Master of the House  

Friday, August 22 : 3:12 AM : 1 comments :

Let's talk about social manipulation. What you say? Manipulation of any sort sounds terrible. Well, I've been carefully studying some friends of mine who happen to be amazingly effective socializers and trying to figure out what tactics and techniques they use to get people to like them. C'mon, be real, everyone needs to do a little social manipulation. Or rather, everyone wants people to like them, on some level. But how do people who are great at getting people to instantly connect do it?

The short answer is they manipulate. Whether it's through something as simple as innocuous flirting, extensive amounts of eye contact, a barrage of "tell me about yourself" questions, everyone's got a thing they do to get other people to pay attention. The most basic way to create a bond between two people is to fashion a little safe space where people get comfortable talking and revealing. Even a simple statement like "So, tell me about yourself," creates this opening for someone you just met to talk and to maybe bring something up that will pique both your interests.

Actually, the main categories of social manipulation line up neatly with The Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. I'd re-interpret those as Words of Encouragement, Intense Face Time, Compliments, Doing Things, and Touch. For example, when meeting someone a master of Intense Face Time might make that person feel special by repeatedly devoting time concentrating on their conversation to the exclusion of whatever else is going on. Note that this excludes people trying to hit on others. That's a whole 'nother ballpark of love languages. People gravitate toward those that make them feel good about themselves. If someone can give off the air that they think you're really a great person, you'll naturally find yourself liking them.

Two factors that are really important also are enthusiasm and entertainment. Some people are just hugely entertaining and that alone makes people love them. However, being entertaining doesn't necessarily create a bond, it just creates invitations for future hang outs. Nobody's going to deny bringing someone around who's consistently funny and amusing. The enthusiasm part is something overlooked perhaps. For example, I have a friend who everytime he sees someone he knows (even barely), greets them with a huge hug and exclamations like they're best friends. That action creates a feeling of warmth and acknowledgment, even if you're wondering "Wait, why is this person bear hugging me?"

The best social manipulations combine a few methods at once. Not everyone reacts the same to each method obviously. The simplest example is someone who's extremely flirty and touchy might not get the same results from using that on people of the same sex. In fact, in this exact circumstance, it can often turn people off. "Ew, why's she always touching everyone?" But that's just hating. Recognize the power of social manipulation and either jump on-board or figure out how you can incorporate it into your game.

Of course, much of social manipulation is contrived. By definition it sort of has to be. You have a goal, you have a method, and you implement it for success. Some people may not be aware of exactly what they're doing, but ask the people around them and the peanut gallery can usually break down what makes them an effective socialite. Observe, study, incorporate. Or just roll your eyes and say "Omg, they're doing it again."

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