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What are some psychology hacks that can help in every day life?

Negotiation tactics, getting someone to see your side, as well as other simple psychology hacks to keep in the back of your mind?

3 years ago by nik with 43 comments

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  • ClarkKent
    +28

    If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer just wait. If you stay silent and keep eye contact they will usually continue talking.

    • nik
      +9

      I really like this. Silence makes people uncomfortable. Use it to your advantage.

      • NameTaken
        +1

        It will backfire on me, it will make me feel uncomfortable.

    • sea
      +5

      Love this one, use it all the time. One of my friends read about it somewhere, and he immediately turned to me with an accusatory glare.

    • shadow1515
      +3

      This is useful everywhere too. I used to work as a debt collector (yeah, I hate me for it too) and it was one of the first tactics they taught us. Now I'm in a medical career...and same thing. It's invaluable when interviewing patients because you can get so much useful information that you never would otherwise.

  • Zeus (edited 3 years ago)
    +24

    Cunningham's Law.

    Cunningham's Law states "the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer."

    It's a trick I almost never use, because it works so well, it feels like cheating.

    • Francopoli
      +3

      This works best in any tech support forum. In a good and lively forum, you get a mini history lesson on why the question exists. Its amazing to watch happen.

  • baron778 (edited 3 years ago)
    +17

    Remember, everyone talks shit about everyone. Don't let it get on your mind if you find out someone was talking smack about you.

    • freespirit
      +1

      My boyfriend told me this one after a recent incident occurred. I found it both comforting and depressing. It is true though. It's human nature to judge people whether we admit it or not.

  • PandaBear
    +12

    We tend to see our own behavior as a product of our circumstances, while we see the behavior of others as proof of their character. For example, if you see someone driving way too fast while passing you, they are aggressive or inconsiderate. Meanwhile, if you speed down a road it's because you are trying to get to a meeting on time because you woke up late this morning. Applying circumstances to other people has really helped me become less angry with the general public. Maybe that old lady is driving slow because she's got a cake in the front seat she's baked for her granddaughter's birthday. Maybe that man that was short with me on the phone really had to poop and I called at the wrong time. Maybe none of those things are true, but thinking them certainly helps reduce my anger at other people's actions.

  • remez
    +11

    Don't see your opponent as an opponent, an adversary. Try to find a context where both of you are on the same side and are working towards the same goal: finding the truth, reaching a mutually beneficial solution or forging an understanding. It doesn't work 100% of time, but it's surprisingly beneficial.

    • shadow1515
      +3

      This is useful even if they do turn out to truly be an adversary, because once you've spent the mental energy to try to empathize with them you can more easily understand their motivations and tactics so even if it has to turn into a conflict (be it verbal, physical, whatever) you stand a much better chance of coming out on top.

      • remez
        +1

        Very true. You can also decide that you do not need to come out on top this time (and letting go of victory is much easier when you're confident you can win). As soon as it stops being you vs. them, and starts being just a situation, there are much more ways to handle it.

  • Csellite
    +11

    I'm going to stick with a classic. If you're feeling like your a little stressed or even about to go on a killing spree with a kitchen knife you found in some isle of the supermarket because the checkout girl is being snotty just take a good old fashion deep breathe :)

    • nik
      +3

      A deep breath and taking a step back mentally does wonders.

  • Strangequark
    +10

    The Franklin Effect. Use it wisely.

    It's not got a huge amount of experimental evidence backing it up, but it essentially says that, if you want someone to like you, ask them for a favour. A small thing, usually, one they would generally perform out of politeness, like lending a book or helping you carry something. Although we would expect people to like us more if we do a favour for them, the human mind seems fantastic at resolving things in ways which benefit us. So if we have done something nice for someone, it must be because we like them, because we don't do nice things for people we don't like.

    Also, to be a better person, try to be vigilant in looking out for the corollary to this. Just as we must like someone because we have done something nice for them, we also believe that, if we have hurt someone, we must not like them. It certainly couldn't be that our action was expedient or beneficial for us, or that we really didn't care about hurting them, because we are good people. Therefore, we must not like them and there must be a reason for that. See: every dehumanising, demonising campaign against people we want to use or who our actions will hurt. History has plenty of examples. We hate the people we hurt. Be aware of this tendency, and be better than that. Know when you're rationalising your bad behaviour so you don't have to feel bad or apologise or act differently.

  • papervoid
    +8

    Ask meaningful questions.

    In a everyday conversation, it shows interest and builds trust. You'll learn more about the people you interact with and people love to talk about themselves. At work, it shows initiative and reduces ambiguity. It also helps you understand people's real expectations behind all the business-speak.

    • shadow1515
      +3

      As an addendum, bring in things that the person you're talking to has mentioned. It proves that you were listening to them and makes them feel important, and they are more likely to believe or assume that your suggestions are based on their own comments.

  • massani
    +5

    I used to do this one in when I worked in retail:

    Say you have a rude customer who comes in and doesn't treat you well at all. Be super, super friendly and attentive to them. Guaranteed it will bug the shit out of them.

    • bogdan
      +4

      But do you really want to bug them further and get more aggravated? I found that if I talk to clients in a really positive mood they are more likely to be pretentious and rude; if I start the conversation with me being the one who seems discontent they will be more sympathetic and act nicer towards me.

      • nik (edited 3 years ago)
        +4

        I think it's the difference between clients and retail. I've worked retail before in the past as my first couple jobs, and customers were unnecessarily mean for seemingly no reason. If they were already angry, it was entertaining seeing them angry at a situation that you created out of being kind to them.

