People Share Their Most Effective Psychological Tricks For Day To Day Life
On an average day, most people will have to navigate a thousand different social rituals, each with their own rules and expectations. From grabbing coffee in the morning, to chatting with a co-worker on the way to a meeting, to bumping into an old acquaintance on your way home, every situation you find yourself in requires you to know a different set of norms and behaviours.
Not only that, but many of these rituals are riddled with tiny annoyances or potential pitfalls. What do you do about a chatty co-worker you just can’t get away from? Are you supposed to make small talk with the barista to be polite, or are you just slowing down their work? How do you deal with getting pulled into a meeting with the boss?
Thankfully, these Redditors have compiled all the best psychological tricks to smooth the rough edges of everyday life, helping you to do everything from navigating the office to stopping hiccups instantly. Use your newfound wisdom wisely!
1. Changing the subject
When I do something annoying or bothersome to my husband and he goes quiet, I wait a few minutes and then I ask him a seemingly innocent question, usually on the subject of how certain parts of a car works, or something mechanical.
This gets him talking about the car thing and he rambles for like 5 minutes and then bam! He’s happy again and not quietly brooding. I’ll never tell him I do that because I’m afraid it won’t work anymore if he knows about it. It’s foolproof though, it works every single time, no matter how bothered he is.
2. Think about hiccuping!
If someone says they have the hiccups, ask them to prove it. 9/10 times, their hiccups will disappear. Having to summon a hiccup in order to demonstrate will trick your diaphragm into just Not Hiccuping.
I’ve been able to twist it around on myself with some success as well, but it takes practice. You realize you have hiccups, then /try/ to hiccup. Actively try to make yourself do another one. It’ll stop.
3. Bluff or giggle?
I’m a professional poker player. When I am in a pot with one other player, I often try to make them laugh when they are thinking about what to do.
If you can get them to laugh, it sets them in a mood where they are unlikely to bluff. In fact, I talk a lot in general, it’s very common to make jokes at the table even in hands.
4. Derailing the conversation
I speak at conferences all over the world, and a lot of the speakers use this in their Q&A. If there’s a particularly hard question to answer, they always start with “what a great question! (Etc etc).”
Generally speaking, the asker is so pleased that their question got praised by the speaker in front of all those people that they are less critical of and pay less attention to the actual answer.
5. Proper apologies
Don’t say “it’s okay” when someone apologizes. Say something like, “thank you for apologizing.” If someone needs to apologize to you, then it was something that isn’t okay.
My mom teaches this to her kindergartners and it really does make a difference. It opens doors for growth and conversation too. “thank you for apologizing, I don’t like it when you hit me.” or whatever.
6. Right back at you!
My youngest, four-years-old, got into the “why” phase a little while back. Read an article that said the best way to get them to stop was to ask them “I’m not sure, what do you think?”
It is a godsend. They answer their own question, you provide some feedback “Sounds good to me.” and they immediately move on. F***ing awesome.
7. Copy the competitors
I work as a Creative Director. I have a lot of great clients, unfortunately with a few s***ty managers from their side. They usually go with the mantra of “If it’s not my idea, it’s not a good idea”.
I end up (sometimes) telling them about something Google, Tesla, Amazon, Samsung, Etc. is doing, and how we could try it. They jump at these ideas. The ideas are actually mine or my teams. Works like a charm.
8. Swapping flyers
Coming down the train station escalator on my way to work, there’s always a mob of people in lanyards and branded clothes handing out sign-up vouchers to c*** I’ll never use.
It’s become my routine to beat them at their own game by handing them something first, and seeing them take it by instinct and then do a double-take.
Bonus points if I’m crossing the station and can get an Uber Eats voucher to the Jehovahs Witnesses, and a copy of Watchtower to the Uber Eats guys.
9. An innocuous question
When I’m doing backcountry hiking patrol in a wilderness area I’m supposed to keep an eye out for people with dogs, which are not allowed. The ranger taught me to ask any dog walkers, “Are you looking for somewhere to walk your dog?”
That gives them the chance to pretend they didn’t know about the rule (signs posted of course) so they don’t lose face. Then I give them a brochure with dog-friendly trails. It’s a brilliantly nonconfrontational technique, and I use it in other parts of my life.
10. It’s all in the tone
If I’m having a conversation that’s a bit difficult, or I don’t have a lot to say, then I’ll repeat the last word or phrase that the other person said, with a slight tilt of my head, as if I’m rephrasing it as a question.
