Much like people reading articles like these, there are others learning about ways to make people like them. As the education and advocacy of proper social skills becomes widespread, there will be people who seek to abuse what they learn. The methods they learn and employ vary in effectiveness and scope. The ones who experience good results employing the skills they learned will start to wonder whether they can squeeze further benefit from their implementation.
As a general rule, showing genuine interest in the person they’re talking to will be a lesson many learn on their journey toward improving their social skills. They’ll look deeply into your eyes, and inquire into the particulars of your job, day, and life in general. They’ll make you feel important.
There will be others who don’t quite get the “genuine” part of showing interest down. They’ll employ the methods they’re told work well only to seem inauthentic, fake, and exploitative. They’ll seem to be showing interest only because they want something, and you’ll read what they’re trying to do from a mile away.
Once you do label someone to be faking their interest in you – hoping to make you like them – you’ll be faced with a dilemma. On the exterior, these people would be doing nothing wrong. If someone were to analyze their behavior toward you from afar, they’d seem to be having a friendly conversation with you.
This article is about navigating the specific scenario of dealing with someone who uses cheap methods of persuasion on you. Those who show fraudulent interest put us in a difficult social position. You’ll find yourself labeling their actions as nothing more than an attempt to open you up and make you like them.
You’ll stop feeling a desire to continue a conversation with them and will perhaps feel a little exploited. Their smiles will be wide and fake. Rather than being clear windows into their soul, their eyes will be mirrored; without any soul to find within them. You wouldn’t feel their authentic presence in the conversation you’ve mistaken to be meaningful.
Below, are guidelines which hope to help you navigate this specific – yet common – social situation.
Bring Attention to Their Methods
Compliments directed at the methods being used by the individual at hand seem to curb the enthusiasm with which inauthentic interest is shown. Since you were able to see through someone’s forged attempt to get you to open up, you’d be able to put a label to the methods they used.
Perhaps it was the big smile they walked up to you with, or the fact that they used your name seven times in the span of four minutes. Draw attention to the methods they use in an effort to communicate that you know and understand what they’re attempting to do.
“You’re great at making people feel comfortable,” you might say.
“Your questions can encourage someone to talk to you for hours, you seem to be skilled at that,” could be another example of bringing attention to this individual’s methods.
From the perspective of the individual in question, having their unnatural interest be acknowledged by those they target with it will discourage them from continuing to use it. The concept at hand seems to resemble the act of a magician’s joke being figured out by the audience. Once the audience has an understanding of what’s going on under the sleeve, the trick is no longer perceived to be effective by the one who’s performing it.
The ones who know that their attempts to influence have been labeled and acknowledged will be likelier to think twice about continuing to implement them.
Pull Hard on the Baited Hook They Cast
An underlying philosophy of Judo is a continued effort to use one’s opponent’s momentum against them. That philosophy works rather well in parts of life which are less physical in nature. The person showing fraudulent interest in you will be casting a series of baited hooks your way. Hoping that you’ll bite and perceive them to be a person worthy of your love and attention, they implement the charismatic methods they learned.
It helps to know what to do if you find yourself lacking the desire to abruptly leave the conversations you have with these people. Sometimes, they’re coworkers or someone who’s in the social circle you find yourself in. An abrupt exit out of a conversation can be mistaken for unwarranted rudeness.
Use the bait they cast themselves against them like a calculated Judoka. Since this individual would be operating from a shallow perspective, they wouldn’t necessarily be prepared to be looked to for input on the very topics they brought to the forefront of conversation.
If they ask you about your line of work for example, go deeper than they expect and include them in painting the picture they only wanted to observe. Venture into realms no casual observer would be comfortable navigating regarding your work. In doing so, you’d take control of the flow of conversation. Ask them if they’ve ever heard of your company’s products. Look to them to give their experience with the line of work you’re in. Do they use the external hard drives your company makes? Have they ever ridden on a ferry which uses the engines your company develops?
You’d already be in the conversation with this individual. Thereby you might as well get some feedback, opinion, or experience from them too. If someone’s showing fake interest in the website you’ve developed for example, it would be your chance to quiz them on things you wanted to know. Ask them whether they typically visit websites like yours on desktop or mobile perhaps. Maybe you’ve always wanted to know what people who don’t know about your niche think of it, and what experience they have with it.
There would be many crevices to discover inside the cave you both enter by way of their fraudulent attempts to influence. Attempt to shift the momentum from them desiring to gain something from the conversation, to you being the one who gains as a result.
The goal of taking grasp of the detailed devil’s horns and wielding them to your advantage is to dissuade this individual from opening any other can of worms. Their shallow attempt to influence would have gotten them into the deep end of a pool they sought to just dip their toes in. Hopefully, it will discourage them from needing to put that much cognitive effort into another topic of conversation they casual want to start.
If you notice this person beginning to show genuine interest in having the conversation you took control of by wielding details, it would be a positive result. You’d have shifted their perspective from a shallow and fraudulent one to an authentic one. You may also have been wrong about their exploitative goals from the beginning, and served to find the truth out for yourself.
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