They'll also conspicuously avoid giving sources for anything they say -- not just for opinions, but for obvious facts like release dates, where normal people would provide a link to the article they just read. If an Insider just read a press release saying Madagascar 3 opens on June 8, 2012, they'll say, "Word on the street is that DreamWorks' MADAGASCAR 3 hits theaters June 8!"
As if they just heard this from their good friend Ben Stiller after he wrapped up a recording sesh.
On the political side, you get a lot of "People are saying" and "I've heard" with no link to the article they clearly heard it from. "I've heard the Obama administration is about to release some numbers," where they're trying to make it sound like they heard it hot off their informants in the political grapevine and not off CNN.
One of the worst things about the popularity of NLP, the pickup artist community and hypnotist shows is that they have stupid, socially inept people convinced that they are puppet masters.
These are people who are terrible at getting people to do things the normal way -- by maintaining a good relationship with them and having enough emotional awareness to know when it's appropriate to ask for things -- so they get excited at the thought that they can get people to do things by sitting in a certain posture or tracking eye movements or whatever.
"You are now my slave!"
On the Internet, people also try to pass themselves off as "manipulators." Some people do it deliberately after having messed up and taken a lot of flak, finding a safe cover story in "It was all a social experiment! Got you all!"
"Haha, I was testing you!" they might say. "I wanted to see how you might react to someone saying Jews weren't people! You all passed, brilliantly! I couldn't be more pleased with how my experiment turned out!"
But some people actually believe their own story about how they are good at manipulating others, which involves a lot of seeing what other people do and then inventing a reason why that's what you wanted them to do the whole time. It's a lot easier to fool yourself on the Internet, where usually the worst that can happen (if you're careful about your privacy) is some negative words, which you can convince yourself you were totally "trolling" for. It's harder to convince yourself you really wanted certain kinds of real-life consequences, like a kick in the balls.
"Haha! You ... played right ... into my hands. Oh God. Call a doctor."
I can understand why a person who doesn't have a lot of control in their daily life would be sorely tempted by the chance to pretend they are a wizard or puppet master among strangers. Unfortunately, you have a better chance of opening an old book and getting sucked into a fantasy world where you can find a luckdragon you can bring back with you to scare off the kids who were bullying you than of being able to actually manipulate the bullies, or anyone else, using psychology. (Exception: parents. Parents can manipulate their own children pretty damn well.)
So that's my advice to everyone who wants so hard to be someone they're not: Get off the Internet and start flipping through every antique book you can find. Hurry! Before someone else finds it!
For more from Christina, check out 6 Double Standards We're All Guilty Of and 5 Examples of Americans Thinking Foreign People Are Magic.