Virtually all the time, they’ll expand or elaborate on what they said previously, and then move on to something else too. I can keep a whole conversation going just by doing this, but a lot of the time it’ll also help the other person to open up and they’ll feel like they’ve been able to have their say.
11. Describing the monster
If a child tells you they’re afraid of a monster in a closet, instead of telling them there is no monster, ask them to describe the monster and what they think the monster is doing there in the first place.
Then ask how to get the monster to leave. It will help them alleviate their fear far more effectively than instinctively trying to tell them there is no monster.
12. An indirect call-out
Have a toxic person you need to try and get through to without calling them out directly and risk bearing the brunt of their meltdown? Tell a story about how some “annoying idiot” behaves in a certain manner (citing the toxic person’s behaviour here) and how frustrating / pathetic / lame etc. it is.
The toxic person’s ego will take over and they will tone down that behaviour. Works like a charm. Also, it’s safe, because they’re narcissists and couldn’t fathom that their behaviour is frustrating, so they won’t make the link and figure out what you’re doing.
13. Walking and talking
I work in an office. When people stop by my desk and refuse to leave me alone I will get up and refill my water bottle while they are talking to me.
Instead of walking back to my desk, I walk them to theirs. They instinctively will sit down. Then I just sever the convo and get back to work.
14. Less sweet than it seems
This could be considered me helping other people out, but I’ve found this trick when making the tea and coffee round in my work. Lots of people in my office have disgusting amounts of sugar in their hot drinks (like 4 to 6 teaspoons) so I’ve started to make these peoples’ drinks in red cups.
People associate the colour red with sweetness and so I can reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks to like 1 or 2. They haven’t noticed yet and I usually make the rounds because apparently, I make a ‘good cup of tea or coffee.’
15. Please and thank you
Saying ‘thanks’ instead of ‘please’. We got taught this in teacher’s college. For example “Put your phone away please” makes it sound like they have a choice or you are waiting for a reply.
“Put your phone away, thanks” makes it sound like they don’t have a choice and you have already finished the conversation so they are less likely to answer back.
16. Negatives over positives
Use this one at work: loss aversion. People are programmed to obsess over the negatives. Let’s say you are pitching an idea and it has 5 benefits and 2 drawbacks. People will obsess over the 2 drawbacks no matter how much the 5 benefits blow it out of the water. They can’t help it. They’re not being stupid, they’re just being human.
So flip it. Write it about the 5 drawbacks of NOT doing it compared to the 2 advantages of not doing it. People will now focus on the 5 ‘original benefits’ because they are now what will be lost by not doing it. The 2 advantages of not doing it will hardly get a mention.
17. Ballpark figures
We sell a million little bottles of things in a bunch of different sizes and brands and the company expects us to have all the prices memorized, which is dumb and impossible.
Instead of that, when a customer asks me how much it costs, I give a higher ballpark – “I’m pretty sure that one is 14.99, let me just double check,” and then when I scan it, if it’s lower in price, I can say, “oh cool, looks like they just dropped the price on this one, it’s actually 12.99.”
If it’s more expensive than I thought, I can say, “Ah, I was thinking of the smaller size, this one is actually $16.99 because you get 3.5 more ounces of product per bottle,” or whatever.
18. Maintaining eye contact
Shy? Have a hard time maintaining eye contact but you’re afraid of coming off as disinterested? Eye color. Focus on the colour of someone’s eyes as you’re talking. Take in variations, hues, flecks, etc, etc.
To the speaker you’re paying rapt attention, but as a person who has a hard time keeping eye contact, you’re no longer looking into the eyes, but at them. I read it here years ago and it helped me a lot.
19. What’s my age again?
I work as a lifeguard and patrons aged 16 and under aren’t allowed in the hot tub. Often times they go in anyway and lie about their age.
So my go-to is always to ask “are you 15 years old?” That often anchors them into the idea of them only needing to be 15, and they answer me with yes they are 15. Gets ’em every time.
20. Leaving politely
If someone is taking up too much of your time talking and you’re trying to break away, do this:
While they are talking at you, glance over their shoulder, and quickly shoot up ‘just give me a minute’ hand gesture like ☝️ and silently mouth ‘one moment’, and then immediately return to the conversation before the person talking at you has time to really look back and see who you were gesturing to.
