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Praise as Manipulation: Compliments or Flattery?

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posted on Sep, 10 2016 @ 10:46 PM

As long as another’s praise doesn’t sound patently insincere, you’re likely to welcome it. Being richly recognized for what you do—or who you are—just feels good. It’s wonderfully confirming, as reassuring as it is validating. Most of us thrive on compliments and flattery precisely because they can buoy us up, warm our hearts, and allay old fears and self-doubts.

But praise has its dark side, too. Much more than we typically realize, it can constitute a kind of verbal bribery, offered primarily to serve the interest of the person offering it. This post will suggest six ways that praise might be disbursed with the hidden intention of winning your favor, or wrangling something out of you—something you probably wouldn’t be willing to grant otherwise.

“The difference between a compliment and flattery is often motive. A compliment offers genuine appreciation for a quality or action seen in another person. The goal of flattery is usually self-advancement through gaining the favor of someone else. Compliments seek to encourage; flattery attempts to manipulate.” —David McCasland

When do compliments become flattery in your opinion?

I usually judge this issue by the tone of voice and body language. I believe I can usually tell when someone is giving me a compliment while lying. As long as I feel they're being honest about it, I take it with great appreciation.

On the Internet, without the benefit of being able to hear someone's voice or see their body language, things get far more difficult. The most seemingly innocuous compliment can be manipulation. The greatest praise imaginable can be sincere. Knowing which is which can be nearly impossible sometimes.

I have a bad habit of going too far with compliments. In fact, I'm guilty of doing what the quote above describes. I need to stop trying to manipulate people with words. It's a bad habit, and it often backfires. The fact that it backfires often makes it a useless strategy anyway.
edit on 10-9-2016 by Profusion because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2016 @ 10:50 PM
a reply to: Profusion

If we find you a new PM pal will you stop posting all these near-identical threads?

edit on 10-9-2016 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 02:22 AM
Quid pro quo my friend quid pro quo

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 02:53 AM
WTF did i just walk into here
walks away quietly

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 04:35 AM
That was an amazing post! no I am only joking! (even that could be a double binder manipulation) One easy way I like, is to be thankful or appreciative and then just drop it. Next time we meet we are back at zero point, after that it boils down to our working on something together or not. Work is temporary so if we proyect appreciation in to the work at hand, I find that forefilling for all those who co-operate.a reply to: Profusion

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 08:45 AM
a reply to: stonerwilliam

Take me with you!

Oh yeah, gotta manipulate ya up a bit first.

Nice avatar!

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 11:08 AM
a reply to: NarcolepticBuddha

I feel like i have walked into somewhere whre veryone talks a different language

posted on Sep, 11 2016 @ 11:46 AM
a reply to: Profusion

I don't think it is that complicated - basically, I don't pay much attention to the compliments coming from people I don't know well. There are only a very small number of loved ones that I trust, and whose opinions or perceptions of me matter.

Only a couple people that I trust enough to not lie to me or seek to manipulate me. My husband, my stepfather, my kids, and probaby only two friends. There are others who I think care about me, but do not know me well enough to have a relevant opinion.

I don't give out compliments except to those few people too - I don't know if others would like to have some from me. I certainly think well of many others. But I assume my opinion (positive or negative) doesn't matter much.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 04:56 AM
I rarely complement... and never flatter.

I am known for saying it as it is, and as such ... IF I compliment someone

it has the *value of rarity* and they will know they have earned it.

In Olympic 'terms' they will have won gold

edit on 12-9-2016 by eletheia because: (no reason given)

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