Any time you are communicating with another person, you are actively trying to manipulate them in the process. This sounds terrible, but that’s only because you’ve only ever heard the word used a negative context before.
When you communicate you are doing it with a purpose, you’re trying to achieve something. For most people this is a primarily unconscious act, especially when the goal is something small such as asking a stranger what street you’re on. In this case you’re being direct and open about your goal, and the stranger is almost always willing to be manipulated into giving up this information. We call it being polite, but all politeness really is, is the willingness to be manipulated without restraint.
The first thing you need to truly understand, is that manipulating people is not wrong in of itself. But always use your powers for good, not evil.
Examples of good manipulation:
- You are trying to get hired at a job interview.
- Your child refuses to take their medicine.
- Your friend drunkenly thinks he’s sober enough to drive home.
- The girl you met at the bar is trying to make you fuck her without a condom (in case you’re confused, you don’t want to do that… seriously, you don’t want to do that).
Examples of evil manipulation:
- She doesn’t want to sleep with you.
- Stealing (or borrowing, knowing you will never pay it back) money from strangers, friends or family.
- Making anyone do anything they don’t want to do.
The last point of evil is really the only one that matters, in fact it matters so much I’m going to repeat it.
It’s never okay to try and make someone do something they don’t want to do.
The first part of manipulating someone deals with the importance of words and language. Before you continue reading this article you need to read Words Matter: Speak with Purpose.
After reading that article you’ll probably have noticed that the section about sending a text message to a girl after a date is a perfect example of manipulation. This article will go into the theory behind why that second message is better, and it’s all about hooks.
Using Emotional Hooks for Manipulation
Every normal human experiences emotions and has gone through a number of events in their life which have invoked or imprinted these emotions. While the event themselves may have been forgotten, the memory of the emotions remain imprinted on our brains. By triggering this memory (or what’s left of it) you can force the person to feel the emotions associated with it, and these emotions will be attributed to you and your actions.
In short, there are things you can do or say which make the other person feel specific emotions. You’ve almost certainly noticed this before, how some people have specific trigger words.
Most people have certain words or phrases which will immediately cause a strong reaction in them.
One of the most immediate ones for me is when I’m having a calm, rational debate with someone and they tell me to “calm down”. I know it shouldn’t matter, but ironically that one phrase instantly switches from calm to full-blown-rage.
Just about every person has these hooks embedded in their psyche, the degree, the triggers and the emotions they invoke will vary. If you’re looking to manipulate someone you need to become an expert and identifying and pulling on these hooks. You want people to feel compelled to agree or abide. The decisions most people make are entirely based on their emotions. They do things because they want to do them, not because it’s the most logical or rational thing to do.
Laying out a perfectly concise logical argument of why someone should do something is only going to work on someone who can place reason above emotion, this is a rare trait among humans. Humans make choices based on emotion, they use logic to justify these choices after they are made. You need to convince them to want to comply first, and give them the reasons for justification after.
The best example of this is from one of the greatest copywriters of all time, Joseph Sugarman. He explained that no one buys a $80,000 Mercedes because of it’s traction control, high-safety standards and drivetrain quality. They bought the car because they wanted to drive a Benz, it was purely an emotional decision. They justified spending $60,000 more than they needed to with the logical reasons: It’s a better car.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Since us humans are riddled with hooks already, the best path to manipulation starts with finding the hooks beneficial to your goal. The most basic hooks, used constantly by amateur manipulators, is linking your goal with an often unrelated reward.
“If you clean your room, you can have some ice cream”.
Since most kids go batshit crazy at the idea of eating ice cream, it’s easy to understand the lure of the reward outweighs the dread of the request. The better you know someone, the easier it will be for you to guess at and discover their hooks.
In “Words Matter: Speak with Purpose” we examined two versions of a post-first date text message:
“Hey, I had a good time. C u again soon?”
“I’ve been going over the night’s highlights ever since I left, and my face is starting to hurt from smiling. I look very forward to getting to know you better.”
It’s obvious the second choice is better here, and the article went into a bit of detail as to why it’s better. Now let’s look at this from the point of view of manipulation through hooks. Your goal with this message is to ensure a second meeting with the girl. Chances are she is every bit as eager as you are, thus manipulation isn’t really required, regardless you should always be putting your best foot forward and giving yourself the best possible chance to win.
The first message has no hooks, that sentence alone will not invoke any form of emotional response which wasn’t already there. It’s manipulation value is nearly zero.
