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5 Benevolent Psychological Tricks That Actually Work, According To People Who Use Them

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels 
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Human psychology can be complex, yet there are some aspects of our shared human nature that are simpler than we might think. 

There are various ways to manipulate human behavior in your favor, and not all of those tactics are malicious in their intent.

Here are 5 benevolent psychological tricks that actually work, according to people who have tried them:

1. Say a person’s name when you’re speaking

According to a member on the subreddit r/AskReddit, using names in conversations helps create a bond between you and the person you’re talking to. “It makes them feel important,” they noted.

Referring to someone by name shows that you care enough about them to remember that intimate detail. 



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Yet someone else on the subreddit warned against using someone’s name too often in conversation, saying, “It will come off as creepy.”

Saying people’s names validates them, and means you’ve been paying enough attention to their individuality that they’ve made a lasting impression on you, so you can make an impression on them, too.

2. When offering a choice between two things, say the option you prefer first

This technique plays into the idea of “the illusion of choice,” which is a cognitive bias that makes people believe they have more agency over their decisions than they actually do. 

If we’re overwhelmed by choices, it becomes harder to make a final decision, especially one that we feel good about.

5 Benevolent Psychological Tricks That Actually WorkPhoto: Jopwell / Pexels 

By narrowing down someone’s options, people feel as though they have agency over the outcome, even if you’re framing the choices in a way that actually benefits you, and not them.

3. Keep quiet so people will talk to you

Another person offered the following advice around getting people to divulge information. They advised people seeking to know more about a specific subject to “Make eye contact and nod, but don’t say anything.”



“Most people will keep talking to fill the silence,” they concluded.

Being an active listener is a technique that shows just how interested you are in the subject at hand. 

Instead of filling in the blanks yourself or asking probing questions, try looking the person in the eye and nodding, to show you’ve heard them. Then, leave open space for them to say more. 

5 Benevolent Psychological Tricks That Actually WorkPhoto: cottonbro studio / Pexels

Being a good listener is a valuable skill, as the more you listen, the more people will want to share parts of themselves with you.

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4. Ask people for a favor they can easily do for you

“Most people want to be helpful when it’s easy for them to do so,” noted another Redditor.

They suggested asking people to do a simple, accessible favor for you, which makes them feel useful. Being helpful boosts people’s confidence and sense of self. It allows them to feel like they’re valuable and valued.

This enhances the bond between you and the other person and makes it more likely that you’ll form a friendly connection.

5. Fake it

The final psychological tool is more about tricking yourself than tricking other people: Fake it ‘til you make it.

Confidence isn’t always a personality trait that comes naturally, especially when we’re trying new things or in unfamiliar situations.  



By pretending to feel confident, you’re more likely to project a sense of confidence, even if deep down, you’re nervous.

Psychological tools can be used to enhance interaction and communication which is always a good thing.

Not all psychological tools are designed to trick people in a way that harms them.

These "tricks" actually enhance the connection between two people, allowing them to feel a deeper sense of intimacy, solely for the purpose of growing closer, without ulterior motives. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.