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People Break Down The Best Psychological Tricks They Know

Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

When faced with conflict, many of us have the tendency to respond in a combative manner if the situation appears to lack effective solutions.

But there is always a workaround that requires less energy and prevents exacerbation.

Depending on their intensity, examples of de-escalating tension in an encounter can include sitting closer to an aggressive individual to avoid a possible attack or looking deeply into the eyes of someone giving an unsatisfying answer to a serious question.

These and many other calming maneuvers may seem simple but they are effective Jedi mind tricks that could come in handy.

Curious to hear more examples, Redditor WindyBerniercardou2 asked:

“What was the very first psychological trick you learned that blew your mind?”

Ready to take notes? Then let’s begin.

Disorienting Trick

“If you ask someone to move over to an arbitrary different location to talk (could be 5 feet away) they are much more likely to listen to you and follow instructions. (One of my tricks as an elementary school teacher.)” – jerikkoa

Creating A Path

“When walking through a crowd don’t look at the People in front of you. Instead look past them where you are trying to go and most people will make room without noticing it.” – IridiumFlare96

Dealing With An Angsty Teen

“I taught teenagers in a really tough London school. A colleague taught me a brilliant trick to get a kid to calm down when they were angry:”

“Look them calmly in the eye and say ‘what do you want to happen next?’”

“Most of the time they were so caught up in emotion they hadn’t thought about the consequences of their dickery. As soon as you prod them to think about consequences, most of them would calm down straight away.” – Celtic_Cheetah_92

A New Lullaby

“Talking myself to sleep. I’ll think things like, ‘my bed is sooooo comfortable. Sleeping is soooo easy. I love sleeping. Sleeping is great.’”

“Instead of agonizing over why I can’t sleep. Positively reinforcing myself is my new lullaby lmao.” – HarrisonRyeGraham

Cure For Workplace Procrastination

“My first workplace trick that I still use regularly: people will procrastinate with their own work, but drop everything to quickly ‘correct’ someone else’s work.”

“Example: Bill needs to provide a paragraph of text to go in your company’s brochure. He’s been dragging his feet forever and it’s the last thing you’re waiting on but he keeps putting it off.”

“Go to where his paragraph should be and write a sh**ty version of what he’s supposed to do. Don’t invest more than ten seconds. ‘We do widget services. We are good at it. Our services are good for your widget needs.'”

“Send it to Bill saying ‘hey I filled in the last paragraph about widget services; can you check and make sure it meets your criteria, and I’ll send it along to the boss for approval?’ You’ll have Bill’s polished, fully composed text in about ten minutes.” – Much_Difference

Kill Them With Kindness

“Working as a waitress, if I noticed a customer was getting particularly impatient and it looked like they were going to be rude to me when I went over, when I would take the food over and before they got the chance to speak I’d say something like ‘So sorry for the wait, thanks for being so lovely about it!’”

“It seemed to catch them off guard and paint them as the ‘nice guy’ in my eyes, and more often than not their expression would change from pissed off to surprised, then they’d say something like ‘oh no problem it’s okay’ so they could keep being the nice guy and feel good about themselves and I avoid a chewing out.” – WeakAssPotatoes

Hush, Now

“Stop talking.”

“If you want to get more information out of someone, just let them speak. There are times in a conversation that things stop. Most people want to fill this themselves, but don’t. Let the other person do it.”

“This is especially useful if you think the person and their story is full of sh*t.” – I-am-a-meat-popcycle

Sounding Humble

“People are more likely to believe something you tell them if it’s self depreciating. You can make up some sort of lie but if you add something negative about yourself in it it sounds more believable.” – radpandaparty

Start Big

“Door in the face technique.”

“Basically someone who would have said no to a certain request if you asked it initially, is more likely to say yes to that request if you FIRST ask for something so big that you KNOW they’ll say no, and then the thing you actually want seems reasonable by comparison when you ask it afterward.” – harplesbian

Approaching A Big Chore

“Minimizing. If you feel like something is a really big chore or you just can’t get yourself to get up and go do something, minimize it to a small insignificant part.”

“Instead of doing all the garden work, say you’re just going to take the tools out so when you want to work you can. 90% of the time once you’re up and doing the small thing, the big bad chore doesn’t seem so bad now and you end up doing it.” – TroyMcpoyle

A Sale Tactic

“At a garage sale my father wanted $5 for a desk. It sat all day. Eventually he wrote $10, and $20 above the $5 and crossed them out making it look like he’d dropped the price twice. It was gone in under 30 minutes.” – mike_e_mcgee

Here You Go

“You can give a person talking on their phone an object and they will most likely take it because they are focused on the call. I regularly hand people empty plates, most of the time they just keep talking and don’t notice what I’m doing.” – PleaseTakeThisName

When I first moved to New York, I was on my guard a lot after surviving a mugging. After that harrowing incident, I came up with an on-the-spot tactic when I assumed I was being followed late at night on a walk home from work.

The guy wearing a hood was closing the gap behind me. I didn’t want to run because I thought if he was intentionally looking for trouble, he would chase after me.

He got close enough and started yelling, “Hey, dude. Dude, I’m talking to you. Hey man,” etc… I turned around and I told him, “Sorry, I’m allergic to corn.”

I don’t know how those words in that sequence materialized, but I kept walking.

I guess I threw him off, and as he was processing the random–and very false–statement, the distance between us widened and I eventually turned a corner towards a busier part of the neighborhood.

I turned back, and he was no longer behind me. I guess he thought I was not right in the head, and therefore not worth whatever his intentions were in pursuing getting a solo stranger’s attention.

I’ve deployed this “corn allergy” technique on maybe two or three more occasions and it has worked every time.

Regardless of whether or not their intentions were malicious, I sure wasn’t going to stick around to find out if my gut was sending false alarm distress signals.

For the record, I love corn.

Feel free to adopt my psychological trick to ward off any creepers in your future.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1