I Recently Learned These 16 "Psychological Life Hacks," And They're Totally Changing The Way I Think

Recently, Redditor u/Orthopod_ace asked, "What's the best psychology trick you know?" Honestly, I was really surprised by some of these and definitely learned a thing or two. Here are 16 of the most popular answers:

1."If you present someone with a limited set of options —usually two or three — instead of asking an open-ended question, you can subtly guide them towards making a decision that aligns more closely with what you want. For example, instead of asking, 'What do you want to do tonight?' you can say, 'Would you like to watch a movie or go out for dinner?'"


2."If you greet people as though you are excited to see them, they will be equally happy to see you. This works great if you work in customer service and don't want to deal with people with bad attitudes."


"Also, to the receiver, you never know how being greeted as if you are important can impact a person. There are a lot of people walking around thinking they don't matter, that no one notices them, that they are a burden, etc. Being greeted with a warm, excited hello does make a difference."


"The cashiers at Trader Joe's have this down. I always feel like they're actually interested in the conversation they make with me while they ring me up."


Christina Applegate excitedly peeks around a doorframe, wearing a floral-patterned top, with "HIIIII!" captioned at the bottom

3."In a negotiation (e.g. when buying a car) stop talking and let the other party speak. Uncomfortable silences work very well in negotiations."


4."When someone accomplishes something cool like getting a job or graduating or whatever, say the normal 'Congratulations, good job' etc.. They'll say something dismissive like 'Thanks!' Then, you reiterate the compliment, something like, 'No, really, that's so amazing. You should be really proud. That's just...so cool.' It forces them to sit in the compliment. Most people are really avoidant of being the center of attention, but everyone deserves to be sometimes, so I just draw it out and get all annoying about it. Force them to feel the love."


Two women, one in a yellow top and the other in a light-colored suit, are smiling and giving each other a high-five while holding coffee mugs
Triloks / Getty Images

5."If someone is angry with me and yelling, I will calmly say, 'I think I understand, but could you phrase the problem differently to help me understand better?' 9/10 times, they stop dead in their tracks, regroup, and rephrase calmly and way nicer. In short, it gets people to actively think about what and how they say something."


6."Asking your kid if he wants three big broccoli or six little ones. It's the same portion size."


"Any illusion of choice you can give a kid works wonders. It's bedtime; do you want to go potty or brush your teeth first? Do you want green beans or corn with your chicken nuggets tonight? Do you want to clean up the books or the puzzles?"


A young child wearing glasses and a sweater with patterned sleeves stands against a plain background, smiling thoughtfully with a finger on their chin
Katleho Seisa / Getty Images

7."Ask for a smaller favor before asking a larger one. It primes people to say yes. Additionally, asking for favors and being appropriately appreciative increases their overall regard for you. This is often called the 'foot-in-the-door' technique."

u/not-a-realperson and u/plasma_dan

8."The opposite — asking for something large (that you don't want and you know they'll refuse) and then paring it down to something small (that you actually want) — is called the 'door- in-the-face' technique."


9."Silence works if you think someone is lying to you. Someone lying will instinctively keep trying to convince you, and will often add more noticeable exaggerations."


10."My toddler hack: set timers. Five-minute timer for bath time, bedtime, and leaving the park. It gives them some warning, and then you can kind of shift blame, like, 'Ahh, timer said it's time to go, buddy.' There's some sort of weird objective authority kids give timers. They might be able to talk mom and dad into skipping clean up, but you can't argue with a blaring alarm."


"I teach kinder, and the last couple of years, I started projecting timers on the board for them to see. I rarely ever have to remind them 'one minute, start cleaning up,' because they do it for me."


Two young boys are sitting on a couch, focusing on a glass object one of them is holding. Their expressions are curious and intent
Real444 / Getty Images

11."My dad used the phrase 'make it easy for them to give you what you want' a lot while I was growing up. When asking for something that needs approval or input from someone else, think about the situation from the other person's perspective. Try and anticipate any reason they may say no or disagree and have a rebuttal ready. Even better if you can make it sound like it was their idea in the first place, that their ideas are going to contribute in some way, or that they'll benefit."


12."Ignoring shit. Is someone causing problems? Ignore them. Is someone talking shit? Move along, go and do something else. You don’t need to entertain anyone if they want to make things hard. Don’t feed the trolls, people."


Kenan Thompson sitting at a table with a skeptical expression, with large text at the bottom saying "NOPE."

13."Using someone's name in a conversation always makes it more engaging."


14."When navigating busy sidewalks and the people walking towards you keep getting in your way, keep your eyes focused on where you are going and don’t make eye contact. People will glance at your face and instinctively avoid your path. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s a noticeable improvement."


People crossing a busy street at a crosswalk in an urban area, with some carrying shopping bags and others in office attire, captured during daytime
D3sign / Getty Images

15."Body mirroring/body language in general. When you're trying to connect with someone, mirror their body language and keep eye contact. When interacting with people, try to keep your posture straight and don't close yourself off. Keep your body language open and relaxed."


16.And finally, "When someone is mad at you, stay calm and lower your voice. It confuses their anger response and might just make them realize how they're acting. It’s like turning down the volume on a chaotic playlist!"


Anger from Inside Out is shown in a control room with an angry expression and hands on levers
Walt Disney Pictures

Do you have a simple psychological "life hack" like these you swear by? If so, tell us in the comments below or via this anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.