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What is the difference between persuasion and manipulation?


What is the difference between persuasion and manipulation? Describe a time when you have encountered or used one or both of these.


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Persuasion and manipulation both involve trying to change someone’s perspective.  However, people have very different opinions about persuasion and manipulation.  These feelings are based on more than just perception; persuasion and manipulation are fundamentally different.  While both involve trying to get a person to change their stance or position and move towards what someone else wants, persuasion takes into account everyone’s feelings while manipulation is focused primarily on one person.  Therefore, examining the intent of the person attempting to get someone else to change their position is important in determining whether it is persuasion or manipulation.  Of course, it can be difficult to discern someone else’s intent and someone who is manipulative may be dishonest about their real intent.  In fact, you may even be dishonest with yourself about whether you are trying to manipulate or persuade someone. 

While you can write about times that you felt like you were persuaded or felt like you were manipulated, it can be difficult to write about these as experiences because intent is important and very rarely will someone admit that their intent was to be manipulative.  One of the most manipulative experiences that many people have is purchasing a new vehicle from a traditional car dealership.  They build waiting and discomfort into the process, which makes you more vulnerable to high pressure sales tactics.  This leads many people to feel unhappy with their purchase in the days after it is made.  This would make a great example for describing having been manipulated.  Persuasion means being invested in a good outcome for all parties.  A good example of persuasion is if a family member or loved one has persuaded you to attend a movie that was not your first pick, based on their belief that you would also enjoy that movie.

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