People Are Sharing the Best Psychological Tricks That They Actually Use | 22 Words

As much as we'd like to think we're not susceptible to being tricked, most of us fall for all kinds of psychological trickery every single day. Whether you're buying a car, negotiating a pay raise, or even just having a normal, everyday conversation, there are psychological tricks you can use to ensure you always have the upper hand. Or, people can use them on you to make sure that they have the upper hand.

One of my personal favorite psychological tricks has to do with something psychologists call the facial feedback phenomenon. In a nutshell, your brain takes cues from your facial expression. If you're scowling, you may feel angry or stressed. Conversely, if you want to be in a better mood, try grinning like a doofus for a few minutes (or hold a pencil in your teeth — it works just as well). Most of the time, this simple action will make you actually start to feel happier!

A recent AskReddit thread asked people to share their own favorite psychological tricks that they actually use in real life. Here are some of our favorite answers.

Say it with a smile!

Saying hello to everybody you know, and with a smile. Often people who know each other from when they were in primary school or just from the block when they were young give each other an awkward smile instead of a happy good day! Just imagine... if someone walks into you twice a year and both times you smile and greet them enthusiastically, they will think of you as a nice person. So little effort for a person to find you friendly!sjuulbakkie

Planning ahead.

Think of my future self... How will my future self feel in an hour or two if I skip my gym session? Will my future self be happy if I do this pile of dishes now, before bed? Or would he prefer to have to do it in the morning, before work? I have a three-month deadline on this project, will my future self appreciate my current self taking the first three or four weeks easy, or will he be really pissed off? ...Essentially delayed gratification. Pretty much all the bad stuff gives us instant gratification, while all the good stuff has delayed gratification. I always try to remember that - if I have to wait to reap the rewards then it's probably the best option.TheGrog1603

This is brilliant.

I wear noise-canceling headphones at work. 90% of the time they’re not making a sound, I just want all my weird coworkers to buzz off. And it works. They are the Headphones Of Shielding.AdamFeoras

It's that easy!

To avoid workplace drama and be well liked is to just compliment people behind their back.jakobdee

I'm going to keep this in mind.

If you find yourself in a group situation where someone (a leader, tutor, manager etc) is asking questions that must be answered and you want to avoid being picked so that you don't have to talk, then here is my tip. If the person locks eyes on you as they ask the question, then just as they are about to get to the end of their question, you break eye contact and look towards another person in the room and hold it. Their attention is diverted to that other person just as the question ends and the person they are now looking at feels compelled to answer.Ferg_NZ

This changes everything.

When I do something annoying or bothersome to my husband and he goes quiet, I wait a few minutes and then I ask him a seemingly innocent question. Usually on the subject of how certain parts of a car works, or something mechanical. This gets him talking about the car thing and he rambles for like 5 minutes and then bam! He’s happy again and not quietly brooding. I’ll never tell him I do that because I’m afraid it won’t work anymore if he knows about it. It’s foolproof though, it works every single time, no matter how bothered he is. –alskdjfhgtk


Here's one that I picked up from a friend of mine whenever he was trying to pick out dinner with his girlfriend. Rather than ask "What do you want?" and getting the typical "I dunno, anything" answer and then having suggestions shot down, start with "what do you NOT want?" Used it a few times in some of my relationships and it's the godsend question.Kilometre

Just be patient.

Listening to someone without giving advice or pushing for more information typically nets me more information than being pushy for it.Drewby5

It's all in how you word it.

I work front desk in a medical office. Patients hate updating their paperwork. I used to say, “Look through the pages and make any changes." They would groan and reluctantly take the paperwork, or just complain about it. Now I say, “ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is make changes." Saying it that way makes them think it’s not much to do and they take the clipboard without complaint. It’s the little things that make life in my office easier.Staceybunnie

Change your mood with music!

Music. Putting headphones in and playing the music that I know I’d want to hear if I was in the mood that I want to be in shifts me over to that mentally, and really helps when I need to calm down or when I need to feel happier.sunflowersfor

Start small!

In an argument, find something to agree on then push your main point.bobvella

"What's your number?"

If you need to deescalate someone and get them to communicate: Asking questions about numbers/personal information (I work in emergency services) If someone is totally distraught and shut down, asking their phone number/address/ssn/birthdate can pull them out of the emotional place and bring them back to a headspace where they can talk about what happened more easily. I often ask these questions even after I have the information just to deescalate.Orpheus91

I'm going to watch everyone next time I tell a joke.

When you are standing in a group and somebody tells a joke or something funny happens, people tend to look towards the person they like the most while laughing.RiDDDik1337

People love hearing how smart they are.

