9 Ways to Use Reverse Psychology in Your Relationship

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In today's day and age where everything can be Googled, it seems many people have forgotten the power of words. In particular, not everyone knows how to use words to control situations and get what they want.

Some may think that being straightforward is the only way or that it's just not worth it if you can't be clear with your intentions. Others believe this approach may bring about unnecessary conflict.

However, there are many possible outcomes of using words carefully, including creating more desirable situations by getting people to do what you want. This tactic is called reverse psychology.

What is Reverse Psychology?

It's a form of manipulation (although not always). It occurs when someone says something or acts in a way opposite to what they actually want. As a result, the other person will often do what they really want or need to do. Most people won't know that they were manipulated, but deep down inside they may feel like they want to give in.

One example is when parents tell their child that she cannot eat candy before dinner. The reverse psychology works when the child gobbles down her candy because she knows it will upset Mommy and Daddy. Reverse psychology can also be used in romantic relationships.

Reverse psychology was first named and studied in the mid-1900s by psychoanalysts. They discovered that this tactic is usually used during mental illness or when people face severe stress. However, it has recently been found to be an effective problem-solving technique for relationship conflicts too.

In a relationship, this is especially useful when you want something from your partner but don't feel like fighting for it. However, if you're going to use reverse psychology as a tactic to get what you want from someone else, be wary of the risks and know that there are no guarantees.

How can I use Reverse Psychology?

In terms of words, use indirect statements and comments to get someone else to do what you want. Meanwhile, stay focused on what you really want and avoid getting caught up in unneeded details.

As opposed to being straightforward about your intentions, try doing the opposite. This may work especially well with people who are more dominant than you. For example, if you're a follower and not the leader of the relationship, reverse psychology can be used as a way to get your partner to do things for you.

Using reverse psychology is not guaranteed to get you what you want, so there are some risks. For example, if your partner knows that you're using reverse psychology on them, they may feel manipulated or tricked. They may also feel like they can never trust you again because of how sneaky this technique is.

Other risks include both of you not getting what you need out of the relationship. This can create more conflict and problems than there were in the first place.

Work relationships and Reverse Psychology

In terms of work relationships, reverse psychology can work – to an extent. You do have to play the “game” at work so that you can maintain a good reputation. Being indirect can help avoid controversial topics. Making your boss think it is his idea to buy pizza every week or purchase new office equipment is a sly move!

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In a relationship, this is especially useful when you want something from your partner but don't feel like fighting for it.

When negotiating a contract, put all reverse psychology aside and be very straight forward. Pretending you only want 5000 when you really want 5 million simply won't work in the legal details of a contract. However, I must say my personal experience shows that when I acted indifferent to people at work who I actually did want to talk to, they became more interested and friendly towards me.

However, reverse psychology can be used in some work relationships on occasion. It's best to use it when trying to keep relations as smooth as possible. One should be more direct with work responsibilities and contracts though!

How can I avoid being tricked by this technique?

Be wary, since there are no guarantees when it comes to reverse psychology. If know your partner's personality, then you may catch on quicker. For example, if they're suspicious or think that everyone is like this, then it may be best not to use reverse psychology on them.

What if I'm wrong?

If you find out later on that you didn't need to use reverse psychology and just could have asked for what you wanted directly – great! It's OK to learn from your mistakes. Just don't be upset when someone doesn't give in, because it's their choice not to do what you want.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Reverse Psychology?

Just because reverse psychology might not be an ethical method to use, that doesn't mean it should never be used at all. The pros and cons can help you determine if using this tactic is right for your specific situation.

Pros of Using Reverse Psychology

1. You get what you want without having to fight for it.  
2. Your partner may have less resistance to your ideas or requests.
3. You are being creative and thinking outside the box.
4. You build trust with your significant other by reassuring them that they can trust you too.

Cons of Using Reverse Psychology

1. You may feel guilty or uncomfortable for doing something sneaky or deceptive.
2. Your partner may feel tricked, used, or disrespected.
3. You have no guarantees that this tactic will work every time—it's not foolproof!
4. It might only cause more problems and fights between the two of you in the long run.
5. It may become a habit that affects other parts of your relationship.

Why Use Reverse Psychology?

There are many reasons why someone might choose to use reverse psychology instead of being direct. Here are some examples:

1. You may use this tactic if you have a shy or introverted personality. Being direct might feel too awkward or embarrassing. It can also come off as too harsh or critical, so this is often an easier alternative.