They usually get suddenly sheepish and try to finish up very quickly, but it actually makes you look generous for allowing them to finish their conversation when you clearly are needed elsewhere. People might not mind holding you up, but they get worried about who else they are holding up, and that usually cuts conversation very very quickly without to having to say anything.
21. More expensive isn’t always better
I work in wine retail. Tell rich d-bags that I have something more expensive but I don’t think it’s what they are looking for. Works every time. Added bonus, if they don’t like it, I told them I didn’t think they would.
I have plenty of wealthy clients who are awesome and I would never do this to them but man does it feel good to stick a rich jerk with that $500+ bottle you have been trying to dump for a year and a half…
22. Group consensus
To encourage someone to be more agreeable or to display a certain personality trait, tell them what everybody thinks of them even if it’s a lie. For instance say you need a day off from work. Instead of straight-up asking your boss, say something to the likes of “people tell me how understanding you are, I was hoping you’d understand why I need…”
This technique encourages people to reinforce the idea that they are what “everybody” thinks of them. Someone talking too much? “everybody’s told me how great of a listener you are…”
23. Cheating the system
My siblings and I would often rock-paper-scissors to decide small arguments such as who gets the front seat. In the immediate lead up to playing the game (discussing rules etc), I held my hand in the form of rock, paper or scissors and kind of wave it around in front of them as we talked.
I found that they would most likely choose that when we played and I would win. Scissors worked the best and it was like a 90% strike rate on my sister.
24. Thank your servers
Anytime someone is serving you food “cafeteria style”, so playing your food right in front of you, get them excited for you. I walk up, plate in hand, and immediately start pleasantries and praising their work on the amazing looking food.
“Did you cook that? It looks so awesome! Wow, I can’t wait to eat that!”. They then get excited about your meal and hook it up big time on the serving portions. I’m a big guy and get real jolly with them. Works 9/10 times.
25. Desirable snacks
We often cut raw fruits and veggies and offer them to our kids as snacks in between meals. More often than not the plate doesn’t get touched and they want to eat junk instead. I have started telling them that the veggies are “all mine!” and that they aren’t allowed to have any.
It continues to amaze me how greedy for veggies they suddenly become. They find it hilarious to steal from daddy and think they are being naughty. Joke’s on them!
26. Leave the negatives for last
Never start a reply to any kind of an argument with a denial. It immediately puts people’s back up against the wall, increases the likelihood they will entrench themselves in their position regardless of whatever your argument was.
Instead, try to start off with a positive, then spin your point in. Or otherwise, start off neutral. That way they might just give your thoughts the time of day.
27. Remind them of the time
I tell people “take your time” because it makes them aware of how much time they are taking and actually makes them act faster.
I work in a restaurant and say this when I drop the check to get customers to pay faster (so I can turn the table and get more people), but it applies elsewhere too.
28. Staring contest
When somebody is gawking at you and they’re making you feel super uncomfortable, look at them straight in the eyes with a blank face until they drop their stare.
Usually if you continue staring it’ll make them super uncomfortable back and they’ll realize what they’ve been doing wrong.
29. Foot in the door
To remember something just set up something really unusual in a place you will see. For example, if I have to do something early in the morning I would sometimes put a boot right in front of my door.
This would trigger my memory into searching for a reason as to why the boot is there.
30. We have ice-cream at home
I keep a container of store-brand ice cream in the freezer, which I use to tell myself “I’ve got ice cream at home, I don’t need to buy a $6 pint of Ben/Jerry’s” when I am standing at the grocery store.
I never eat the cheap ice cream, so it lasts forever and I don’t spend money on calories I don’t need.
31. Hydration dares
Well, this one is kind of mean. When the mood strikes me and someone asks me for a glass of water I fetch it for them and tell them I dare you to drink it.
Now all I did was fill water and nothing else. The person will not touch the glass of water 9/10 times.
32. Whose idea was it anyway?
If I need something put into action, I’ll bring it up casually, and get their thoughts on how to improve the idea.
Then a few weeks later, I’ll remind them of “their” idea we were discussing and ask when we could implement it. Once it’s THEIR idea, they will plant Satan in Heaven to see it done.
33. Speak up
When I ask a question to my class (intern professor) and someone starts answering, I walk away from that person towards the opposite side of the class so they naturally speak up so I can hear.
It’s a great tool that way I don’t have to embarrass them and ask: “sorry, could you say that louder for the other students?”
34. Keep to the left
When you are driving behind a slow driver in the left lane, stick to the very left side of your lane. This puts your vehicle/headlight directly in the driver-side mirror, making you seem more imposing and less ignorable to the driver.
