you know you have a big ego, they’ll constantly tell you how great you are.
Advertisers love this strategy and they use it to manipulate people all the time. They know that most people are sheep and will blindly copy anything celebrities tell them to do, so they hire celebrities to promote and sell their products. They also know there are lots of people with big egos, so they create ads that appeal to the ego and make false promises to make you ‘better’ than other people. Men can become ‘Winners’. Women can become ‘Goddesses’.
9. PEER PRESSURE
Some people will try to get you to do something by attempting to convince you that everyone else is doing it (as if following the crowd was the right thing to do):
“Come on! We’re all waiting on you! You’re holding everyone else up!”
“You’re the only one who thinks that!”
“Who’s right: You or EVERYONE else?!”
Advertisers and the media often use a subtle form of peer pressure known as ‘social proof’, because they know that most people are followers and will blindly copy celebrities and trends no matter how ridiculous they are. That’s why most advertising shows images of other people (especially celebrities, good looking people and sexy women), using the product to convince you that everyone else is doing it and you should too.
Sex sells and is used by advertisers the world over to manipulate people (especially men) into buying their products and services. Around 27% of ads contain some kind of sexual imagery.
Sex is also used to make music videos more popular. Let’s be honest: Most music videos these days are just soft porn.
Sex can also be used as a weapon and often is. Women often flirt with men in order to manipulate them into doing what they want, or withhold sex from them if they’re not getting what they want.
7. OFFERING YOU THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE
A favorite trick used by parents, teachers, bosses and salespeople everywhere, is to offer you a number of choices that all lead to the exact same outcome.
No matter what you choose they win and you lose. It’s like flipping a coin and saying “Heads I win, tails you lose”.
“Go now or later?”
“Start now or later?”
“Would you like the 6-month payment plan or pay it all right now up front?”
6. TRYING TO GET YOU TO MAKE PUBLIC COMMITMENTS
Watch out for anyone who tries to get you to commit to something against your will, especially if it is on camera, in writing, or publicly in front of other people.
I remember one meeting I was in with an extremely manipulative sales manager who began the meeting by saying: “Everyone write down your ideal perfect year in sales: If you could do anything, if anything at all was possible, what would it be? Write this down. This is private just for you. No one is going to see it.”
He then waited around 10 minutes until everyone had completed the exercise and written down their ideal perfect year and said: “OK, now everyone stand up and share with the group what you have promised to achieve this year”.
Yeah, that actually happened. He was that much of a manipulative asshole.
5. TRYING TO GET YOU TO KEEP A PROMISE YOU NEVER MADE
Some people will even try to get you to keep a promise you never even made.
I had a candidate try it on with me in my old job in recruitment. He emailed me and cc’d in my boss and said “I will accept this contract since you promised me I would get a pay rise at my next contract extension. I hope you will keep your promise.” (Which he knew was a blatant lie)
4. ONE-SIDED REPORTING
How many news stories do you hear on a daily basis that are balanced and unbiased?
None? Me either.
The media are masters at manipulating public perception by cherry picking information and stories that support their agenda, (mostly a liberal agenda), whilst simultaneously turning a blind eye and ignoring anything that doesn’t.
Questions to ask yourself when watching the news:
- Am I getting the whole story?
- Am I being presented with both sides of the story?
- Is one side being made to look bad, evil, ignorant, or stupid?
- What conclusions does this story want me to draw?
- What isn’t clear? What aren’t they saying? What is purposely being left out?
If there is one thing all manipulators have in common it’s lying.
Manipulative people won’t hesitate to lie/deceive/mislead in order to get what they want.
Why do people lie?
- To avoid embarrassment and save face
- To avoid punishment
- To avoid taking responsibility
- To avoid having to do someone else a favor
- To avoid hurting someone else’s feelings
- To get what they want
- To get out of something they don’t want to do
- To sound important/impressive
- To fool/trick/manipulate you
- To influence/persuade you
- To play dumb
Manipulators not only love to lie but exaggerate too. Some people exaggerate their accomplishments in an attempt to impress and manipulate you, whilst others might seek to manipulate you by exaggerating their problems and hardships, in an attempt to gather sympathy and cash.
