If you’ve always wanted to get people to do what you want without having to ask, it’s time to learn how to use reverse psychology to your advantage.
Sometimes the direct approach just doesn’t work. You ask someone to do something. They either forget or just don’t do it. Frustrating, right? Have you considered how to use reverse psychology to your advantage?
It is a very effective way to get people to do what you want without actually having to come out and ask. Sure, it’s a little sneaky and underhanded, but as long as what you’re asking for isn’t hurting anyone, where’s the harm?
For instance, if a friend of yours is always late, you could use this effective method to challenge them to arrive on time. Everyone loves a challenge, so they’re likely to rise to it!
This is called reverse psychology. Layering how to use reverse psychology effectively will come in very handy indeed!
How to use reverse psychology without being found out
Reverse psychology isn’t difficult. In fact, the concept is pretty easy to follow. Basically, you want a person to do something, e.g. be on time, do a task for you, but if you ask them to do it, you’re quite sure that it won’t happen. So, you use reverse psychology to trick them in the nicest possible way. You do this by telling them to do the opposite, relying upon the most basic human behavior. Rebellion.
For instance, if you want your child to tidy their room and know that telling them or asking them to do it is not going to bring you results, use reverse psychology to get the desired result. Say something like “I was going to bake your favorite cake if you cleaned your room, but I know you wouldn’t do it, so I won’t bother.” Watch them get cleaning that room!
Another example is asking your partner to do something for you, perhaps take a parcel to the mail office to be sent somewhere. Say “The parcel I asked you to take to the mail office is by the door. I bet you don’t do it.” The chances of them doing it are far higher because you’ve used reverse psychology on them. You’ve basically challenged them and they want to prove you wrong!
Does reverse psychology work with everyone?
When you learn how to use reverse psychology, there are a few key do’s and don’ts. It doesn’t work that effectively with everyone.
This tactic is best to use on people who don’t like being given directions or told what they have to do. It’s also useful on those who like to rebel. If you have someone in your life who loves doing what they’re told, they’ll take it literally and you won’t get the desired results! However, reverse psychology is pretty effective on most people.
Reverse psychology is all about challenging the other person. But, if you do it too often, you may be found out. In that case, the people around you could become wise to your tricks and label you as manipulative. Of course, you’re not using reverse psychology for negative reasons, but when used in excess, it can seem that way.
Most of the time, it’s easier just to come right out and tell someone what you want them to do, and most people will do it. They might not do it when you tell them to, but they’ll do it in their own time! In that case, save your tricky reverse psychology for times when you really need it.
It is really a trick of the mind, so be careful using it. You’re trying to get the other person to believe that they’re making their own choice to do the thing you’ve asked… and has nothing to do with your request. If you use it too often, they’ll question your motives.
Also, remember to stay calm when using this method. If you appear arrogant or smile like it’s a joke, you’re going to be rumbled.
The temptation to rebel
Reverse psychology works because humans like to rebel against what we’re supposed to do. If I tell you not to open that box, you’ll open it or be extremely tempted to do so. You want to know why you shouldn’t open it. Also, part of you feels drawn to that box because it’s somehow taboo, it’s off limits.
When learning how to use reverse psychology, find the line between hitting the sweet spot and going too far. Remember, you should challenge the person, but don’t make it obvious what you’re doing.
For instance, if you want to surprise them and you’ve hidden a gift under the bed, you might say “when you clean the bedroom, don’t look under the bed.” But you won’t tell them why they shouldn’t look under the bed, and you won’t stick around for them to ask questions. You’ll quickly exit the room and go about your business. The chances of them looking under the bed are pretty high!
You can use reverse psychology in any situation. It always taps into that human desire to rebel. It’s the side of us that wants to be a little bit naughty, that doesn’t want to do as we’re told, and wants to push the boundaries. You can use that to get what you want or get someone to do what you want.
Remember that this isn’t a tactic you should use for negative reasons. Only ever use reverse psychology for light-hearted things. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming a manipulator. Nobody wants to be one of those.
So, if you want someone to run an errand, want someone to be on time, or your partner to cook dinner because you can’t be bothered, these are all valid reasons for using reverse psychology. You’re basically making them think that what you’ve suggested was actually their idea all along. Of course, that’s not the truth, you’ve just played with their mind a little!
Is it wrong to use reverse psychology? Again, it’s fine when used sparingly and for positive reasons. If you use it too often and to control someone’s actions, perhaps on a regular basis, or getting them to do things that they don’t really want to do but feel guilty if they don’t, stop and ask yourself what your motivation is.
Reverse psychology is often used by narcissists. Narcissists use it as a form of manipulation and control. However, it doesn’t have to be this way when used with positive reasons in mind. You’re not being manipulative by simply getting your child to clean their room or a friend to be on time for a change!
Learning how to use reverse psychology isn’t difficult. But know the limits. Don’t use it too often, and only ever use it for things which create a greater good.