Here is How to Spot or Recognize Manipulation

When you cannot do something but find yourself saying yes to it…know that this is because that person you are dealing with has manipulated you.

People will try to manipulate you all the time. They will manipulate to get things from you, to get you to do things for free, to make you buy things you do not need or want, to join a cause you do not believe in or to make a pledge that will be hard for you to honor.

Next time you find yourself in such a situation here is how you can recognize manipulation or more to the point the type of person the manipulator is and the tactics they can use

The ‘Friendly’ Person

You know the friendly person. The one that will approach you with such a friendly demeanor and you will be thrown off. Are they family, a colleague from the past or a friend that you have not seen in a while? And before you can place them, they will ask how you are and will seem very interested in you. Smiling and nodding as you respond. You will respond as you are being polite, despite being baffled and as you answer, they look fascinated and then BOOM…the request will come, “We are collecting some information on such and such a thing…we have a new product that we know you would be perfect for…”

And then the clip board or brochure is whipped out. You can now walk away or stay. They hope you will as they were very friendly and deserve the same from you. A friendly favor.

The ‘Humble’ Person

This person will begin their request with a lot of deference and make you feel important and good. They then will continue with telling you how much they know how busy you are and how little time you have but, they will make their request any way. Counting on the fact that you feel embarrassed to be too busy for a humble request. And you will most likely agree to make time for their request.

The humble manipulator skirts round asking you in a straight forward manner and makes it difficult for you to say no just by beating about the bush, sounding flustered and displaying a lot of awe. The thing here is that, you are still being manipulated, in a roundabout way.

The ‘Pushy’ Person

This person will rarely take no for an answer. And will piush until they get a yes. Often they will target people with a reserved nature or that are less vocal and even timid. They will ask them for favors knowing the person will not be quick to respond or as they hesitate to think about it…will pounce on them before they can think to say no.

The best way to keep your no from becoming a yes with people like this is to let them harangue you and when they are done. Say, “Thank you for thinking of me. I will think about it.”

And then walk away.

The Generous Person

They are the person that will not sell you or ask you for something straight away but, will offer you something for free. The guy in the car park who offers to clean your tires for free while you go into the shop. Or clean your wind screen. And later, give you one of tubes of the product for free if you buy the other one at a really ‘good’ price.

This tactic is not just common among sales people in and outside large malls. It is also true for big companies or Event/Workshop speakers that start by offering a free or low-cost entry to moving on to pitching an expensive product. By offering a free tube of a product they are sweetening the offer for the biggie. And usually, that biggie comes at the end of the event!

The Attractive or Popular Person

Yes, people do use their attractiveness or popularity to get what they want. They may not be overtly flirting and may not even sleep with the person they want to manipulate but they will use their good looks or popularity to get things from other people. Merely by giving you attention with a little smile, a touch and a sidle to be a little closer than normal or a few flattering comments now and then on your social media profile.

This type of manipulator will play on the fact that most of us do like attention and do like to be insiders and not the odd one out. So to get you to say yes, they will use flattery. And we all do know that flattery does get people what they want more often than not.


A Zambian site sharing quick read articles around work, money and adulting life with selective interviews and quotes.
The founder, editor and lead writer who left university with a good grasp of public administration, economics, money, banking and international relations is also qualified in journalism and creative writing. She has been published in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and has been featured in several local and international publications.
An avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list ) she often tweets in poetry and short prose @kwachalelo