2. You may want to try reverse psychology when your partner does not seem to be listening, understanding, or caring about what you are saying. They may have the same opinion no matter what you say or do.

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When negotiating a contract, put all reverse psychology aside and be very straight forward.

3. You may use this method if you know that your partner will likely reject what you are saying no matter how nice or polite you phrase it. If you don't feel like the other person will listen to you or consider your feelings or opinions, teasing them and pushing their buttons might be a better tactic.

4. You may use reverse psychology when you know this is something your partner really wants, but they aren't willing to admit it or ask for it. This can save you from having another argument about what you need or want in the future.

5. This tactic can build trust by making the other person feel like they can totally trust you. They will know that you would never lie to them, so they don't need to question anything you say or do.

6. This approach can create a fun and playful dynamic between the two people because it's less serious than direct communication.

7. Reverse psychology is useful if you want to avoid hurting someone's feelings or starting an argument.

8. You might choose to use this tactic when you feel powerless or in a bad position. When someone is in control, this type of communication will make them think they came up with the idea all by themselves!

9. This approach can be used when neither person in the relationship wants to back down from an argument. Reverse psychology can turn the argument around in your favor.

10. You might choose to use reverse psychology if you are trying to get out of trouble about something bad that you did.

11. Using this tactic can make someone fall completely in love with you because they don't even realize you are tricking them!

12. This approach can be great for people with passive personalities. Sometimes these individuals might not want to hurt someone's feelings, so they won't ever say no. Reverse psychology can solve this problem.

13. You may like using reverse psychology because it's a simple and easy way to get other people to do what you want without having to be pushy or ask many times.

9 Specific Strategies for How to Use Reverse Psychology to Get People to Do what you Want 

1. When you want your partner to do something simple, let them make the decision.

This can be a great way to get someone to help around the house. For example: “Hey, would you mind taking out the trash?” Or if they're watching TV when you need them for something: “I could really use some help with something.”

2. Use a little white lie to get them to do what you want.

This approach works well if your partner is being stubborn and they will definitely believe whatever you say that agrees with their opinion/position on something. For example: “Honey, I couldn't agree more! You were 100% right about everything. There's no way I could have been right.”

3. You must create a sense of scarcity to get your partner to do what you want.

They will only be willing to do whatever it is because they think they can't lose out on the opportunity. For example: “I've been chasing this promotion at work forever and now that it's finally mine, I'm not gonna let it go. This is my dream job and I need to focus on my career right now.”

4. Let them think they thought of the idea first.

Reverse psychology works because your partner will feel like they are in control, but you're really pulling all the strings! For example: “You know what would be so nice right now? If you would do the dishes.”

5. Express something negative about your idea first to get them interested.

Reverse psychology is all about selling the concept of doing what you want, not necessarily doing it! For example: “I'm really tired and I don't feel like cooking tonight. Do you want to just order takeout?”

6. This approach can create a fun and playful dynamic between the two people because it's less serious than direct communication.

For example: “Honey, I'm sick of you always leaving your clothes on the floor. If you do it again, I'll put them in the dryer!”  

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Using reverse psychology is not guaranteed to get you what you want, so there are some risks.

7. This approach can work really well when someone wants to buy something but is waiting for a better deal.

For example: “I'm just not sure if I want this yet. But you know what, let me think it over.”

I mastered the art of this tactic when shopping in open markets abroad that don't have prices listed. I even went as far as negotiating to my limit and walking away. I each case the shop keeper would come after me and agree to my final price.

8. When you think someone wants to say no but is afraid of hurting your feelings, reverse psychology can be the perfect way to get what you want.

For example: “You don't have to help me with this project. It's okay if you're too busy. I'll figure it out somehow.”

9. Use big words and confusing sentences so they will feel like they know more than you and can therefore make the decision.

Reverse psychology works because your partner thinks they are teaching you something or helping you. For example: “I don't quite understand what you're trying to say. Could you show me what you mean?”.

Final Thoughts about How to Use Reverse Psychology

Reverse psychology is a great way to encourage someone you love (or don't like) to do what you want without being obvious. However, this tactic does have its cons and can cause problems in the relationship if it's used too often or in the wrong situation. It's important to be careful about how often you use this tactic and make sure that both people are on the same page.

When someone is stubborn and they know what you want them to do, this tactic can help get them there without making them feel like they're being manipulated. While we learned a great deal about reverse psychology, we also learned it may not always be the right way to go. So, if you want to flip the script and become more direct, look at 9 Assertive Behavior Examples to Help You Succeed in Life.

Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.

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