Might not matter how many books we read on persuasion, manipulation, selling and hypnosis – what it all really means won’t hit home until you fall victim to it AFTER you think you know and can detect it in any situation.
But if you have even half a brain on you, a trick like this should only be allowed to happen once – at least in relationships that are longer than one transaction. Be it a personal relationship, a coach, a team lead, a co-worker, a friend or family members – iterations within these relations exist exactly to test each-others limits… And if you find yourself stressed out, having agreed to something you remember you’d rather NOT do – first time it might have been on the other person – every next time it is on you.
And for a long time I have thought about it being a matter of people-pleasing, feeling “guilt” for saying “no”, trying to appear helpful and kind – but friends, this is not my case, today, either. Same as it was with the case of not wanting to bother – I am not a people-pleaser, never was, never will be.
I’m sure there certainly are people who want to control their image and help others as to impose a debt on someone – so they would be forced to return the favor – but as I get older and experience more weird episodes of transactions between myself and other people, I notice there are nuances that do not, in any way, belong under the people-pleasing umbrella. Other than being patient and a little masochistic with myself to not stir trouble (and not for someone else’s sake – but simply because I myself am not bothered to deal with this RIGHT NOW), often translating it to maybe compassion or attempts to understand where the other person is coming from (and then getting utterly annoyed when I find out the person confesses in the end he is just trolling – no, he wasn’t – he is just a dick).
My problem in my latest instance has nothing to do with trying to please a company or a team lead. It has nothing to do with trying to look good (that ship has sailed a long while ago!).
First of all – I did not expect that type of manipulation out of a guy I have been working with or for, for a year (although I had a feeling at the start, this is the kind of stuff he might do!). What happens when we do not expect tricks on us – we let our guard down. I was safely concerned about the work I had to do for the day – my mind was occupied with other thoughts because I felt safe enough to do so.
Now, there came a “something else I wanted to discuss with you” – the on-boarding of a new member. “I assign the task to you to help him with a program.”
“Yeah okay that’s fine I’ll do it. I’ve done this before with this other person…”
What was I thinking? Here’s what it was: I wasn’t. 🙂
Now, was that something else to be discussed phrased any differently, as in “feel free to say no to this: we need someone to help the new member with the program, would you be up to that?”
Because I know I have busy times ahead, and when I have to be ready to help someone else with random encounters of program mysteries – I will not ever be able to finish my own work. “Nope, pass it on to someone else.”
So, whether I was being blind, dumb or stupid, or the TL used to most efficient method he knew to check off a task from his list (finding someone to help on-board); maybe a bit of both.
While his method of speech was very efficient short-term – a person who realizes what had just happened will not make it viable long-term. On one hand I feel like shit – how did I not spot this when it was happening? Have I not read some SEVEN books about how people pull that kind of shit off (not actually seven, I’m just being emotional); I forgot to think about my OPTIONS – maybe that happens when we trust a person we are dealing with, and naively assume he still has our best interests in mind and will present us more than what is most convenient to him. I want to say I also feel regret – but I can’t, because at that time to my mind there were no options. There was no X at the top corner, there was just the “accept” button, as if it were the inevitable window blocking your view from everything else going on, on the screen;
Tricks like this are the mark to indicate a dishonorable man.
But I feel anger and disappointment. I feel embarrassment. I feel angry because I thought I was smart and avoid falling for these tricks. I feel embarrassed for falling for it, for letting my guard down – although to my mind I was right to do so – I had not been played for a while. And I am angry – angry that I person who is supposed to keep working with me pulls a lazy trick like this on me.
There’s an underlying signal there – I am not valued as I’d see myself fit valued (and apart from my manic episodes of doing art, my expectations are really not that grandiose;)
More of a vent post than a meditation, if you asked me – but I do see something thought worthy in the situation… It might not be that you are a people-pleaser, it might be that you never were – it might be that you’re merely suffering the same consequences I am – not trusting your gut from the start, letting your guard down…
Well, I don’t think I will be doing this again with this person. Of course, who knows, we’ll see what the response will be, and how taken-in I will get by it! Hehh, isn’t that another game people keep playing, we get eager to see the response that will hypnotize us right back into letting our guard down – and while playing – we WISH for it to happen. So desperate to wanting to let our guards down in front of someone, we are willing to become masochistic and not make a big deal out of it.
Anyway. What a topic!