365 Challenge: Day 228 – Manipulate

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Manipulate: (a) control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously, or (b) handle or control (a tool, mechanism, etc.), typically in a skillful manner


“Ira stifled a laugh, considering Olivia appeared to view the reading of the will as her marionette show despite knowing he maneuvered the strings for the rest of the afternoon.”

*Quote from ‘Watching Glass Shatter’ covering 365 Daily Challenge word ‘manipulate’


A wise friend made a statement last week, which I’m probably paraphrasing: “Manipulation is not a bad thing; it doesn’t always have a negative connotation.” The words resonated with me that afternoon, ultimately leading me to agree with her. When I looked up the definition in our trusty online dictionary, it apparently did not agree: While ‘cleverly’ may not imply something bad, ‘unfairly’ and ‘unscrupulously’ certainly do. Perhaps I need to find a new dictionary as in the end, I disagree… as did my wise friend from the very beginning.

Manipulation is often the tool used to force someone or something, but there are times when a palpable push or solid shove is necessary to achieve a goal. The purpose may not be to hurt someone, especially when you may only be trying to help the other person see more clearly. If the intention behind the manipulation is good, does that still make it a negative tool in the kit we use to achieve the end results we desire?

I have manipulated situations before. I admit it. But I didn’t do it for purely selfish reasons or to harm someone else. I did it to help get to the finish line more quickly. If you have an indecisive friend who when presented with multiple options will take hours to choose, is it really wrong to drive the conversation or direction down a path where only 1 or 2 lunch places may appear? If you know two people are fighting over something stupid, but you place them together in a situation where they have to resolve their differences, have you done something bad? Manipulation in any form, where the intent is to harm someone, or to force a result that benefits you without them knowing, clearly fits the above definition. But I feel this word has been ‘bastardized’ in a negative way rather than an artful or skillful way of achieving positive results.

How does everyone else feel about the word? If you love it, the idea of doing this post was all mine and I’m wonderful. If you don’t love it, then today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is brought to you by the wonderful Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 who suggested many great words to choose from. I chose this one based on our conversation over coffee the other day, as well as her recent post about success. Click the blog name to see the fantastic article & the responses on what success is really all about. I daresay she manipulated me to write this post, but that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?

P.S. I hope you laughed at my manipulation in that paragraph about who owns the idea.

P.P.S. I hope you laughed at the line from Watching Glass Shatter; that was the intention.


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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31 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 228 – Manipulate

    The Cozy Pages said:
    October 26, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    I agree, there can be a more positive element of manipulation.

    Liked by 2 people

    Beware Of The Reader said:
    October 26, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    Well James this is an interesting topic as I think we are all manipulators! Think about the little girl pouting and doing big puppy eyes at her daddy to get more ice cream. Or the waitress extra perky and friendly in the hope to get higher tips or…the examples are endless. I confess to manipulating too but like you never to harm someone just to facilitate or hasten some situations. So there are people manipulating others for purely selfish reasons and harmin others these are what I call “toxic” manipulators. And then you have the mom promising a treat to her kid if he is polite while visiting friends. So it’s never black and white but rather shades of gey but it IS our reality 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 26, 2017 at 4:04 PM

      I like the black/white/grey analogy. Good, another supporter of “positive” manipulation… thank you for sharing.


    BrizzleLass said:
    October 26, 2017 at 4:18 PM

    I agree, manipulation has a negative connotation but it can be used for good, I guess the thing is that when somebody has been manipulated even with good intentions at the forefront do they see it the same way. I know I react really badly when it happens to me, yet I am as guilty as everyone else for being a manipulator at times!

    Liked by 2 people

    janowrite said:
    October 26, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    I always manipulate my husband when it comes to pizza decisions 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 26, 2017 at 5:40 PM

      That’s a good one… but now I need to know… what do you like on pizza?

