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Do People Use Charisma to Manipulate?

July 8, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

do people use charisma to manipulate

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and a lot has happened over the last few weeks (and a lot has stayed the same). But recently, my company has hired a new guy – one of the only guys in my female dominated department. He’s very outgoing, flamboyant, and friendly.

And inside of two weeks, this guy has won over every person in my department. Even (and most especially) the bitches.

At first, I thought of him as naturally charismatic, a quality that I’m sure made him a success in his previous sales role. This initial impression blended in with surprise that he is just naturally able to make friends with people and treat them like he’s known them for years.

I’ll preface this by saying that I think this quality is a gift. I do. And I’ll also preface the next half of this post by saying I have a pretty healthy sized lack of trust (and general discomfort) with people, especially when I feel I’ve been won over almost immediately by someone.

Soon after he started, I overheard a remark said by one of the ladies in my department (who has been at the company for a while) – “You sure have a way with the ladies!”

She meant this in a nice way of course, but in a very observant way. It made me take a step back a bit of course and take a look a little closer at what I was seeing.

Then just this morning, after I noticed a department lunch had been scheduled for this guy’s birthday (the first birthday that’s been made a big deal of in about a year and a half), I overheard yet another lady comment, “What’s with this guy? He’s like the Pied Piper!”

And I noticed that he was walking around the department handing out donuts to people.

I was the one of the only people excluded and I didn’t so much as take offense as I paid attention to the manipulation tactics that played out right underneath my nose. A part of me wanted to see why I hadn’t won his approval. To be overly friendly with him to see why I’m not in good graces.

Alongside all of this is this is a budding ‘we’ve-been-friends-forever-OMG’ friendship with the head bitch in my department (call me a snarky female, but office politics are what they are and I call it as I see it). It’s the same head bitch who made my first year at this place absolute hell. She’s been in the control seat again for a while, although I’m not as affected because of how long I’ve been here and my resistence to be that connected to this place anymore.

But I’ve been wondering why he’s built that particular friendship, except I realized when you are manipulative, you know how to play the game and you play well. So he knows that the key to really taking control of this whole office situation here is swoon her. And he has. I can see it.

With all of this said, it made me wonder how good charisma really is in all situations? I’ve come across only a small handful of people in my life that has it to an extent that this guy does and each time I find myself liking the person and being drawn in, but that the relationship is highly uneven and I share much more of myself than they share of themselves (and when they do, it’s a very small amount only dispensed to keep me talking).

So I have to ask – are you naturally charismatic? Have you ever used your powers for “evil”? And if you have ever been around charismatic people, do you always see good going on or do you see charisma being used as a manipulation tactic? In other words, do people use charisma to manipulate?

On a side note, and this may become a part two post as a result, but I also wonder if charisma can be confused with narcissism. I found this article on PsychologyToday that may help you if you are also struggling to figure out the two.


  1. Vinny C says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of Charisma. It’s possibly the most effective tool there is for manipulating others. It’s easy to suck people in (it’ amazes me how many “sheep” there are in the world just waiting for someone to follow) & history is littered with people who have swayed even entire countries with little more than a charismatic personality. Be careful of those types, though. They can easily turn their “sheep” against you if you get on their wrong side.

    • A great, intuitive piece. I too have observed Olympic Games standard, workplace Pied Pipers. And I agree with Vinny, being able to fake those Pied Piper skills, is clearly an effective way to the top of the heap – or at least a way of survival. But, at the end of the day, those fake smiles required to maintain the charismatic image, can be an excruciating pain in the neck. It has, however, taken me, what seems like a lifetime – to realise this …to realise that that’s what you’ve got to do to stay in the game (or employed, with a healthy bank account), that is. It’s all part of staying alive, and succeeding in the human jungle/workplace.

    • EXACTLY! Some people no how to manipulate others so easily and the second you cross them you become they’re AND they’re followers enemies.

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