      • massani
        +1

        Good customer service isn't being discontent. My managers would have laid me a new one if I wasn't doing my job.

  • Lythos
    +4

    If you forget someone's name, introduce them to someone else. Say "This is my friend X." Generally, x will either repeat his own name provoking your target to reveal his/her name or they will volunteer it themselves.

    Source: Someone with terrible memory.

    • shadow1515
      +3

      Another one is, "What's your name again?"

      Then when they reply say, "Oh no, I meant your last name."

      You get both, but if they fall for it it looks like you only forgot the last name, which is more forgivable.

      • Lythos
        +1

        That's a good one! I've also managed to pull off getting names and birth dates from drivers licenses. Only really works when you have to pull them out for a drink at a bar, but that's usually where I'm forgetting their names anyway. You make a comment about how embarrassing your photo is in your license and offer to trade to see their picture. Kind of only works well in a flirting manner.

  • frohawk
    +4

    If you find yourself in trouble with someone in authority, just tell them what you did wrong pertaining to that situation; don't offer up information they didn't ask for. Then wait for their response.

    I'm not sure if this is actually good advice, but the few times I get in trouble that's what I do, and come to think of it, they seem angry and think I don't care about the situation... But I finding shouting about my feeling on the issue irrelevant and the meeting are usually short.

    shrug

    Actually, if someone could tell me a few hacks, that would be much appreciated.

    • nik
      +4

      I'd like to add that if you find yourself in trouble with authority (such as getting pulled over for treating a stop sign like a yield sign), acknowledge what you did wrong, be calm, and be apologetic. Shouting at a police officer will get you absolutely nowhere. Being apologetic and calm ensures that the situation (generally) won't escalate.

      • Idontmindturtle
        +1

        I know you mean well, but I think that is the worst possible advice you can give to anyone for anything other than a minor traffic violation. Also can be highly dependent on your ethnicity, like it or not, minorities do get treated differently to majorities almost everywhere on earth when it comes to justice in the legal system.

        Your lawyer gets paid to minimise damage to you as a clients Policemen have monthly targets on cases to close. It's wise to not confuse the role of one for the other. A policemen is never there to prove your innocence, even though he may be telling you otherwise.

        • nik
          +1

          I guess I'm confused by how staying calm and being apologetic isn't good advice when dealing with police officers?

          • Idontmindturtle
            +4

            Staying calm is incredibly good advice. Admitting guilt when you don't know exactly what they are going to charge you with is a bad idea. You may not be fully aware of the repurcussions for whatever crime you may have caused, and you may be giving them more evidence by speaking than they have without you speaking.

            48 minutes in length and gives a lot of incite, at least in regards to the American legal system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

            • nik
              +1

              I didn't mean to go on and admit what you did wrong without them asking - I meant to acknowledge it if they tell you what you did wrong. I should have clarified that in my post.

            • Idontmindturtle
              +1
              @nik -

              That's still terrible advice. I don't think there is a lawyer on the planet who would recommend that telling acknowledging you did the wrong thing to a police officer is a good thing. That is what court is for down the track.

            • nik
              +1
              @Idontmindturtle -

              It's worked for me in the past when being pulled over. "You turned right on red when you weren't supposed to" "I suppose I did. I'm sorry, I guess I just didn't see the sign."

              Saying that's "terrible" advice is going a bit too far, I think.

  • CrazyDiamond
    +4

    Always accept favors and kind gestures and free stuff when people offer. There's a phenomenon in psychology that people tend to like people more when they have given them something or helped them in some way. So the next time someone offers to buy you lunch or something like that, don't keep telling them no to be polite, just say, "Oh that's kind, thank you very much!".

    In other words, giving to others is good, but don't be shy to take when others want a chance to give as well. It actually makes people like you when you take what they offer.

  • nauthas
    +4

    When talking understand someones emotional and cultural background. In America eye contact when apologizing shows that you truly care, while in Japan they prefer you to duck your head a bit down, use these little things as a "trump" card. If you know someone to be shy and want to make them feel comfortable around you, talk softer and quieter, or if you need to intimidate them (why would you do that I don't know) act confident and look straight at them, talk louder too. If someone is easily temperamental word times when you disagree with them with a positive first. "I agree with you about X that's definitely wrong! But what about..." It's difficult but be conscious of there emotions (are they cocky- praise them before criticizing etc) and think of how to counter them. to get the desired emotion you seek. One thing I will say, don't do it constantly, do it to people you don't know well or if you are comforting a friend, it's best with a deep friend just to be yourself. After all, you are you, not someone acting to be you.

  • NerfYoda
    +4

    Beware rumination, the feedback loop that can happen when you think about something too much. More often than not rumination leads to a negative outlook on whatever it is you're ruminating on and then a general grumpiness with the world. Once you realize you're doing it then find something else to occupy your mind with for a while.

  • sea
    +2

    Feet. Look at where people's feet are pointing. If you are joining a conversation and people to not tilt their feet out to point at you, you may not be welcome in the conversation. Just don't look at their feet all the time, then you will most certainly not be welcome in the conversation.

  • skeelak
    +2

    If you are walking in a crowded place, stare directly to where you want to go. Most people will be the ones getting out of your way instead of you having to walk around everyone.

  • Fooferhill
    +1

    Mindfulness- Not really psychology but I guess psychology has tried to own it more recently. This ancient practice is a life saver and a life enhancer.