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control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly or unscrupulously.

"the masses were deceived and manipulated by a tiny group."

Manipulation is everything in your life, whether you do so consciously or not.

As a child, you would cry to manipulate the feelings of your parents or guardians for your gain.

It is our choices every single day that defines us and make us who we are. We manipulate our lives and the lives of others for every reason there is.

Whether it's a small hint at work for the promotion, tipping the waiting staff, or even as mundane and mandatory as washing ourselves. Personal hygiene makes us more approachable, and thus we are closer to the manipulation of that person.

Sometimes we manipulate others for our gain. We see the opportunity to make something happen, and we seize it. Sometimes we manage others to fit our narrative. We even do it to help other people.

Manipulation is considered to be a horrible thing to do. To be manipulative is to control or influence others and yet I cannot see a compelling argument that it doesn't or shouldn't exist within every single one of us.

I've recently been talking to my ex-fiancee. Who will control the narrative of a conversation by refusing to speak and ignoring important questions to then fire blame at me for making assumptions about her attitude amongst other things... I make such assumptions based on the facts I have presented in front of me; it would be rude to say I was always right because that is very much untrue.

Seeing as I feel I'm being manipulated right at this very second. I thought it was poignant to create a debate on whether or not you consider manipulation to be a good or bad thing. Would you consider it to be more right than wrong, more wrong than right?

What crosses the line between the two?

Edited by Fatalysm

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Hmm. I like this.

Thinking sort of off the cuff, maybe I'd break it down into intentional manipulation and inadvertent manipulation. Or perhaps influence is the better term to use for unconscious manipulation as you outlined above. You are 100% correct in saying that we manipulate every aspect of our lives, and it quite honestly has to exist in all of us, or else nothing would get done and people wouldn't be interested in bettering themselves or others. But I disagree that the idea of manipulation is considered horrible. There are many positive aspects of manipulation (which again, I'd prefer to call influence) and I think they outweigh the bad. Maybe the term itself gets a bad rap, but I think you'd be very hard pressed to find someone who didn't honestly think there was a good side to manipulation. Of course, out of the two types, the intentional manipulation gets the most attention, because emotional and verbal manipulation are the types with the most unwelcome outcomes. 

To expand on the inadvertent manipulation, I think this is an unconscious effort and therefore shouldn't be maligned. Unless intentional, most of our manipulation to others is likely out of a sense of caution, protection, or love. When raising children, you could nicely characterize all your rules and lessons as a form of manipulation. But they are there to produce a better adult in the future. You basically said as such in your post, I'm just agreeing with it.

To answer your final question, I find manipulation to be far more right than wrong. It's the driving force that creates a better future by influencing your lot in life today. What crosses the line is the nit-picky and intentional manipulation where you're after someone for your own personal gain over the gain of society or others. Especially when that manipulation necessitates putting down others, that's when it crosses the line.

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