Reverse psychology and how to use it

Here are 7 steps to use reverse psychology properly. 

Reactance theory says that people who feel their sense of control is being taken away from them will grab it back by not doing what they are asked. This can even be actions that are clearly against their best interests, for example as may occur in reaction formation.

Reverse psychology is more likely to be successful with people who have a high need for control. Rebellious teenagers who naturally do the opposite of what their parents say are classic targets, as are Type A people and those with narcissistic or even psychopathic tendencies.

Doing a reversal can also be used as a deliberate provocation to wake the other person up to their unreasonable stance. This requires them to think about what is said, which is quite different to the normal provocation of reactance which works best when they are in an emotional, unthinking state.

Here are 7 tips to use reverse psychology in a right way:

1. Start by presenting an option. Get this option embedded in the other person's brain. It may be something your the person would normally resist, and he or she may initially scoff at it. However, you want to make sure the person is aware of the option at hand.

2. Use subtle ways to make the option enticing. Find ways to make the option desirable. Drop subtle hints that may create a sense of desire in the other person.

3. Discourage or argue against the option you want. Once the person is hooked, you want to be slightly argumentative. This will add the extra push you need to get the person to do what you want. He or she is already somewhat enticed by the option. If you push back on that option at this point, a naturally resistant person is likely to push for it more.

4. Push the person to make a decision. To close the negotiating process, you can now push the person to make a decision. The idea here is to make the person think they're making their own decision. Ask them politely what they want to do, and wait for a response. Hopefully, the person will go for the option you were vying for.

5. Figure out the personality types that best respond to reverse psychology. Not everyone responds well to reverse psychology. People who tend to be more compliant may respond better to direct requests. If you know someone who is resistant by nature, reverse psychology may work well on this person.

6. Think about your end goal. Make sure you keep your end goal in mind. Remind yourself periodically what you want the person to do. Occasionally, things can get argumentative when you use reverse psychology. It's easy to lose track of your own wants during the duration of an argument. Try to stay on track, and remember your desired outcome.

7. Stay calm when using reverse psychology. Reverse psychology can get frustrating, especially if you're using it on children. Headstrong children, and people in general, may take a while to come around to your way of thinking. You want to keep calm and maintain your cool.

Remember to be careful who you use this technique on, and avoid using this method in serious situations. Reverse psychology can backfire if not used correctly, so never take it too far or overuse it, or you will quickly become known as a manipulator.

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