I work with a bunch of idiot lawyers and I use the phrase “you’re correct" all the time. Even if it’s one teeny tiny thing they’re correct about, it makes them feel smart and they instantly soften. It also keeps them listening because they’re hoping more flattery will come down the pike.Haddonfield346

"Prove it."

If someone says they have the hiccups, ask them to prove it. 9/10 times, their hiccups will disappear. Having to summon a hiccup in order to demonstrate will trick your diaphragm into just Not Hiccuping. I've been able to twist it around on myself with some success as well, but it takes practice. You realize you have hiccups, then /try/ to hiccup. Actively try to make yourself do another one. It'll stop.Le_Lorinel

Make 'em laugh!

I’m a professional poker player. When I am in a pot with one other player, I often try to make them laugh when they are thinking about what to do. If you can get them to laugh, it sets them in a mood where they are unlikely to bluff.Amo4sho4sho

Just smile and nod.

When somebody shy is speaking, if you look at them and nod your head it encourages them to keep talking.SectoidEngineer

"Thank you for giving me all your money."

Thanking someone for a trait you want from them. Instead of telling a customer you’re sorry for their wait, tell them "thank you for your patience or understanding." Works wonders.Hasp3

Just give them a second.

When I ask someone a question and their first response is “what?" I just stare at them for a few seconds, and 99% of the time they answer my question without me having to repeat myself. I think it’s just a subconscious reflex people have to ask “what?" Instead of answering what you’ve asked even when they’ve heard you clearly.G0matic_86

Use a fake!

When you need to find out a name (e.g., for a lead), you say, "Oh, is John still managing up there?" They go "No, it’s Mark now." Works with anything, just use a fake. "Is that your focus outside?" "What? No mine's the Ferrari."Pachuko_pinyata

Just. Wait.

Whenever I know somebody is holding some truth from me, I'll look at them and stay silent. No nodding, no acknowledging, just looking. The silence usually brings out the truth or extra detail. If they squirm around a bit you know there's something they have exaggerated.ManOfManySales

I love this one!

Don’t say “It’s OK" when someone apologizes. Say something like, “Thank you for apologizing." If someone needs to apologize to you, then it was something that isn’t OK. My mom teaches this to her kindergartners and it really does make a difference. Opens doors for growth and conversation too. “Thank you for apologizing, I don’t like it when you hit me." Or whatever.katiebugdisney

Why? Why? Why?

My youngest (4) got into the "why" phase a little while back. Read an article that said the best way to get them to stop was to ask them "I'm not sure, what do you think?" It is a godsend. They answer their own question, you provide some feedback ("Sounds good to me!"), and they immediately move on. –AD_Meridian

Great idea!

I work as a Creative Director. I have a lot of great clients, unfortunately with a few awful managers from their side. They usually go with the mantra of "If it's not my idea, it's not a good idea." I end up (sometimes) telling them about something Google, Tesla, Amazon, Samsung, etc. are doing, and how we could try it. They jump at these ideas. The ideas are actually mine or my teams. Works like a charm.usrnmtkn1

You're right!

I recently read that saying "You're right!" instead of "I know" makes you look less like an asshole and doesn't diminish something someone else may have just found out.FantomUnicorn

Hold this.

If you hand something to someone they will take it. It’s a lot of fun.surrrah

Saving face.

When I’m doing backcountry hiking patrol in a wilderness area I’m supposed to keep an eye out for people with dogs, which are not allowed. The ranger taught me to ask any dog walkers, “Are you looking for somewhere to walk your dog?" That gives them the chance to pretend they didn’t know about the rule (signs posted of course) so they don’t lose face. Then I give them a brochure with dog-friendly trails. It’s a brilliantly nonconfrontational technique, and I use it in other parts of my life.SSSS_car_go

"I need your help."

I currently manage around 240 people between 6 restaurants. It is often hard to get them to do what is needed. I have found saying “I need your help" is sufficient to get them on board. People want to feel needed and like they are making a difference. Expressing to them as much makes all the difference in the world.aaronmicook

This trick is my favorite:

If you need to remember something, think about it while doing something noticeably unusual. This will pair the memory with the "something" so that when it is noticed later on it will trigger that particular memory. ​e.g., I need to take out the garbage before going to bed. Put your pillow at the foot of your bed.mooncake22

Any questions?

Instead of asking "Do you have any questions?" I ask "What questions do you have?" The first almost always results in silence, and the second lets people feel comfortable to ask questions.MediocrePaladin Share this with someone who loves social engineering tricks!