Monday, November 03, 2008

Wanted: Advice Columnist. Common sense a must.

A while ago I came across the list below - "9 Mind Tricks to Get What You Want" - and haven't had time to eviscerate it until now.

There's a subtle tactic to make things go your way in your career, love life, and social world —one that has nothing to do with effort or luck. It's called priming. Research shows that by exposing people to specific words, body language and symbols, they can be affected in a way that benefits you without their even realizing what's going on. Here's how to use subliminal moves to get an edge.

1. To seem like a team player at work ...
Put up a picture of your dog (or even a friend's pup) in your workspace. When people look at shots of a pet dog, they not only tend to presume you're loyal, but they may also act more loyal toward you. But don't paper your cube with canines. Research shows that too many personal shots make others perceive you as a less professional worker.

Actually, when I see a picture of someone's pet, I assume two things: 1) no kids (which is cool if you are single and want to announce that), or 2) you're one of THOSE PEOPLE. The "animals are babies, too" people. You know who you are. The rest of us are nice to your face, because you are typically nice people, but if the revolution occurs and there's only so much room on the lifeboat, your fucking dog is shit out of luck.

2. To appear more powerful in the office hierarchy ...
Wear a chic all-black outfit to work, and don't smile as often as you're inclined. You'll be seen as assertive and directed. Studies have found that people in black uniforms (like sports teams) are viewed as more dominant figures, while the act of keeping a neutral face is associated with higher status and power in a work environment.

I assume they're just someone who can't let go of being Goth, or they truly love their daily dandruff production to be perfectly evident to everyone.

A completely neutral face only raises questions regarding botox or constipation. Or the fact that a good shagging is overdue.

And really, being "seen as assertive and directed" usually means everyone thinks you're an asshole. The best bosses and upper management folks I've worked with (and who ran the best/most successful organizations) had the air of actually being decent and nice.

Maybe this stuff floats on the East Coast, but out here in flyover country, it's a red flag. You'll soon notice that watercooler/hallway conversations breakup as you approach.

3. To bond with the boss ...
Offer to get her a hot cup of coffee — even if you're not her assistant — and chat her up as she's drinking it. A recent study showed that just by holding the high-temp liquid, she'll implicitly assume you're an emotionally warm person — someone very likable. Just don't hand her an iced latte or you could trigger a frosty reception.

And she'll assume you're her bitch forever after. Next it'll be a trip to the dry cleaners.

Here's another bright idea: bring her a cherry popsicle. Once she starts eating it, pull out a video camera and ask if you can tape it to put it on youtube.

4. To have "the talk" without making your partner flip out ...
Take him to a restaurant that has soft feminine colors and furniture with few angular lines. Researchers think that simply being in this kind of an environment can influence a person to behave in a more feminine way in terms of communicating. That means that he'll be more likely to be open and disclose his true feelings to you.

Apparently, "the talk" is female code for something. To me, it could either be the breakup talk, or the "let's take this to the next level" talk.

If it's the breakup talk, just do it over the phone. It works for everyone. You don't have to be around him afterwards. He can cry, or yell, or smash shit, or pump the fist in the air (presuming you dropped him before he could drop you), or continue to screw tonight's conquest, or drink himself silly, and not have to wait until the public agony is over.

If it's the "next level" thingy:

Most guys don't wanna have that conversation in public, either. If they don't want "the next level," then they're not about to drop that bomb in front of anyone else (see above). He will not be honest with you - until the phone rings later (see above). We also avoid farting in an elevator. They're kinda in the same courtesy grouping.

If he DOES want to go to the next level, again, he definitely doesn't want to be in public. He will probably want to be able to get affectionate, get all puppy-dog faced without witnesses, and so on. A private walk in the park, a night in watching a DVD, or just after or before the goodnight kiss is a good time for this "talk."

However, any stage of coital activity (pre, present, post) is best avoided for this talk. Before ... uh, consummation ... a guy is kinda distracted. You might as well ask what is favorite color is while he's skydiving. Afterwards, the theta waves for sleep are already coursing through his brain, and he'll agree to about anything. This is when to get him to commit to going to a chick flick, or to request the purchase of a nice, inexpensive gift - and NOT for anything like "could you clear out a drawer for me?"

5. To make your crush fall for you on a dinner date ...
Subtly touch the back of his hand as you're reaching across the table for bread. It's a proven way to win someone's affection: Libraries and car dealerships have higher customer-satisfaction ratings when workers imperceptibly touch their clients. Touch activates the human desire to bond.

Hand contact is nice, but to guys it's just that: nice. We've had plenty of girls who later popped "I just like you for a friend" on us touch our hands. It means nothing to us. Until you've gotten close enough that we can smell you, we make no large assumptions about your intentions.

When a salesperson touches me, however, it's just creepy. Don't do it.

6. To seem more alluring when you meet a guy ...
Talk about a beach vacation you took using sensual terms (e.g., “The sun felt so fabulously warm against my skin”) to paint a mental picture about the climate. According to psychologists, this seductive I-feel-like-I'm-there speech will make him associate your personality with the lush sensations you're describing.

Meanwhile, in his brain, he'll be wondering things like:
- Is the Packer's game on tonight?
- I wonder what her boobs look like...
- The shrimp? No. Fish breath. Spaghetti? No. I can never eat that gracefully in public. A steak, I guess.
- Was it a nude beach? Call me next time you go!
- What the hell is that floating in my water glass?
- Etc.

Be yourself and talk about yourself the way you would normally do. If you talk like this, he might think you're a loon.

7. To impress a guy's parents the first time you meet them ...
Casually praise someone whom you're certain his mom or dad holds in high esteem, such as a political figure, author, or celebrity. Experts say that as you talk about their hero in a positive light, your targets start to think about all the qualities they admire in that person. And because they're looking at you, they'll subconsciously link you with that person's positive traits.

When they talk to him later, they'll say, "She's kind of a suck-up, isn't she?"

Parents have all their radar out when meeting the SO of their child. Every little gram of evidence is examined for any possible interpretation or clues. You might as well be yourself, because the odds are against you at first, anyway. That way, if it works out, you don't have to remember any BS that you laid out in the beginning.

8. To make a friend out of an acquaintance ...
Start mirroring her behavioral tics, like touching your hair when she touches hers. We like to see ourselves in other people. Researchers at New York University found that when you're sitting across from someone who's unconsciously shaking his foot, if you start moving yours in a similar but unobtrusive way, then the person feels more positive toward you.

This one's proven, sadly.

However, whenever I notice someone's doing it, I start scratching my nose in that way that makes it unclear if it's a pick or a scratch. I grimace. I gesture wildly, etc., just to see how far they'll go.

9. Your slob roomie to clean up after herself more often ...
Spray a bit of liquid all-purpose cleaner in the air right before she enters the skanky spot in question. A Dutch study recently proved that the faint smell of a cleaning product will spur people to start picking up the area around them. You can also prime her by squirting a little fluid in the bathroom sink before she goes in to use it.

Sure. More likely she'll say, "Have you cleaned up? Cool. I hate cleaning." And now you've fallen into the trap of being the primary cleaner.

The best way to win this war is to put a lock on your bedroom door (to keep it clean), and out-slob her in the rest of the place. Most everyone has a threshold, and once you cross it, they'll usually start cleaning and keep it up. Pubes in the sink are a good tactic. If you can manage to take a really smelly dump right before they come home, that's more of a trigger than a spritz of Mr. Clean.

If they are of that small percent that never gets grossed out, you've discovered you need a new roommate.

I hope that I've spread a little sunshine for ya'll, here.

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