They taught us to do this in paramedic school when dealing with drivers reluctant to yield to the right.
35. Guess what’s for dinner?
When going out to dinner without a destination tell your SO that where you are going is a surprise, and ask them to guess.
Then just make their first guess be the answer! They feel special for guessing correctly and you avoid the “where do you want to eat” hassle.
36. The power of silence
If I have to get someone to help me over the phone (i.e. support for a company or whatever) or in person at a helpdesk, and they’re not giving me what I want, instead of fighting with them I stay on the line, or remain at their desk, and create these awkward silences.
They will inevitably try to fill the silence by talking. Usually, if I make it awkward enough, they end up giving in and just giving me what I asked for in order to get rid of me.
37. Lying laughter
Whenever I lie about something I always come up with an invented detail that makes me look stupid so people laugh. They then take the whole thing as a truth.
It’s a nasty trick but if you master it you can almost always make people believe whatever you say.
38. The power of naps
I use afternoon naps to power through all-nighters. Around the 11th grade I found out that if I sleep for exactly 1.30 hrs in the afternoon, I will not be able to sleep before 3 am.
Since this discovery, I’ve used this hack to party all night, work on projects that were due for submission the next day, cram for exams, marathon an entire season of Game of Thrones.
39. Captivating quiet
A teacher at my school uses a whispering trick to get us all to shut up.
The whole class would sometimes be talking or even yelling, paying no attention to what she’s saying, so she just continues saying what she meant to but she whispers it. 9/10 everyone will shut up. Fascinating.
40. Pauses are good
If you are put on the spot or surprized by a question – instead of fumbling about and giving a bad response, simply say that you’ll come back to them with your response later.
That gives you time to consider how to respond. It also conveys that you’re taking their question seriously enough to consider or investigate further.
41. Doing the maths
Negotiations almost always start with the company up for the job stating what their “quote” is. I quickly give them a pen and tablet and tell them what my costs are, what my margins are, and 5 different sales projections we have planned. Then ask them to finish a few equations for me.
I do this because I want them to realize that the deal is about numbers and by letting them do the math they understand that this is coming from a thought out plan and not about a person’s ability to negotiate for more or less where one party will feel like a loser and the other a winner.
42. Pushing the envelope
In my line of work, I use the Overton window to help move more reasonable ideas along. When presented a problem, I assert a very controversial idea and see if the recipient accepts it or not.
If they don’t, then asserting a more reasonable, middle of the path idea becomes more palatable and doable.
43. Trust the process
I used to have to train a lot of people at my old job. When teaching a new technique instead of saying “This is really easy” I learned it was much more practical to say something like “You’ll get the hang of this in no time”.
Telling someone something is “easy” is easy for you to say because you’ve been doing it for 2 years. They might find it really hard to begin with because, well, lots of things are difficult at first, and become immediately disheartened….but if you tell them “You’re going to get really good at this over time” then it tells them that they might find it hard at first but if they stick with it it’ll become easier.
44. No more looking
When you lose something: stop looking for it. Simply tell yourself it’ll turn up and resist any further urge to search.
This works. Whatever it is, just shift to picking up/cleaning up. It’ll appear Like magic 9/10 times.
45. Unusual associations
If you can’t remember if you locked the door and go back a few times, say something unrelated and unique, like onomatopeia, while doing the thing.
Then, when you think back to check if you’ve done it, you’ll remember the word and that you did lock the door.
46. Getting the full story
While managing a team for the first time, I stumbled onto this. When someone is requesting a personal day or asking to leave early/come in late without any follow up context, immediately saying, “Sure, no problem. Is everything okay?” usually makes them spill their guts and tell you why they need the time off.
It’s far less confrontational/prying than asking why they need the time off, and you come off as a caring manager.
47. Looking the part
I naturally have a “concentrated” look when I’m doing whatever at the PC so my co-workers were totally convinced I was the hardest working person in the company because I get there early and go home late and always have that super concentrated in a difficult algorithm kinda look.
I do this because I’m aware of how I look so in reality I just laze around most of the day reading articles that interest me or programming stuff I want to and not actual work and have been steadily getting promotions for the past 2 years.
48. Something to think about
I got a piece of advice from a co-worker about one of our managers, whenever you saw her walking towards you looking like she was going to have “a word”, always get in a work-related question before she started speaking.