      Liked by 1 person

        janowrite said:
        October 26, 2017 at 5:54 PM

        Heh! That’s a post in itself, James! But basically: no weird, nontraditional, pretentious, or yupster stuff. No barbequed pork or chicken. Heaven forfend, no barbeque sauce. No pineapple. No goat cheese. No goat. No M&M’s. No marshmallows. You see where I’m going. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 26, 2017 at 5:59 PM

        meatballs, sausage or vegetables, that’s it, eh? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        janowrite said:
        October 26, 2017 at 6:02 PM

        Pepperoni, ground beef, salami … onions, mushrooms, olives….sun dried tomato peppers … yep. It’s not that all the other stuff isn’t good – it’s just not really pizza. 🙂 Not that I Feel Strongly about it. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    Kip Walkin said:
    October 26, 2017 at 5:56 PM

    When the intention is selfless, then manipulation in that context is in order. It quickly brings to mind another word: “Diplomacy” – subtly, skillful handling of a situation. Maybe you can write about it someday if you haven’t already.😄😄

    No doubt, most people manipulate others for self-serving reasons. However, it’s only fair to look at both sides of the coin.

    Wonderful post, Jay! Thanks for sharing.👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 26, 2017 at 6:04 PM

      You are welcome. Good input. I haven’t done diplomacy. I have to check but I think it’s a new word.

      Liked by 1 person

        Kip Walkin said:
        October 26, 2017 at 6:13 PM

        Ok then, let’s see how it goes. Thanks man!

        Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    October 26, 2017 at 6:20 PM

    Omg this is sooo perfect! I am thrilled go be the co conspirator in this! and I agree, we need to update the dictionary , cause I think this word has positive spin! perfect post as always, and long live the successful manipulator!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    anne leueen said:
    October 26, 2017 at 8:15 PM

    Manipulation has such a bad rap. Like sugar too much manipulation may not be good but a sprinkle here and there…..

    Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    October 26, 2017 at 11:37 PM

    I manipulate paper and ephemera all the time in my paper crafting projects to get just the right piece in just the right place. I think it is a very nice word.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 27, 2017 at 9:06 AM

      I’m gonna have to look up that second word. I am not sure what it is! Thanks for giving me something to learn today.

      Liked by 1 person

    AJ said:
    October 27, 2017 at 12:24 AM

    Manipulation definitely has its place! I can’t imagine teaching without it somedays🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    roseelaineblog said:
    October 27, 2017 at 4:00 AM

    There is nothing wrong with a bit of manipulation it can be helpful 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    October 27, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    This post really got me thinking. When I was a school principal I think I did a lit of manipulating for the good of the students. Of course I called it schmoozing. On the other hand, I do not like being manipulated. Brings to mind the expression, “you can dish it out but can’t take it”. Something to ponder today. Thanks for keeping my mind sharp, Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 27, 2017 at 9:04 AM

      That’s a good example. I love seeing comments like this one. 🙂 And you are welcome. Thank YOU.


    Atwood Cutting said:
    October 28, 2017 at 1:46 PM

    Always a goody-goody, I was shocked and devastated one day when someone said I was manipulative. After that remark, I shrank into a shell of muteness and inertia. I think perhaps a leader needs to be manipulative. I guess I am not a leader.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM

      Hmmm… I think a leader needs to be manipulative in a positive way, not a bad way. So you would probably be a good one as I don’t think you’d manipulate in a bad way…. you should follow the blog Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50. I think you’d like her style… she talks about this stuff a lot.


    Atwood Cutting said:
    October 28, 2017 at 3:57 PM

    Thanks. I just signed up.

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    October 29, 2017 at 8:47 PM

    Manipulation always had negative connotations to me, but I teach argumentative writing, so go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

    Rayray said:
    November 2, 2017 at 9:49 PM

    For the first time in my life I experienced such manipulation from this person that it caused me to lose self love. Confused me to where I felt empty. The positive is I learned from it and am in progress of becoming a stronger person!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 2, 2017 at 10:23 PM

      I am sorry you went thru that but if it makes you stronger, then I am glad for the final result!


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