The second message pulls on three distinct hooks. At this point you will have little-to-no idea what her hooks are. You are fishing here, making an educated guess based on what you know of her, and what you know of women and people in general. We’re all very common on most of the basic levels, and most of us will have similar hooks in similar locations.
The first hook is embedded in “I’ve been going over the night’s highlights ever since I left”. While there are no trigger words in this sentence, the meaning of the sentence is impossible to interpret as anything but a sweet-hearted compliment. This has set a positive tone for your message, opening the way to pull harder on hooks to follow.
The second hook is the word ‘smiling’. It’s a fact smiles are contagious. We all like to smile, and we are all attracted to smiles. Hearing the word, especially in this context, will invoke that nearly-universal reaction to a friend’s smile, it will make her physically smile or at the very least feel the urge to physically smile. Your words have now invoked a true emotional and physical reaction, manipulation is underway.
The third hook would be almost useless on its own. “I look very forward to getting to know you better.” If you sent this as its own message, without any preamble, it would still be a good thing to say, but it would be unlikely to invoke any sort of emotional response. But after having them feeling good, and smiling, they are already in a positive emotional state while actively thinking about you. This last line, when accepted as genuine, will make the recipient feel good about you, and good about spending more time with you. They feel respected as a person, they feel desired, interesting, confident, attractive, and successful. This girl is now having a positive emotional reaction thinking about spending time with you. This is the only mindset you want to leave your friends and lovers with. If they don’t have an emotional urge to see you, they will desire to spend their time with someone else.
Fishing for Hooks
So far all the examples in this article are very basic. The truth is it takes a large amount of work and skill to become a master manipulator. There are three stages of manipulation aptitude:
- Average Chump: Using obvious or common hooks without subtlety. Carrot on a stick.
- Active Manipulator: Finding and using subtle hooks, such as trigger words.
- Master Manipulator: Implanting your own hooks as required to accomplish your goals.
The biggest difference between being an average chump and an active manipulator is subtlety. True manipulation happens when the target doesn’t consciously know they’re being manipulated.
Someone who’s good at the game, and understands emotional triggers, may figure you out, but if you’re good at what you do they will be willingly complicit. If you’re making them feel good, and they’re enjoying the work you’re doing, they will allow you to continue.
When fishing for hooks you need to start by collecting all of the information you can on the person, and making some educated guesses as to what their trigger words may be. For example, each of these monikers will have a different response ranging from negative to positive:
Some of these (whore, especially) will rarely be neutral. This will often invoke a very negative reaction, but the girls who like it will really, really, really like it. In fact this word is almost always a trigger, the question is whether or not it will be negative or positive. If you’re not sure how someone will react to a possible trigger word, you should probably avoid using it until you are certain.
But what about babe vs love? These could be interchangeable or they could be entirely divergent. Many girls will melt being called ‘babe’ while ‘love’ will elicit no more than a warm smile. To find your trigger words you just need to pay attention. Look for a physical or obvious emotional reaction to the words you use. Refine and adjust accordingly.
When someone tells you a story, or tells you about something which matters to them, this will almost always be filled with leads on trigger words. An extreme example would be someone telling you about a traumatic event from their past.
Something like this will have a plethora of hooks embedded in it, a mix of both good and bad. Accidently pulling on a very sensitive negative hook will ruin the mood for both of you, it’s up to you to try and avoid these and search for the silver lining.
When someone tells you something they like, especially “I really liked it when you did this, or said that” this is someone handing you the keys to one of their strong hooks. Remember this information, and use it wisely, but if you pull too hard, or too often, on a single hook eventually it will pull free. Keep the ones you know of in your mind, but constantly be searching for others.
The biggest trick of them all is to simply ask. The best thing I started doing was asking the girls in my life questions. “When was the moment you decided you were going to sleep with me?”, “When have you been the most turned on by me?”. You’re explicitly asking them for directions to their hooks, and since they like you they are happy to give them. When in doubt, ask.
The Master Class
Unfortunately I don’t feel qualified to teach the master class in manipulation. I’m still working my way up from being active to master, but this level of manipulation is fraught with peril. You have before, and will again, set your own hooks in someone. You may have even realized it after you have done it. The question is how to do it actively and accurately.
There are many methods to accomplishing this, and some of them I find deplorable. Even if I thought myself adept enough to teach master manipulation, I would be hesitant to do so to anyone I didn’t know personally. This level of manipulation can be used for great things, unfortunately not all great things are good. [/to_plus]
* While I understand how it’s possible the concepts from this article could inspire some bad people to become better at doing bad things, I choose to believe that more good will come to this world as a result than evil. If you disagree (or agree) let me know via comment or email.