It always threw her off her train of thought as she now had another problem to think about. This got you out of trouble.
49. How to give good corrections
As a manager – don’t tell someone off after they have made a mistake, tell them before they next get the opportunity to do the thing they f***ed up that you would like them to try XYZ instead this time.
This means they don’t have to dwell on their error and they get an immediate chance to do better and demonstrate that to you. They come away improved and happy and having learned something.
50. So wrong it’s right
If someone is dead wrong, odds are they are completely unaware they are wrong. So telling them “you’re wrong” is a direct attack on their convictions.
Always say something along the lines of, “Well, your intuition is correct, but this situation is extremely unintuitive. Under normal circumstances, you’d be correct, but consider this idea…”
51. Doing things together
If I’m working with confused patients, I don’t ask or tell them to do things, I frame it as if we’re going to do it. So “How about you sit down for a minute” becomes “Let’s just sit down here for a minute”.
It’s less scary for them if I’m doing whatever they’re doing, because why would I do something that would hurt myself.
52. One movement or less
With my ADD, the whole “if it can be done in 10 seconds or less do it now” tip for cleaning is not super successful for me.
However “if it can be done in one motion do it now” eg: throwing that shirt in the hamper, moving the box out of the way, bring those dishes to the kitchen, does work for me. It’s very similar, but I can’t tell myself “clean that one corner real quick” bc I get lost, so this phrasing is better.
53. Explaining the joke
Not sure if this counts, but a theatre nurse taught me this trick. I’m a med student, unfortunately, the world of medicine is still fairly hierarchical and there are plenty of fusty old consultants still out there.
Calling them out directly on their sexist/racist ‘jokes’ wouldn’t go well, so instead of laughing along as they expect, I’ll play dumb and ask them why it’s funny, preferably in front of a group of staff. They either go quiet and dodge my question, or they try to explain and dig themselves into a hole.
54. No more excuses
This works wonders for me. I don’t make excuses to bosses, gf’s, friends. When I’m late or do something I simply apologize and say “I don’t have an excuse”.
Most of the time they go on to make one for me and rationalize what they believe to be a reasonable excuse out loud. Then I go along with it.
55. Waking up with the sun
Artificial sunrise to avoid oversleeping. You may think you’re a deep sleeper, but your brain is wired to come out of rem sleep when it senses a sunrise, making an alarm much more effective. My lights are triggered about 10 minutes before my alarm, and they go through the intense stages of red, orange and then full brightness.
Then my phone starts buzzing and chirping, and then a few minutes later my normal alarm goes off. Even if I fully sleep to the alarm part, my brain has been tricked into coming out of deep sleep and it is so much easier waking up. Worth all the time and money to set it all up.
56. Doubling the workload
When you’re working out, doing pushups or situps, or anything that you usually count, instead of counting “1,2,3,4..”, you count like “1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4…”.
At first it feels odd but after using it for a while, the brain is easily tricked into thinking you’ve done less than your body actually did. Later on, you’ll see impressive growth.
57. Forcing a kindness
I’m a postie and purposefully overload my bag to get neighbours to take parcels in for me. A lot of people refuse when my bag looks empty because they’re British and don’t like the people they live near.
But magic happens when my bag looks really full. Sometimes it’s just an empty box shoved in there and works an absolute treat.
58. Pay attention to your breathing
If I tell my girlfriend to keep breathing, instinctively she ends up breathing manually instead of automatically.
Sadly enough, it works on me too well and I end up tricking myself to breathe manuallly too often when I think of it.
59. Taking the credit
I work in web development and since we’re a small company have some overlap in IT. I can’t even count the number of times a user is doing something wrong like entering the wrong password or not following instructions and insist they’re doing it right and don’t want to try again.
When that happens I set a timer for five minutes, check some emails or get some water, and when it completes message them and say “I made some changes on my side, can you try again?” Magically the issue resolves itself and they message back that I fixed it!
60. The “I” is important
Saying “I” in front of emotional or personal phrases makes them more meaningful and well received. i.e.: saying “I love you” instead of “love you” and “I miss you” instead of “miss you”
It’s something I learned early on in my younger relationships when I realized how it felt when I was told “love you” vs “I love you” It’s not major but it’s a little thing that when you do it you’ll notice a difference in the atmosphere of your relationships.
61. Your pen or mine?
We call it the pen game. As delivery drivers, we’d ask for a pen to fill out our paperwork and then have the customer sign it. Once the paperwork was completed, hold your hand back out (as if asking for the pen back without words).
