How to use reverse psychology on people

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What is reverse psychology

Reverse psychology is the way you can use to motivate someone to do something by telling him to do the exact opposite of it.

For example telling your friend “I bet you can’t arrive before 6” might motivate him to do the opposite just to prove you wrong.

Reverse psychology is a dangerous weapon because if the person you are dealing with realized that you were trying to manipulate him he might not be able to trust you again. That’s why reverse psychology should only be used on the person’s subconscious mind and not his conscious mind.

Thus in order for reverse psychology to be used properly You must 1) make that person think that you really believe in your words and 2) let him understand that you are not saying them to motivate him.

When to use reverse psychology?

Lets suppose that your child got bad grades, telling him something like “You will never get higher grades” might ruin his self confidence, make him believe that its really impossible and create a new false belief in his mind that affects his personality.

After all if you kept telling someone that he is bad or dishonest you might program his mind to believe that these traits are parts of his personality and that he can’t do any better.(see Subconscious mind programming)

Reverse psychology must only be used when the person knows the actions he should take in order to reach the goals that you want him to reach. In the previous example the right thing is to motivate your child to study instead of motivating him to get high grades simply because he can study if he wanted but getting high grades is subject to many other factors other than studying.

Telling him something like “I bet you can never finish your homework tonight” is much more effective and healthier than telling him “you will never get good grades”

How to use reverse psychology on people

Not every person will respond to reverse psychology, for example, those who lack self confidence might actually take your defeating statements and make from them new limiting beliefs that makes them become even worse.

Reverse psychology should be used with narcissists, stubborn people, Type A personalities and those who have inflated egos.

In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i described how using reverse psychology against those types of people can help you in preserving your relationship with them and even in making them love you. By simply telling a person that people are anticipating that you both are going to breakup you will ignite his fighting spirit and he will do his best to keep you.

Once you managed to challenge someone’s dormant ego without letting him notice that you are doing it on intention you will be able to make that person do whatever you want.

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