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How to Identify a Manipulator

by Tristan Loo

Manipulators are often people we trust and that we think of as close-ones. We do things for them because of that close relationship. But is that relationship really as close as you think it is?

Occasionally, it’s good to take a step back and reevaluate the friends that you have to see if they fit the personality type of a manipulative person While you can still be friends with a manipulator, you must be careful when they are requesting things from you.

Logical versus emotional arguments

Logical arguments make sense to most people because there is solid and identifiable evidence to support that argument. When I say that the Earth revolves around the sun, people will believe that statement because there is scientific evidence to support that claim.

Emotional arguments are the primary ammunition for manipulators.

Emotional arguments are those claims that are not based on objective criteria, but rather based on feelings and emotions. An example of this is if I wanted you to get me a computer because you love me, right?

The manipulator’s requests, favors, or wants typically don’t have any logical reasoning behind them because they are selfish in nature. The manipulator knows that they can’t use logical arguments to persuade you to do what they want, so they switch over to emotional arguments to power their justification.

This is the main way to identify a manipulative person. Their logic will always be flawed and their reasoning will always be supported by emotional arguments.

The four tactics that manipulators use

Appealing to your love

The manipulator will appeal to your relationship with them in order to influence you. The will make reference to their relationship with you as a backbone of getting you to do what they want. They will use words such as “trust,” “love,” and “us.”

Appealing to your sense of guilt

The manipulator will attempt to influence you by making you feel extremely guilty for refusing their request.

A typical line is, “Well, if you really cared about me you would do this."


The manipulator might actually become angry at your refusal to do a favor for them and they will try using an aggressive and intimidating approach to force you to submit out of fear.

Fake flattery

The manipulator will shower you with excessive and, typically undeserved, compliments in an effort to “butter you up” for the favor that will come next.

This is a form of ego-stroking that lowers your guard for logical reasoning and makes favors more easy to give into.

Tristan Loo is an experienced negotiator and an expert in conflict resolution. He uses his law enforcement experience to train others in the prinicples of defusing conflict and reaching agreements. Visit his website at http://www.acrsonline.com or e-mail him directly at CEO@acrsonline.com

Some Related Articles:

Stand Your Ground With Manipulators!
How to Recognize Potentially Violent People
How You Can Tell Whether Someone is a True Friend
How to Avoid a Verbal Fight
Overcoming Conversational Power Plays
How to Get Along With People Who Drive You Crazy


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