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Using Influence Techniques to Build a Stronger Relationship

On February 4, 2012, I wrote an article for the Mesquite Local News entitled “The Person with the Least Commitment to the Relationship Has the Most Power.”  It’s Defensive Tactic 9 in my books, 365 Powerful Ways to Influence (Pelican, 2010) and Guerrilla Deal-Making (Morgan James, release date January 2013). Here’s what it says:

Be apathetic and indifferent. Make the other person think you don’t really care what happens. Your indifference can be either real or phony. But in any case, you must make him think he needs you a lot more than you need him. When he depends on you, you have a lot more power over him.

Let’s take this one step farther. Let’s say you’re in a relationship with your boyfriend. And suppose you want a relationship more than your boyfriend does. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and your boyfriend knows it. He’s feeling cocky, and he begins to act apathetic and indifferent. What can you do about it? Here are four business deal-making techniques from my books which you can adapt and use to get what you want:   

1. When he walks away, never go after him. And I mean never! You lose all power and credibility that way. Instead, remind him you have many other options yourself. This is my Defensive Technique 4, Remind Him of His Competition—Real or Imaginary

2. Confront Him (Assertive 52). Business executives would say, “If you don’t care about my business or me, then why are you even bothering to take the time to talk to me about making a deal in the first place?” Of course, you’ll have to change the wording.

3 and 4. Don’t throw good money after bad. Cut your losses. It’s easy to do this, since about all you’re going to lose is a lot of your valuable time.  Tell him, “I don’t want to waste my time anymore.  You’re obviously not that interested.”  Then leave.  You’re using two of my influence techniques here: First, Assertive 68, Take It or Leave It—Elvis Has Left the Building. And Submissive Technique 16, Accept Defeat and Take What You Can Get—Leave Well Enough Alone.  Yes, sometimes it’s good to forget the whole thing. You’ll get over your heartbreak. There are always other options. You may just be temporarily blinded by your tears to see then when these other opportunities are right in front of you.

21 Other Things You Can Do

According to feedback I’ve gotten from female executives in my seminars, these are the eight most powerful tactics to use in starting and maintain a strong relationship with your significant other. Use your imagination while you’re reading them—think how you can use them with your boyfriend or spouse.

Remind Him of His Competition—Real or Imaginary. (Defensive 4) Tell him you have better offers from his competitors, even if you don’t. And remember, “Doing without” is his biggest competitor. Hearing this from you puts him on the defensive. The best time to use this is when he starts to play tough, or when it seems likely the entire deal will end up in an impasse.

The Bandwagon Effect—Lead a Parade. (Assertive 40) Tell him about your many satisfied customers. (Of course, you won’t use the word “customers.” And don’t go overboard here, or he’ll think you’re promiscuous.)

Creative Vagueness. (Defensive 53) Say things open to many interpretations. Let him fill in the gaps himself.

Mental Seduction. (Cooperative 20) Become indispensable. Make him depend on you. Going far, far beyond the call of duty makes him trust you. There’s a big negative side to this, though. If you go too far and are very successful at doing this, you’ll isolate him, and this may create a siege mentality in him. That’s the illusion that his enemies are lurking everywhere. This leads to an unhealthy relationship.

Make Him Depend on You. (Assertive 46) It’s easier to manipulate him this way. Here’s a business example: The “Golden Handcuffs” retirement plan, where a retirement annuity is vested only after many years of employment. This makes a valuable employee stay with the company.

Make Tempting Promises Instead of Giving In. (Cooperative 13) Promise things that are important to him that you can actually do. Don’t make promises just to buy time.

Manipulate Him with Your Body Language. (Defensive 16) There are many books on the subject. It’s easier to learn than you might think.

Make It Easy for Him to Say “Yes.” (Cooperative 12) Ask questions that most people will answer with a “Yes.”

Here are six more techniques. About half the women who attended my seminars liked them, and half didn’t. What do you think? What do your girlfriends think? Get together with them and find out.

Ask for Sympathy. (Defensive 2) Businessmen often say “I’d like to do this for you, but my people won’t back me up.” Of course, you’ll have to modify this.

Cry on Purpose. (Assertive 10). This is sympathy-seeking to the extreme. 

Be Stubborn—Say “No.” (assert 71) Offer no excuse. If you say “No” often enough, he’ll believe you. So try to be consistent. Remember, forbidden fruit is a lot more desirable.

Tell Him You’re Going to Withdraw. (Assertive 73) Say “It’s a shame we both wasted each other’s time for so long. I don’t feel like continuing this any longer.” Then, start to walk away to test his reaction.

The Power of Patience. (Cooperative 1) Don’t hurry—if you can afford to outwait him and he can’t afford to outwait you, you’ll win big.

Don’t Give in to His Unreasonable Demands. (Defensive 89) Keep your self-respect. And don’t lose your momentum.

Women at my seminars thought these next three techniques were overused and much, much too obvious. But they seemed to work quite often. What has been your experience with them?

Flirting—attract him, reject him, attract him again. (Assertive 22) Become pursued. This works a lot better for women than for men.

Smooth talk, flattery, and charm. (Assertive 60) Business executives say, “My deal is for smart people only, and you’re obviously smart!” It’s easy to come up with your own lines.

Find allies and use them. (Defensive 76) Get others to help you, directly and indirectly, inside and outside of your company. Of course, that’s what business executives would say. What you’re looking for is a wingman.

And finally, each and every woman at my seminars agreed on this: “Never use these next four techniques to build a relationship. They’re just plain stupid.” I agree with them.

Beg—and if that doesn’t work, pray. (Submissive 9) Don’t worry about losing face.

Make Him Feel Guilty. (Assertive 80) Put him on a guilt trip, just like your mother did to you.

Constant Nagging—low-level negativity. (Defensive 71) Nibble away by nagging away. This is nothing more than subtle bullying of people whom you think are weak. If your boyfriend does this to you, it’s time to get out of the relationship.

Act Like Santa Claus. (Assertive 85) Make him think I can afford to give it away.

Hey, fellows, what do you think about all this? Send me some feedback about. I’ll print the most interesting responses in my next column, which will be on Saturday January 5, 2013. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dr. Donald Wayne Hendon lives in Mesquite. He is a retired university professor of marketing, active consultant, speaker, trainer, and author of 10 books, including 365 Powerful Ways to Influence and the forthcoming Guerrilla Deal-MakingDeal-Making, co-authored by Jay Conrad Levinson, is now available for pre-purchase on It contains the 100 most powerful tactics from 365 Powerful Ways—along with 400 countermeasures. There are 121 aggressive tactics, 92 defensive ones, 24 cooperative ones, and 16 submissive ones to get what you want from other people. Plus 81 dirty tricks to watch out for and 31 tactics to prepare you for your interaction with them. Download Chapter 1, free of charge, at Play his free online Negotiation Poker game by going to Apps will soon be available. Don’s column appears the first Saturday of each month at

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