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Not everyone wants love and acceptance (or how to win friends by intimidation)

August 8, 2008

You meet someone at the party. You want to connect. So you get them to open up and make them feel good about themselves. You know being loved and accepted is what they want. Right?

Wrong. It doesn’t always work that way.

There is another equally effective way to connect to people and its by going the other way – by crushing their pride and making them feel completely useless. Its counterintuitive but stay with me here and tell me you haven’t seen these types.

So after you’ve touched first base by building trust and rapport with your new friend, you begin cutting them off slowly whenever they say something, reject every opinion they make even if its perfectly valid, and position yourself as the one with The Opinion. You dominate them.

Sounds weird? Not really. The truth is, there are people out there who want to be led by a firm hand. They are your typical follower-types, with low self esteem and seeking comfort in human concrete pillars. They create complex and bizzare emotional dependencies with their tormentors, even protecting them when threatened. You see this in husbands, wives, football players, colleagues and business partners.

This method requires a skill to determine what flips your switch because take on the wrong guy and you could end up with a broken arm or leg. I’ve met people who can scan you and size you up in a minute. In business, they tend to come from the manipulator side of the spectrum, the side heavily populated by highly dominant people and con artists. They test the waters by disagreeing with something trivial you say, like when you say, “Oh, its such a nice day,” and they say, “No, what makes you say its nice?” Then depending on how you respond, they take you to 2nd base.

But there is a difference. Honest disagreements tend to wander about in search of a new point of agreement whereas the “other type” knows that for a master-slave relationship to exist, there must never be an agreement. These people have instincts to smell low self-esteem a mile away and move in like a predator. If there’s none, there are ways to manufacture it in you. They come to you saying things like, “Sigh, it’s so hard to manage 5 bungalows,” when they know you’re struggling with payments on a dinky little apartment.

Its interesting how overly dominant managers, social bullies and con artists operate off the same playbook with different intentions.

So who says you can’t create relationships by intimidating people. Its more common than you think. Some of these relationships last a lifetime, Abused spouses never rat on their tormentors even if they get beaten black and blue every day (better a broken bone than be completely lost without a relationship?)

Oh, there is a third and final category. The guy that knows which side his bread is buttered, the survivor who singles out the weak for intimidation and the strong for buttering. Best of both worlds.

Question is, which of the three types are you.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. LC Teh permalink
    August 9, 2008 9:21 pm

    This one reminds me of Robert Ringer’s Winning Through Intimidation.

  2. Damien permalink*
    August 10, 2008 9:11 am

    Someone wrote a book about it? Wow. Its just something I observe in the companies I served, how insecure employees gravitate towards strong and often predatory managers, never mind the abuse they have to put up with. Its almost wolf-pack like.

  3. LC Teh permalink
    August 11, 2008 11:53 am

    http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Through-Intimidation-Robert-Ringer/dp/0449207862

    It’s antique. It was published in 1984.

  4. Damien permalink*
    August 12, 2008 9:02 am

    I browsed thru it. Confounded. I guess a few years of corporate life and witnessing the strange social dance have knocked me off my idealist perch. Somehow the world just refuses to conform to people’s ideals.

  5. LC Teh permalink
    August 12, 2008 11:49 am

    Ideals or not, it’s always that inevitable bottom-line that all gravitate towards. Winning means one must gain whatever-it-is in the end. Court-holders gain nothing but only applause and empty air. That’s the gist of Ringer’s win.

  6. Damien permalink*
    August 13, 2008 8:43 am

    Ah so you read it. Aren’t these books blasphemous to the positive thinkers of the world, hehe 🙂

  7. LC Teh permalink
    August 13, 2008 11:15 am

    Blasphemous or not, there is the godawful truth that “if you work hard, long hours, all you get in the end is OLD.” (the Uncle George Theory)

  8. Damien permalink*
    August 13, 2008 9:54 pm

    Hahaha, LOL 🙂

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