CAN'T MISS: How people manipulate us

It's in some people's nature to try to manipulate others at every turn. These opportunists care little about the consequences of their actions. They're conniving and deceitful, carrying out their schemes so stealthily as to never attract attention. In fact, on the surface, they can seem like some of the nicest individuals you'll ever meet, the last people you'd suspect of any wrongdoing.

These people are masters at exploiting others' good nature. Their easiest and favorite targets are those who are perpetually nice and accommodating. They figure that people who lack a backbone are more likely to let themselves be taken advantage of. Once they see they can get a favor or two from them with very little effort, they press on with full force and never look back.

The most common form of manipulation often involves what many deem the "root of all evil": money. We've all heard stories of women who use their feminine wiles to bilk wealthy men -- especially older ones -- of millions. And then there's those men who employ every dirty trick in the book to get women in bed with them. From lying about their age to keeping mum about being married with kids, they pull out all the stops to get what or who they want.

Manipulators carry out their dirty deeds even in the workplace. They'll lie, back stab, and start rumors about people just to get ahead, all while being as nice as they can be to their victim.

As I alluded to earlier, these deceptive con artists aren't always easy to detect, but you can lessen the likelihood of becoming their next target in several ways. For one, always be sure to stand up for yourself when you feel something is wrong or unjust -- and don't be afraid to let others witness that show of emotion. How else will they realize that you're not one to be trifled with? The fact of the matter is that you earn others' respect by demonstrating assertiveness and conveying that you won't let anyone play you for a fool.

In addition, don't associate with any shady characters, even if it's people you've known for a long time. For example, if an individual has a track record of leeching off other people for money or other favors, you're better off without him or her in your life.

As I noted in yesterday's post, It's a fact: We're ALL selfish, all of us are motivated by self-interest. However, some people take their yearning for personal gain to the next level by preying on good-hearted people. In other words, they'd rather use deception to get what they want than be on the up and up.

While the world is rife with such sleazeballs, I take comfort in the fact that there are still good, honest people out there who actually live lives of integrity. It's these people we should strive to be with and learn from.

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