Dealing with coworkers, family or friends — let's face it, dealing with people — is no walk in the park. Whether you're terrible at confrontation or need to find a way to shut down your kid's incessant "why"s, people on reddit have been sharing effective psychological tricks that'll help you get your way, while making the other person feel like you're cheering them on all along.
Read on for some mind-control hacks that are so useful in day-to-day life, we wonder why they don't teach them in kindergarten.
1. Dealing with incessantly chatty coworkers.
Anyone who works in an office knows that one chatty coworker who takes any chance they can get to post up at your desk and never leave you alone. If you need to work, or just want to get back to Gchatting and Solitaire and minding your own business, get up and refill your water bottle while they're talking to you. You can even throw in a "Walk with me?" for extra good measure.
Then, instead of going back to your desk, walk them to theirs. Once you reach their desk, they'll instinctively sit down. Then you can neatly end the conversation and get back to doing whatever you want to be doing.
2. When kids don't stop asking "Why?"
Granted, this is a natural stage of human development, but why is it so darn annoying? Maybe because we adults don't have much left to wonder about and can't deal with small tykes who can't spell well enough to take their questions to Google.
Instead of doing what our parents did and angrily yelling "Because I said so!" in our faces, try this more modern pedagogical approach: When your kid, or any kid, repeatedly hits you with "why"s, respond with "I'm not sure, what do you think?"
This way they'll think through their own question. You can even provide some feedback like "Sounds good to me," and they'll move right on. It's a godsend of a technique.
3. To avoid drama in small groups.
Whether it's your office, school, or just your immediate group of friends, the best way to become (and remain) well-liked is to compliment people behind their backs. Just channel your best Michael from The Office.
And if you have to deal with catty coworkers or friends, you can shut down their gossip about Person X by explaining how "Person X is just so great at [whatever], though," or some kind of compliment about the person they were trashing to send the message that you're not going to feed their fire.
4. When you want to get information from someone.
Instead of pushing for information or offering advice, start up a conversation related to whatever topic you want to hear more about. Then, just listen. It may sound obvious, but a lot of people are quick to jump in with questions or observations of their own.
Rather, just let the person speak. If they stop, wait and they will continue talking and adding to what they just said in order to fill the silence. If they're shy, keep your eye contact and nod your head to encourage them to keep going.
In situations where you're dealing with someone distraught or emotional and need to get them to communicate, one person who works in emergency services shared their tried-and-true trick: "Asking their phone number/address/SSN/birthdate can pull them out of the emotional place and bring them back to a headspace where they can talk about what happened more easily."
5. If you want your employees to listen to you.
If you manage a big team, you probably know it's hard to get people to listen to you or do what is needed. Some have found it effective to say "I need your help" in order to get others on board, because people want to feel needed and like they are making an impact in their workplace. Expressing this to them makes them feel valued and like their time means something to you.
By the same token, if you need someone to change the way they're doing something, ask them to help make sure others are doing that thing correctly. Rather than accusing the person of doing something wrong, giving them the responsibility of being a positive role model for others works wonders in making them feel trusted and eager to help.
6. When you have to tell someone to stop doing what they're doing.
Confrontation is something many of us struggle with because it takes a specific type of personality to feel good about calling someone out on something they did. One person who works as a patrol officer in a wilderness area shared the best way to keep people with dogs out of their trail.
Instead of yelling at them for bringing their dogs, they ask dog walkers whether they're looking for somewhere to walk their dogs. This gives the offender the chance to pretend they didn't know about the rule (or how to read any of the signs) and allows them not to lose face. Then, the officer hands them a brochure with dog-friendly trails.
This strategy works well in several situations. The key is mentally constructing the most charitable justification for someone's misdeeds, then giving them a chance to take that explanation as an out.
7. To win an argument.
According to many, realizing how to win an argument is like a superpower. Instead of going at each other from the get-go, find something to agree upon first. Then, push your main point.
Bonus mind-game points if you can switch out any instance of "I know" for "You're right." This will make the other person feel really good about whatever they've just discovered, instead of making you look like a know-it-all jerk.
8. If you need to remember something.
This is a hack we're eager to try, considering how easy it is to forget things these days. If you're without your phone to handily set alerts and alarms, think about doing the thing you need to remember to do while doing something particularly unusual. This will help pair the memory with that unusual thing, so you'll notice it later.
For example, if you need to remember to take the trash out before bed, put your pillow somewhere unexpected, like at the foot of your bed. When you come into the bedroom and notice the pillow, you'll realize it's time to take the trash out, too.
9. When you need to cut the stop-and-chat.
Who hasn't been in the situation where they bump into an acquaintance and would rather pretend they were invisible and walk the other way? One person shared a trick their wife calls "the simplest most manipulative thing" they do, but it works wonders in making the other person feel good and will have them wanting to leave the stop-and-chat even more than you.
Here's how the conversation could go:
You: Hey! How's it going, [name]? You look good!
Them: Thanks, I'm good. How are you?
You: Great! I'm on my way to [wherever you're headed] because [why you're headed there]. What are you doing here?
Them: [Go into the same level of detail to explain where they're going and why].
You: Ok! I won't keep you any longer then, have a good day, [name]!
These tricks will make you seem like a better person and will have you feeling like one, too. You can thank us later.