Sunday, April 15, 2007

Can you make someone less manipulatable by manipulating them?

I'm wrestling with this question. The long and short of it is that my friend (who has some self-confidence and is already somewhat resistant to being manipulated) confided in me that she's rather open to being manipulated into situations she doesn't care for, specifically when she cares about the people involved. This alteration usually comes because she's willing to do what other people say they need to do, she says.

Since she expressed disfavor and disgust with this reaction of hers, part of our dinner conversation was me trying to explain to her to be less prone to suggestion. Therein lies my mental pause. I'm basically changing her personality, with the intent of making it less changeable in the future. It's with her blessing and complete encouragement, but it was still a bit strange. It's one of those situations (which I find myself in quite a bit) where I'm not sure if the metaphorical ice I'm walking onto is solid.

These thoughts usually end up with a self-rejection of my own sense of purpose. I mean, who am I to tell people anything? In the dark of the night, I'm not always happy. My life isn't that organized, my methods aren't that great. Me giving life advice is almost as bad as me giving relationship advice. How have my relationships been? Hmm, that's right. Ending in tears.

So what great wisdom do I offer? It's mostly stuff people already know in their heart-of-hearts. Make good choices, trust what is right for "you", take the difficult road sometimes, be ready to not have fun for a while. People just like to have someone who will listen. Occasionally, I get to offer some really good advice, and in such cases, I'm usually really concerned that I'm not going to mess anything up.

You know what else people are big on? Not judging them. I sure am. I like to know that when I talk to someone, they're not going to react until I've explained my position. I also like it when the people I talk to at least TRY to see it from my way. I try to bring that to the table as well, when the tables are turned and I'm the one listening. It was a flattering compliment to be told, "I like that you listen and don't judge me."

Maybe the next step is being able to give criticism in a way that doesn't hurt people's feelings.

"Constructive", I think the cliche is.

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The management would like me to say that there's a new album with nine more pictures in my photo collection.

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