8/10 would give us the pen back, 1/20 would walk out to the truck and ask for it back. At 1 point we had a 5-gallon bucket full of pens.
62. Yawning is contagious
One psychological trick you can use is to yawn when you feel that person is looking at you. If that person really is looking at you they will yawn too.
This is because psychologically when you see a person yawn your brain subconsciously wants to yawn as well since yawning is a mechanism to increase oxygen intake and when you see someone else yawn your subconscious responds by yawning to in a way compete for the oxygen.
63. Dropping the tension
If someone is angry on the phone, I’ll just drop the handset or bang my cell around a bit.
Then I come back on and say “gosh I’m sorry I dropped my phone, would you continue”. Total de-escalation 93.6% effective.
64. Letting the silence breathe
I use this mainly on the phone at work, but works face to face too. If someone is being rude or argumentative, let them talk/rant and say what they have to say without interruption. When they stop talking, and here’s the important bit, leave a second’s silence before answering them.
That second does wonders and gives the person a chance briefly to hear themselves back, like hearing their own echo, and makes them self-aware. It also shows that you are not biting back for an argument yourself. They generally calm down a bit and seem to be more receptive to what you then say.
65. A confusing response
If somebody asks you for something, and you don’t want to do it/give them something, just say: “I’m all set, thanks.”
It sounds like you’re turning down something they are offering you. Confuses the hell out of people.
66. Softening the blow
If you have to bring up some bad news, or give a person an answer they dont want to hear, ask a semi-related question right after you tell them the bad news.
Ex: “Can you make it to the event this weekend?” “Unfortunately I can’t make it this time, did you ever figure out who was going to cater the food?”
67. Giving someone the cold shoulder
While I enjoy talking to people, I find it annoying that they can’t notice when I am actually busy and come by my office and sit and chat while I’m trying to be polite and finish my work. A few people of these people mentioned that my room was too cold (because of the AC) and that gave me the idea.
I directed the AC’s flaps to where people sit and keep my room pretty cold now. Whoever comes can’t stay for long and when they ever comment on how cold it is, I just shrug and say really? I’m actually feeling a bit hot actually. Haven’t had anyone stay more than a minute or two now.
68. Nerves or excitement?
If you have stage fright or are scared about doing something, but still want/need to do it, say out loud that you are actually excited (and that’s why you feel nervous).
Another one is saying “am I explaining this well?” or something similar instead of “do you understand?”, because the latter can sound condescending.
69. Taking a day off
I own my own business. When I see a day on my calendar that’s just not filling up, I will say out loud to myself “I’m going to go to the beach” I then try to think about how great it will be and what I will do. POOF! I start getting a bunch of attention for that day.
The other day, I had 3 cancellations right in the middle of the day. I said out loud, “wow what a great lunch break, I think I’ll go see a movie” I got 2 calls immediately to fill up the spot… I know that’s not the universe trying to dick me over, but I use it as a way to keep me from getting anxious about blank spots in my schedule.
70. Laying low
Lowering your voice when someone starts yelling at you. Makes them look unhinged and most of the time they lower their voice to match yours.
Learned that one from my dad, who worked security in a hospital and had to deal with a lot of people yelling at him.
71. Different strengths
I am a math teacher in a school for troubled youths (most say they hate or are not good at math). During my first class with them, I find out something they are good at or love.
Then later, when they say that they are not good at math, I tell them that ‘that’s okay, I’m not good at <insert their talent/love>’. I’ll help you with math and you tell me how to be better at <…>. ‘. I give them some power and equality and in return, we both end up learning something.
72. Image association
Sometimes I’ll ask my SO to do me a favour and if it takes her a while to get around to doing it, I’ll bring up a topic that is adjacent to whatever the favour was, and if successful it triggers her brain into remembering the favour.
Example: I asked her to walk the dogs, she said okay and went to make herself a smoothie, after she drank her smoothie I showed her a dog meme I saw on Facebook, and then she remembered to walk the dogs lol.
73. Savouring each bite
When I’m presenting, I often get asked questions I wasn’t expecting or that I need to think about an answer for. That’s a perfect time to take a drink of water, or better yet if you have food, take a bite of food.
The key is to time the drink or bite just as the person is finishing their question, so you’re just starting to chew in the pause between question and answer. No one wants to interrupt you while you’re processing food, so it buys you a good ten to thirty seconds to think up an answer.
