I think that as humans, many of us are naturally drawn to positions of prominence. Many of us know someone who has literally schemed their way to the top. They have manipulated and lied in order to advance their own agenda and get ahead in life without regard for the feelings or emotions of others. They show false attention and fake their way through relationships because they have ulterior motives. They don’t allow anyone to get close but keep up a facade of being easily accessible. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been on this whole INFJ tip the past few days where I’ve been reading more about my personality type. One of the characteristics of this personality type is that we are naturally intuitive about the motives of others and many times find it easy to separate the real from the fake when it comes to human interactions and communication. A while ago I was presented with the opportunity for a position of prominence. It was something that was a goal of mine and had been for the past several years. However, after I quickly accepted I almost immediately had a change of heart and rejected it. I just got a gut feeling that it wasn’t “right” and that there were hidden motives on the part of the person who offered it. It wasn’t like I was being paranoid, but I had such a strong sense that I would have to pay in some way for accepting it. I strongly believe that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. While I believe in being at least cordial to everyone, I also take great pains to distance myself from people who use others to advance their own personal agenda. Those are the type of people who will turn on you as quickly as they became your “friend.” I say all that to say that it pays to recognize and identify these types of people before they suck you into their webs of deceit and manipulation.
During a conversation that I had earlier this week, someone said to me that there’s a fine line between strategy and manipulation and we cross that line all the time. It really made me think about all the times that we do things that would normally be characterized as manipulative but are actually strategic. Therapists do this all the time with clients. The thing is that the difference between being manipulative and being strategic is that when you’re strategic you have the other person’s well being as a priority. Being manipulative is more self serving. This automatically made me think of all the times that people have manipulated situations or people for the sake of getting or appearing good to a potential significant other. Some might argue that these actions are more strategic than manipulative. I think that they can go either way. If you’re sincerely convinced that your presence in the daily life of your potential significant other will enhance or benefit them in some way, you’re more on the strategic end of the fine line. In no way am I advocating for stalking and not taking “no” for an answer, but we have to realize that there are times we have to strategize in order to get an actual chance. Sometimes you just have to know what end result you want and strategize backwards in order to get it because it’s the only plausible option. Because the line between manipulation and strategy can be so blurred, examining your motives can be one of the only ways you can know what side of the fence you’re on.