2. MAKE YOU BELIEVE IT WAS YOUR IDEA
“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” – Dale Carnegie
People do what they want to do, not what you want them to do.
But if you can convince someone that your idea is really their idea, they’re much more likely to go along with it, because they’ll still feel in control of the decision making process, as opposed to feeling manipulated.
How do you convince someone that your idea is really their idea?
You plant ideas and suggestions in their minds, and then let them come to their own conclusions as if it was their idea all along. For example: McDonald’s has suggestive billboards everywhere that simply ask you a question: “Hungry?”
Your partner might try to plant a seed in your mind by asking you “Do you think we should go on holiday soon? I’ve heard Hawaii is nice this time of year…”
1. FRAME CONTROL
Probably the single most powerful, and least understood, weapon of manipulation is frame control.
What is frame control?
Frame control is simply about making the other person fit into your reality and see things from your perspective.
In a job interview the frame of the employer might be:
“Let’s see if you’re good enough and have what it takes to work here”.
If you were the interviewee, you would want to switch that frame around to:
“Clearly you’re interested in me or you wouldn’t be wasting your time interviewing me. What are you going to say or do to convince me to come and work for you?”
Generally, the person who is most dominant, is the one who controls the frame, which is the unspoken meaning for the interaction.
When a child speaks with a parent, the parent controls the frame.
When a student speaks with a teacher, the teacher controls the frame.
When an employee speaks with the boss, the boss controls the frame.
In a friendship or a relationship, generally the one who cares less, or has the most perceived value, controls the frame.
What if two people of equal intelligence, power, and status meet? Generally the one with the more controlling or dominant personality will control the frame, as we saw when Steve Jobs met Bill Gates on stage in 2007, at the all things digital conference.
Let’s look at three perfect examples of frame control: Donald Trump, Steve Jobs and Tony Robbins.
Donald Trump is a master of frame control. He refuses to enter into anyone else’s reality, and he will do everything he can to make sure you enter into his reality and see things from his perspective, so he can lead you and control the interaction.
Steve Jobs was a master of frame control. He refused to enter into anyone else’s reality, and he really didn’t care what anyone thought, including his customers. He didn’t ask his customers what they wanted, he told them!
Tony Robbins is a master of frame control. Watch his videos on YouTube and see who controls the frame, him or his audience participants. He absolutely refuses to enter into anyone else’s reality and he will not let anyone lead or dominate the interaction for even a second.
Can you imagine Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, or Tony Robbins backing down from an argument, being submissive, or allowing themselves to be led or dominated by someone else? Can you even imagine them apologizing and saying “You’re right… I’m wrong”? Unlikely. As far as these guys are concerned they’re never wrong.
Each of these men are master manipulators and perfect examples of frame control, and to be honest I respect the hell out of them for it.
Now that you understand what frame control is, watch out for the following frames that manipulative people will often try to set on you:
- They are the adult and you are the child
- They are the ‘big brother’ and you are the ‘little brother’
- They are the leader and you are the follower
- They are the master and you are the student
- They are ‘better’ than you, and you need to try to impress them
- Their beliefs, opinions and perspective are more valid than yours
- Their desires, goals and wishes are more important than yours
- Their time is more valuable than yours
- You owe them, and they’re somehow entitled to something from you
If you buy into any of these frames – you’ve already lost.
The bottom line is this: A manipulative person will always try to control the frame and force you to enter into their reality – no matter how fucked up and twisted it is. They will never allow themselves to enter into your reality, nor will they allow themselves to see things from your perspective, unless it is to gather some information which they can use against you.
If you want to manipulate someone, you must control the frame and make them buy into your reality.
But if you don’t want someone else to manipulate you, you cannot let them control the frame, and you must refuse to play their manipulative mind games.
Remember: He who controls the frame, controls the game.