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6 Manipulative Things Every Girl Should Do When Dating

6 Manipulative Things Every Girl Should Do When Dating

That title does scream things out, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

The modern world of dating is simultaneously easier than ever before—we can message prospective partners from our phones, conduct webcam dates via Skype, and spend more time in the romantic entanglements of other people through reality television than we do our own.

Dating is a minefield and putting your heart out there for someone can be brutal, scary, and terrifying—as well as being wonderful, fulfilling and joyous. Besides, a bit of subterfuge is part and parcel of most successful relationships. Little white lies are told all the time by happy couples.

Manipulation is something that normally belongs to the world of psychopaths and Machiavellian types, so while this writer suggests these six tips that every girl should do while dating—or at least consider doing—there has to be a boundary and a line which you have to draw in the sand.

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Subterfuge to test out whether or not a relationship is worthy of your time and undivided effort can be a great thing, as long as you don’t cross the line into something dangerous. Check out our top tips.

1. Fake a crisis.

Faking a crisis is all a bit “The Hills,” but it can work wonders sometimes, and if it errs on the side of manipulative, it normally doesn’t harm anyone. Faking a crisis is something a girl should try out when she’s dating someone and she thinks it could be getting serious. Your date is smart, cute, funny, has adorably bad taste in movies, and a great sense of humor—but it’s only really when we’re put under pressure that the real person can emerge.

In terms of crises, pick something small—your friend’s boyfriend broke up with her, your sister’s dog ran away from home, your brother is drunk at a party—and see how your date reacts. If they get annoyed at you taking time out of the date—or even leaving the date early without the promise of a goodnight kiss—then they’re probably worth hitting the “delete” button on.

However, if they’re more than willing to drive you to where you need to go without you asking (which is rude and never should be done), and check in the next day to see how you are, with genuine concern, then you’re onto a clear winner and can feel confident that they’ll be there for you when the rain starts to fall.

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2. Arrive five minutes late.

Okay, normally we’re all the first to be extolling the virtues of being early and punctual, but when you’re dating a guy, it’s always best to arrive a little bit late. “Why?” you might ask. Let’s face it: the old adage absence makes the heart grow fonder really does apply, and while disappearing off the face of the Earth might be a little extreme for some, being a little late can achieve similar results; plus, it can lead to a potentially killer entrance which never goes amiss.

There’s also the added benefit of having an extra five or ten minutes in which you can double check your appearance, make sure that everything is as fantastic as can be, and if you’re nervous, it gives you a chance to calm down and psych yourself up for your big date. Arriving late certainly isn’t a way of life, but it’s something every girl should do when dating, if only for the first couple of dates. Your date’ll be thrilled to see you arriving, particularly when you’re at your most relaxed and gorgeous, and you’ll have a much better time as a result.

3. Wear heels.

Wearing heels used to be a big part of every girl’s outfit when she headed out on a date, and it has remained a big feminine cultural mainstay for decades, despite both men and women originally using the accessories centuries earlier. However, one of the best things a girl should do when dating, is to always wear heels on the first couple of dates. The reasons for this are simple: a height difference can sometimes make or break a relationship, and so much of society’s norms say that a man should be taller than his female significant other.

However, regardless of if you’re dating a man or a woman, wearing heels helps check your height against that of your prospective partner and sees whether or not the difference is something pleasing, acceptable, or something that’ll throw a spanner in the romance. Plus, wearing heels has the benefit of making your legs look longer and slimmer, so there’s no reason not to wear them for your date. Just don’t wear them all the time—your feet will thank you.

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4. Go only so far with the physical affection.

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but is still worth including on the list. Take things slow on the list in terms of physical affection. It’s practically standard that a date can expect a kiss at the end of the first date and breakfast at the end of the third these days, which is fine, but if it goes by too quickly, you can lose your appeal and allure. The art of burlesque preaches a similar message—what is truly sexy can sometimes be what you choose to keep hidden and only flirt with.

It’s simple really: go a month or two without engaging in anything more than kissing. It’s so easy in today’s culture to have one-night-stands, which themselves are no bad thing; unfortunately they’ve lead to a culture where sex and sexuality can be disposable and women face a strong double standard for either having “too much sex” (not a real thing) or not having enough (equally not a thing or anyone’s business).

If you’re thinking long term, keep the dating partner waiting a little longer than a month for you to initiate sexual or physical affection or contact; this has the benefits of making you infinitely more desirable for what they haven’t seen, rather than what they have, and of weeding out the people who are only with you for sexual gratification. If by a couple of months in, they’re whining and calling you a “prude” or a “tease” for not having sex with them already, then you need to kick them to the curb and find someone who’ll wait as long as it takes—for that’s the kind of person you’ll enjoy being with, both in and out of the bedroom.

5. Don’t reply to every message.

This one primarily deals with the world of texting, emailing, and the prevalent idea of social media ensuring anyone at any time can be contacted, reached, and pestered through the double-edged sword that is modern technology. Say you’re dating someone and it’s going well; fantastic. However, every girl should try to keep a bit of mystery while dating, i.e. turning off your non-vital communication needs for a while.

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You don’t have to, nor should you, reply to every text, Facebook message, or tweet the person you’re dating sends you. If you’re having a relaxed weekend, turn off your phone and enjoy the weekend. Your significant other will get a little antsy and when you return the message, they’ll be all the happier and the relationship will be kept fresher. For example, it’s fine to keep texting throughout the day, but make it clear you’re doing something in the evening (seeing a movie with friends, going to the gym, doing that “Game of Throne” marathon, etcetera) and then don’t reply to any texts or messages that pop up during that specified time.

It’s really all about setting up boundaries and letting them know that while you love spending time with them, you’re not spending every waking minute by your phone, anxious for a text (even if you do a little bit). Keep them wanting without being rude or disrespectful, and you’ll be all the happier for it.

6. Don’t be exclusive (until it gets serious).

This last point is a potentially controversial one, but a thing every girl should do when dating is to remain open and non-exclusive, until the relationship has been cemented. A lot of modern dating hinges on people going on multiple dates with multiple partners until they find the person that they “click” with, and this is a valuable approach to take, if only because if a guy is truly into you, he will race to solidify the relationship.

Make sure it’s clear that you’ll see other people, and that you really like your dating partner, and then keep looking on the market. Not only will this strike at their ego and help make them consider you for a serious relationship, but if your partner agrees too readily to seeing other people, then they might not be the right person for you anyway. However, as soon as the primary person you’re dating talks about making this relationship serious, decide if it’s equally serious on your end, stop seeing any other people, and focus on having the best, most fulfilling relationship you can.

Good luck.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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