Strangers approach me quite often. I guess it’s because I look approachable and harmless.
Some people simply ask me for directions. If I know, I tell them. If I don’t, I I suggest them to talk to somebody else.
Some people ask me for a quick help. Yesterday, I was approached by this guy who lost his phone and was waiting for the person who found his phone, bud hadn’t shown up yet. He asked me if he could call this person’s number. I let him use my phone, but we soon realized that my phone didn’t have enough credit to make a phone call. Soon after we realized there was a public phone nearby, so I believe he managed to call that person.
Some people ask me for money. I sometimes give, but it’s very rare.
Christians approach me, because they want to tell me about Jesus and God, wishing that I’d join them (I think I’ve never been approached by non-Christian, religious people). People from charity approach me, because they want to tell me about their cause, wishing that I’d join them. Sales representatives approach me, because they want to tell me about their products and services, wishing that I’d buy their products and services.
But, no one has ever succeeded in making me join them. What they tell me may be really good, but there is something that puts me off about the way they approach me. What comes to my mind as this something is: they have an agenda, they are desperate, and they use manipulative, psychological tricks whether they are aware or not.
I see there’s a parallel between the way these people approach and the way some men approach women.
I don’t get approached by women at all, but I imagine, if you are a woman, you might have experiences that guys approach you, because they want to tell you how impressive they are, wishing that you’d be with them.
In fact, I’m guilty of making these manipulative approaches myself, even though I had a clear intention of being non-manipulative.
What’s wrong with being manipulative is that it devalues human interaction by treating others as only means to an end, I think. Here, my assumption is that human interaction is valuable in one sense or another.
On a more casual note applying this point to romantic relationships, treating others as means to an end takes the fun away from these relationships too. This one is practical a reason, I suppose.
As I see it, one major difference between being manipulative and being non-manipulative is whether your actions deprive of choices from others, or acknowledge, make it clear and even encourage them that they have choices they can make on their own.
If you lead a conversation with a woman in such a way that she feels she has to give you her phone number to you whether she likes it or not, I think that’s manipulative.
If you lead a conversation with her in such a way that she can choose what she does without being disturbed by your potential action (i.e. getting angry, getting upset etc), I think that’s non-manipulative.
The questions I’m asking myself right now are: Are there still any manipulative things I do, and if there are, what are they and what can I do about them?
What’s your thoughts?