When "Nice" People Manipulate

I sat next to an old lady on a plane the other day and from the start I knew she was trouble. I had gotten upgraded, so we were in First Class, but she started right off complaining about “How the seats in First Class had shrunk.” It was pretty obvious the seats hadn’t shrunk, she’d just gotten wider. For the rest of the flight, it was a litany of things she needed other people to do for her. Fix her headphones, reach up and get her bag, get her a magazine, find a blanket, flag down the flight attendant (she called her a “waitress”), change her TV channel, and more. MUCH more. As she sat there knocking back her gin and tonics, she had everyone in First Class running around doing her bidding.

I could see that she’d learned to play off her “sweet little old lady” thing and use that to manipulate others for her wishes. Never once did she say “Thank You” or ask – she just demanded, assuming everyone would cater to grandma.

You’ll meet plenty of people in life who seem very innocent, but have aggressively learned to use their age, sex, status – even disability to manipulate people into doing their will.

I’m happy to assist, and I’ll always err on the side of helping people. But when you see they use it as a “technique” and not a need, be on your guard.

They’re wasting your time.

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."