74. A studying soundtrack
I listen to the same song on repeat when studying for an exam. Then the day of the exam I listen to that song again.
As soon as I have the song on repeat again the information from the previous study sessions start flowing back to my brain.
75. A subtle reminder
I put my wedding ring on the other hand when I need to remember to do something.
I won’t switch it back until I’ve completed the thing. It bugs just enough to keep me thinking about it.
76. Any reason is a good reason
The power of a reason. People will do anything for a reason. Explain your justification for what it is and people are more likely to oblige. It even works for a cr**y reason.
There was a study where students tried to cut in line at a library printer during a deadline. “Because I need to make copies” worked only slightly less well than “because my deadline is in an hour”.
77. Never ask a lady’s age
I work front desk at a place that charges admission based on age, so it can be a little delicate to ask a grey-haired individual whether they’re over 65 or not so they can get a discount. Point blankly saying “Are you over 65?” occasionally offends people, especially when they’re quite a bit younger than that.
So instead I’ll look at someone with an ambiguous age and say “Oh, well you’re definitely not over 65! Two General admissions then?” Whether they’re over or not they’re flattered (I’ve had women even grab my hand and say they just adored me for saying that lol), but if they are then they’ll correct me, to which I’ll say “Oh I’m terribly sorry I never would have guessed!” It can really brighten up a person’s day plus I avoid the awkward and time-consuming task of determining other peoples age.
78. Eating the frog
The Dread Principle: Do what you dread most first. Often work, but also applies to worrying conversations you probably ought to have.
Prolonged stress is bad for you, and putting things off usually makes more total stress than getting right to them.
79. Keeping up apologies
If you have to ask someone to repeat themselves, instead of just saying what, throw in a quick “I’m sorry, what?” If you still don’t hear them a second time, make sure to up the apology again, like “I’m really sorry, I still didn’t get that.”
It also helps to take a pause right after they say it, it makes them feel like you’re really trying to nail down what they said, kinda puts the ball in their court.
80. Low importance
Send e-mails that you would like a quick response to but aren’t actually urgent with the “Low Importance” flag in Outlook. This is a blue down arrow, as opposed to the red exclamation mark for the High Importance flag.
Because nobody ever uses the Low Importance flag, people will immediately click the e-mail to see what it is, and since they’ve got it open they’ll just do your thing first.
81. Morning person pretending
Convincing myself I’m not tired every morning. I hate waking up early, but I’m a preschool teacher so I’m normally up by 6:30 at the latest. I once overheard my aunt saying that before she would go to sleep, no matter what time it was, that she would wake up tired and that she was getting plenty of rest.
She would wake up and tell herself that she got plenty of sleep and was not tired. She said it really improved her attitude so I started trying it. I swear by it, I haven’t even bothered with coffee in the morning because I have enough energy that I really don’t even feel like I need it anymore. It’s crazy what the brain is capable of.
82. Buzz word nonsense
I learned a few years ago that a lot of people have very little idea what they are talking about, and as a result, they tend to use buzz words and cliches to communicate ideas.
After a while of pretending I knew what they were talking about, I decided to put my ego aside and ask them to explain it to me like I was a 1st grader. This will quickly weed out those people who really don’t know what they are talking about and get you a very basic understand of a complex topic.
83. Let it go to voicemail
Do not answer your phone. Ever. People only call when they want you to do something.
Let the voicemail get it, filter what is what. If it sounds like work, call them either before they get to the office, during lunch, or after they leave.
84. Facing the problem together
When arguing with someone I like to stand next to them and gesture in front of us instead of standing across from them and gesturing towards them.
This emphasizes the idea that we’re arguing about a problem that is separate from us and though we may disagree we are still trying to figure out what is right, together.
85. Role reversal
When I want my kids to hold my hand in a parking lot or crossing the street. I ask them to hold my hand to keep me safe.
Rather than fighting me like they usually would, they gladly hold my hand and diligently watch for cars.
86. Low expectations
If you want a positive reaction for something that’s kind of a meh and the person hasn’t seen/heard about it yet – downplay it. Mmm, I’m not too sure about that cabinet that we ordered online, colours seem to be off, might send it back.
Gets people in the mindset that they are about to see something ugly but when they get there, since expectations are very low they are pleasantly surprised.
87. Apart from the crowd
I have recently been doing a lot of recruitment for an organization I’m part of. One of the most noticed parts on a person is the face and hands, specifically palms.
