Manipulation is a tricky beast. It comes when you least expect it, and more often than not you don’t realize you’ve been manipulated until you’ve fallen into the trap.
However, there is a way to get rid of a manipulator long before he manages to wrap you around his finger.
In fact there are eight. And it’s all about how you communicate.
Finished? These are the 8 stylish and confident comebacks that will instantly take down any manipulator that comes your way.
1) “Look, I see you want X”
A manipulator can only be successful if you cannot see through it.
The moment you understand their true intentions, you have two options: play along or reveal their cards to them.
The great thing about this last option is that it saves you a lot of time.
If someone is trying to manipulate you into getting something, you can simply tell them you know what they want and give them the answer right away.
“Look, I know you want to come, but the answer is still no.”
“I see what you’re doing here, and I need you to know that it’s not going to work.”
Although the manipulator in question will most likely become defensive and try to talk his way out of the confrontation, chances are he won’t play games with you in the future.
You will have peace of mind and they will have learned a hard lesson: not everyone falls for their tricks.
2) “Let’s agree to disagree”
Do you know what a manipulator’s worst nightmare is?
Someone who is not willing to budget, not even a little bit.
Manipulators love to find a way to convince you of their truth and twist the story in their favor, but to do that they need you to be open to discussing the issue.
If you talk to someone for a while and then realize you’re dealing with a manipulator and not someone who is genuinely interested in the discussion itself, you can just shrug your shoulders and say, “Let’s agree to work it out.” disagree.’
This way you end the conversation before it gets out of hand and save yourself a lot of time and energy.
If the other person continues to insist, it is best to be honest: ‘Look, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’ll get to it, but thanks for the conversation.
3) “I don’t feel like this conversation is going anywhere”
Likewise, “I don’t feel like this conversation is going anywhere” is so honest that it could certainly bring many manipulators into the background.
If you’re chatting with someone and find out that he or she is just trying to manipulate you into agreeing with them or doing something for them, say how you feel.
The conversation is not moving in the direction you like? Say it.
Talking to this person feels a bit pointless? Excuse yourself and leave.
The best way to take out a manipulator is to stop giving him your time and energy altogether.
Of course, that’s not always possible, which brings us to the next point…
4) “Let me think about it and contact you”
That’s the key. Every manipulator I’ve ever met could only work their magic when there wasn’t enough time for the other person to think things through and process their feelings.
If you have to make a decision on the fly, you are more likely to fall into the trap of doing something that is not in your best interest.
Of course manipulators are aware of this. That’s why they hate it when you take the space you need to really wrap your head around the situation.
They hate phrases like “Let me think about it,” because it means you have more time to think independently and critically, which decreases their chances of victory.
But that’s exactly why sometimes this is the best kind of comeback you can use.
If possible, don’t make hasty decisions. Instead, close them off by taking up some space.
You have every right to do this.
5) “I don’t feel comfortable with this”
It may seem vulnerable and ‘weak’ to admit that something makes you uncomfortable, but in reality it is incredibly stylish and confident.
Because it means you can assertively set your boundaries without guilt or fear. It means being honest about who you are.
It means being unapologetically yourself.
And if there’s one thing manipulators hate, it’s someone who is so comfortable in their own skin that their boundaries won’t be pushed no matter what.
“I’m not comfortable with where this is going.”
Once you are honest about your true feelings, a manipulator will most likely try to appease you or end the interaction altogether.
And if they try guilt trip or lets you down, remember that you can always respond, “I need some space to process this.” I talk to you later.”
6) “No, thank you”
Manipulators usually get what they want by using others’ emotions to their advantage.
Fear. Longed for. Jealousy. It is our most primal feelings that make us susceptible to deception.
Therefore, the best way to protect yourself from manipulation is to act as detached and detached as possible.
If you give a manipulator absolutely nothing to work with, they will feel overwhelmed. Besides, they will eventually give up and leave you alone.
This is why a simple ‘No’ has a lot of power.
“Hey, could you do this for me?”
“No, I’m busy.”
“Do you want X?”
“No, thank you.”
“What’s wrong? You seem out of it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Keep them at a distance and they won’t be able to find their way into your heart.
7) “I appreciate your input”
Here’s another piece of advice: use HR talk to create emotional separation.
“I appreciate your input” is the perfect mix of politeness, detachment, and a little bit of contempt.
And manipulators can’t stand it. It shows them that their manipulation tricks haven’t worked, and it also makes them feel small.
It’s a powerful combination.
8) “I don’t think this is a good match”
It’s not always possible to cut a manipulator out of your life, but if you can, a great and stylish comeback is to say that the two of you are just not a good match.
What can they do? Are you trying to convince yourself that you are actually perfect for each other? You’ve basically said that you don’t like their atmosphere, and there’s really not much they can do about that.
Remember: as long as you remain cold and distant, a manipulator will not be able to lure you into their web of tricks.
Manipulators rely on emotion. If you don’t show one, speak in an HR voice and give them nothing to work with… their hands are tied.
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