9. The wily

Watch out for all the gaming tricks employed by some. Intentional silences to see who breaks first rather than natural pauses. Phrases and expressions will be borrowed and copied to imitate the person they are with. Talking a bit quieter so that people unwittingly have to lean towards them. Plus, mirroring body gestures, mimicking your actions. People will remember the bearers of bad news and associate negativity with them. So many will palm off the task of informing people of impending misfortunes that are looming large and be the one to let everyone know about the good things on the way.

The deferment tactic can be useful with people with deep rooted opinions. You can say “I read in a book about a certain messiah and it gave the impression that they were a bit of a fraud” rather than “I think that messiah was a bit of a fraud”. You allow them to take offence at the book instead of you. Likewise, group X claim that this messiah in question was a bit of a fraud. The subtext is usually missed in that you are in effect handing over your own view through some third party.

The subtleties of conversation are the most enjoyable element. The bore mentioned earlier never grasped why there was a suggestion to get out more. Some will never see how they are being used and manipulated by clever language. When someone says go climb up the springboard and jump into the pool again, I want to see you do it again as you are good at it, they really want some space and you at a distance.

The subtext comes out in a number of ways. When someone says that they have something else to do on a certain day, an assumption can be read that they just don't want to come. Although making assumptions is fraught with misreads, you can be shown to be right 19 times out of 20 if you are good at gauging people's barely hidden signals. There are polite ways of letting people down gently.

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