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10 Delusions Only Paranoid Would Understand (Yes, They Are Possibly True)

10 Delusions Only Paranoid Would Understand (Yes, They Are Possibly True)

There are a lot of neat little boxes that people try to put you in—you’re a cautious person, the quiet type, proud, a big talker—but it’s not really a good idea to judge a person based on a single trait.

Take me for example. I am a fairly paranoid person by most people’s standards, yet I see myself as just reasonably cautious. You can chalk it up to all the cheap ninja and secret agent novels I read as a kid, and the martial arts training that I enjoy so much, but as anyone who is labeled as paranoid by others will tell you, a lot of our little “delusions” are actually viable scenarios. Just because something doesn’t happen every single day doesn’t mean that we should be completely carefree and neglect basic precautions. Here are a few common situations which we, the supposedly paranoid people of the world, tend to obsess about, and why we feel it is justified.

1. Leaving a window open at night invites trouble.

Cracking open a window to let some air in is a basic necessity, particularly on those warm summer evenings, but an open window is also an invitation to criminals. I cringe when I see a ground floor window of a house open in the evening, but there have also been real cases when crooks climbed in through a window on the first or second floor. Burglars aren’t as dumb as people like to think. Yeah, it’s not as likely to happen in some neighborhoods, but we paranoid people can’t have peace of mind unless everything is tightly shut.

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2. Weird noises around the home can only mean one thing—burglars!

Even though we are very careful when it comes to security, and double-check to see if the house is on full lockdown before we go to sleep, we see a sudden noise in the middle of the night as signal that a great battle is about to commence. I have a simple, three-step process for dealing with such noises:

  • Stand up and listen intently like a cautious little Meerkat
  • Grab the bedside baseball bat and ask the Warrior Gods to grant me the strength of ten men
  • Lurk from the shadows like a vengeful baseball-themed ghost for couple of minutes before going back to bed

People tease me about it sometimes, but every girl I’ve dated has felt incredibly safe beside me, so I guess there’s some benefits to being cautious.

3. Browsing online is like walking down a poorly lit alley in the bad part of town.

Okay, so let’s get one thing out in the open: the Internet is like a vast ocean of information, cat pictures, memes and funny videos, but there are droves of dangerous pirates that you have to look out for. And for those who skipped “analogy class” in school, I’m not talking about the type of pirate that illegally downloads Katy Perry albums; I mean the kind of people that steal your information, stalk you or try to harm your computer with malware. Since totally abstaining from Internet use is not a good solution, other paranoid people like myself invest a good deal of effort into making sure that our online security is as tight as possible. There have been numerous cases of identity theft, cyber bullying and stalking online, and it only seems logical to us to be careful.

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4. Someone might be waiting behind every corner.

Stepping as far away from the wall of a building as you comfortably can and getting a good look before turning a corner should be common sense as far as I am concerned. Yes, not everyone worries much about some thug jumping them, but even the most carefree person in the world has to admit that just avoiding bumping into people is a good enough reason for taking a half-second to scan the area before turning a corner or walking to your car in a parking lot. We don’t think danger is hiding behind every corner everywhere, but we know that, statistically speaking, there’s a decent chance that it might be hiding behind one of the thousands of corners that we pass throughout our lives, and we’d like to develop a simple habit that could save our lives in that eventuality.

5. Anyone coming up to you in the street is a potential threat.

I believe that the main reason why a lot of people get called paranoid, is a simple lack of effective communication. When I say that I view anyone who walks up to me on the street and encroaches on my personal space a potential threat, I simply mean that I make a mental note to be ready to move if the person is showing signs of bad intentions and I position myself so that I am balanced. It’s a small adjustment, takes hardly any effort and normal people don’t notice anything strange, but bad people clearly see that you are not an easy target.

6. If you don’t sit with your back to a wall you risk someone sneaking up on you.

There is a short ritual that I do when entering a bar, coffee shop or restaurant—look around, get a first impression of the crowd, find a seat where I can have my back against the wall and have a clear view of the rest of the room. In case of a fire or some other emergency, I have an exit strategy, and don’t have to constantly turn around to check behind my back or move my chair to let someone pass, so it’s a win-win situation.

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7. When someone’s late they are probably in grave danger.

Sure, there are tons of people out there who are irresponsible and couldn’t get anywhere on time if their life depended on it, but when a friend’s late and doesn’t answer the phone my first guess is always that their life is really on the line. I have my phone in hand and am ready to call their close family and friends if they are not there within 20 minutes. On the upside, I’m so glad that they’re okay when they finally do arrive, that I don’t get mad at them for being late.

8. Any group of males larger than 1 is probably up to no good.

For me personally, this point is firmly cemented in reality, as my friends and I have had a close brush with a group of drunken guys on more than one occasion. There is safety in numbers, and younger men are teaming with hormones that are supercharged with alcohol and God knows what kind of drugs, which often leads to them acting cocky and mischievous, and becoming aggressive. A good deal of these groups are just regular students or salt of the earth blue collar people, but at that moment they are much more likely to do something stupid, so I feel it’s best not to take chances and just give them a wide berth.

9. Arriving 10 minutes earlier to scan the area is just common sense.

Here’s another one that has always boggled my mind—most people get to a meeting place either bang on time, a few minutes late or incredibly late. People like me who prefer to come about 10 minutes earlier and have a bit of a look around are a dying breed, but if you look at it from our perspective, this approach has several merits:

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  • You never risk being late.
  • You get to look around and find a good place to sit (preferably against the wall and with the view of the entrance).
  • You have the opportunity to spot bad situations brewing and avoid certain areas (not being there is the best defense against mugging and assault).
  • You get some time to calm the nerves and psyche yourself up before a date or serious conversation.
  • You earn people’s respect by being punctual.

Again, it’s something you don’t invest a lot of time or effort into, something that has no potential downsides, but several benefits.

10. A sentence beginning with “I’ve got to tell you something” can only end in tears.

This is something that we can be conditioned to believe through our own previous experiences, but though it may not be true for every single scenario, a majority of “I’ve got to tell you something” or “I have to talk to you” situations end with a harsh revelation, and a long night of drinking and consoling. Think about it, when someone buys a brand new car or gets a promotion they tell you straight away over the phone—enthusiastic screaming is optional—and if it’s a small thing they call you out for some coffee and just start talking to you without stressing the point that a conversation needs to happen.

These are all little things that people who aren’t as obsessive about their safety don’t understand, but there is a clear distinction between paranoia and being careful—truly paranoid people think that someone is always after them and they try to protect themselves against highly unlikely situations, while someone who is careful simply knows that a world is not always a perfect place and has a few safety precautions in place. Even if we do get a bit more protective and cautious or worry more than the average Joe, it’s not without a reason.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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