Reverse psychology

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Reverse psychology

First person: “I am sure you don’t know how to do this, it needs someone who is more skilled”
Second person:” you bet I can”
First person:” am sorry to say so, but you don’t have the required skills”
Second person:”Ok you will see what I can do”

The previous dialog was an example of someone who used reverse psychology against someone else in order to motivate him to do something.

When words are rephrased in such a way that they trigger someone’s fighting spirit they are said to be using the reverse psychology principle.

Examples of reverse psychology statements

  • I am sure you can't do so
  • Don’t try to put the things back to their place because you wont be able to do it
  • Don’t lift that weight not to crush your bones
  • Do your best and when you fail come back

Is reverse psychology effective?

Yes it is, if you avoided the two common pitfalls people fail to avoid which are 1) using it against the wrong person and 2) over using it.

Reverse psychology works best with narcissists, over confident people, people having exaggerated self worth and stubborn people.

As for the first three, it works because those people think that they can do anything in the world and that’s why using such phrases ignites their fighting spirits because they will want to prove you wrong.

Stubborn people on the other hand hate to be faced with one option but instead they like to see all the options available for them to choose from. When you tell them that the only option is that they will fail they will do their best to prove you wrong.

In my book how to make someone fall in love with you I explained how few techniques that are based on reverse psychology can force stubborn people, over confident people and those who have an exaggerated sense of self worth to fall in love with you. The concept Is very similar, you just need to exploit those people’s thinking patterns in order to make them do what you want.

Over using reverse psychology may result in letting the other person notice that you are trying to program him to do something and thus you might get the opposite effect.

I strongly recommend using reverse psychology in dealing with people but on one condition which is to avoid the two previous pitfalls that were just mentioned.

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Want to know more?

How to deal with Stubborn people?

How to motivate people?

How to program someone's mind?

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