In a loud, crowded place where I want to be noticed, but so does everyone else, just a wave below eye level will get someone’s attention more than yelling over the noise or getting in their way will. It’s a great way to interact without seeming like a pushy recruiter.
88. Allocating chores
If you share a living space and there’s a regular chore that needs to be done at home and the other person expects it to be done but doesn’t do it themselves I start doing a half-assed job at it until the other person gets the hint to pick up the slack.
Example: roommates NEVER refilled ice tray, so I began filling it only halfway until one of them was like “who tf keeps filling up half the tray?!” Then I come back like “dang idk maybe you should start re-filling it yourself then”. Kinda passive-aggressive but it totally worked.
89. One good thing
Instead of ‘How are you?’ I always ask people ‘What was your favourite thing about today?’
It gets them to think of something positive that happened to them and generally leads to a pleasant conversation.
90. The right side of the bed
I make my bed every morning. There will be so much stuff to do every day, making my bed gives me the feeling I have already achieved something that day.
Also, it is such an easy task, so if you want to finish other tasks that day, you should be able to make your bed too.
91. Strategic leeway
I’ve found a way to make (most) people follow my rules or expectations. When I worked as a camp counsellor, I would set strict rules at the beginning of the week. Every day, I would ‘give in’ a little and let them break small rules and they would be excited and have a blast. Each day a little more (ie staying up a little bit later).
By the end of the week they were following the rules/expectations that I really cared about and they felt like they had such rule-breaking freedom and had a really great time.
92. No more guesses
I work with kids and get presented with scribbles and colourful artworks a lot, so instead of saying “what’s that?” which sometimes hurts their feelings, I say “Awesome artwork! Tell me about it!”
They’re encouraged and I get to figure out what they had in mind while making it. Works like a charm.
93. Grown up drinks
I look young for my age, and being I’m 42, I get carded at every bar I go to. I found that I don’t get carded if I go up to the bar and ask them questions about the local draft they have.
Then I ask for a sample and then after the sample, I make my choice and they will serve me my beer without carding. Granted, it probably won’t work for someone underage.
94. A touching request
When I want something from someone or want them to do something for me, I grab their arm or wrist(in a very light way) while asking for a favour.
It seems to work. Even if the person can’t or won’t give me exactly what I want, they still are extra helpful in finding a solution to my problem.
95. Double bluff
When I get called out for something I’m planning on lying about I say “yea you caught me” or something along the lines of admission, then I switch it up and say “I was kidding I didn’t even know you were serious” or “didn’t even know that happened”.
I’ve gotten out of broken glasses, holes in the wall and even a broken lawnmower, because people didn’t believe me when I admitted it the first time.
96. Coins for charity
When I give customers change at work I almost always try to give them some coppers if it’s feasible (eg. if their change was £1.25 I would give them a £1 coin, a 20p coin, two 2p coins and a 1p instead of just a 5p).
They are almost guaranteed to just stick the coppers in the tip jar because no one likes carrying them around. Doesn’t sound like a lot of money but it racks up fast once you start doing it to loads of people a day!
97. Kitchen flattery
I work in a kitchen. I’m a small woman with tons of skill but not a lot of height. When I’m exhausted and can’t keep up with the strain of reaching over my head for a 10-hour shift, and the only guys there that can do the position are particularly whiney, I cater to their egos.
“Do you mind working window? I know you hate it, but let’s face it, you’re the BEST one in here at it. Id do it, but I’m so short and it makes me suck.” Works every time.
98. First page mistake
When submitting a report for school or work, put one minor but fairly obvious mistake on the first or second page. By doing this, someone reading your report will find it and mark it up, thereby feeling “justified” in their review and will be less likely to look as critically at the rest of it.
If you don’t include such a mistake, people reviewing your report will likely scour through your report with a fine-toothed comb trying to find mistakes and could end up finding a more subtle, but more critical error.
99. A grounding technique
I enjoy collecting and wearing watches. I’m a horrendous public speaker with intense stage-fright.
I have, over time, conditioned myself to re-orient myself whenever I look at or adjust my watch. A little trick I use during presentations or interviews.
100. Taking it outside
I was a bouncer. The best trick I had for throwing someone out of the club was smiling at people and then saying something really low, and when they said they couldn’t hear me I would laugh and say the music is too loud and to follow me.
Then I would simply go outside with them following me, and then I would tell them they had too much to drink etc and that they were welcome another time.