This is a dictionary of power and social-dynamics definitions, including seduction, persuasion, manipulation, and life strategies.
Entries marked with “™” are concepts or techniques that have been first described or first developed by ThePowerMoves.com and/or the community.
When entries marked with “™” expand or build upon other authors’ work, due credit is provided.
Abuse: in power dynamics and manipulation, to treat someone with contempt (emotional abuse), cruelty, and/or violence (physical abuse).
Abuse can be value-adding for the abuser (win-lose), or value-taking for both (lose-lose). But, in the short term, abuse is always value-taking for the victim.
- Proxy abusers (AKA: flying monkeys): people who support and/or act on behalf of an abuser towards a third party, usually for an abusive purpose. Proxy abusers are either allies of the abuser, or are doing the abuser’s bidding because they believed the lies and/or are being used as pawns in the abuser’s hands
Abusive techniques: in manipulation and abuse, abusive techniques are recurring methods and patterns (“games”), that people use to abuse others, control others, or keep others subjugated power-down
- Dread game: a general umbrella term to control a spouse through fear, including fear of loss (direct or indirect breakup threats), fear of cheating (sexual triangulations, jealousy, flirting with others, etc.), fear of missing out, or fear of physical abuse.
Seeking to control others through fear alone is a form of “value-taking mindset”
- Sexual triangulation: the act of introducing a new real or potential sexual partner to an already sexually and/or emotionally bonded partner. There are many ways of instigating sexual triangulations, including through previous lovers, parading suitors, or directly talking about other dates (see an example of direct sexual triangulation).
Aggression: in social and power dynamics, words, tonality and body language that communicate anger or exasperation.
Aggression can be physical aggression. But even when it’s still only at a verbal level, it often sub-communicates the willingness, readiness, or the state of mind for a possible physical attack.
In the submission-assertion-aggression continuum, aggression often refers to overreaction and to a failure of proper assertive communication.
- Aggressive push-pull: a technique to dominate and control the frame consisting of aggressing first, and then pulling back. The pull back can be a compliment, a more friendly joke, or simply saying “I was just kidding man, you’re a cool guy”.
Explanation: aggressive push-pull can help dominate others and control the frame without necessarily breaking rapport.
Example: see this thread and video
- Argument ad potentia: to win an argument not by virtue of logics and facts, but by power, dominance, or intimidation.
Explanation: When people start defending and submitting, they can look guilty by behavior, rather than by logic and facts.
Example: see Trump’s debating techniques here and here.
- Covert aggression: to aggress someone in indirect ways. Also see the main entry.
- Micro-aggression: small scale aggressions. Also see the main entry.
- Smug microaggression: to attack and diminish someone’s status with a “smart alec attitude”. Often, smug micro-aggressions are actually a form of “covert aggression” or “micro-covert aggression”.
Availability ™: in social dynamics and seduction, it refers to how available an individual feels to others. High availability with high-value is the hallmark of social charmers who uplift others. But high availability with low value is useless.
Similar: personal value, SMV, self-rejection, rapport, pulling/pushing.
- Availability, seduction: in seduction, it refers to how attainable a man is to a woman, and how attainable she feels he is. If a woman feels a man is unattainable, no matter how high SMV he might be, she will reject him (self-rejection)
- Attainability: Availability in pick-up and seduction circles, originally from Sebastian Drake. The concept is valid for all social settings, so we called it “availability” and enlarged its scope to all social exchanges.
Babying, power move ™: a power move that frames the (covert) aggressor as a father/mother figure and frames the target as a baby. The power mover frames himself as more mature, powerful, emotionally stable and/or knowledgeable.
A babying frame can also be used in seduction and, when used by men, can also help advance the seduction.
Backhanded compliment: in social and power dynamics, a compliment that truly hides an insult.
It’s a specific type of covert insult, and how much a backhanded compliment is an insult or compliment varies depending on the wording, the delivery, and the situation.
Example: “ThePowerMoves.com is a good website on power dynamics” might be interpreted as a 20% compliment and 80% offense if one considers ThePowerMoves.com to be the first, best, and only website dedicated to power dynamics.
Bag dropping: in social and power dynamics, it consists of introducing someone to an individual or a group with low-value people and/or negative dynamics at play, and then leaving immediately after.
Explanation: it’s a power move that makes the bag dropper look socially powerful and magnanimous, but in truth, he is getting rid of a social liability.
Example: You can see an example in this forum entry.
- Bag sharing: introducing someone to a low value individual or group to “share” the bad situation
- Manipulative bag dropping: the bag dropper pretends he is adding value
- Bag holder: the person who is left with a low-value individual, or is stuck in a value-draining group or situation
Betaization: the tendency of some men to become tamer and more submissive when in a long-term relationship. “Betaization” is a term of Red Pill communities, and on this website we use the term “domestication”.
Read here a description of the female forces of betaization
Big fish, small pond strategy: a strategy of focusing one’s effort in acquiring status and power within a relatively small, specific, and circumscribed group or locality.
Explanation: most people unwittingly follow a strategy of seeking status within a circumscribed niche.
Some people also seek refuge within small ponds when they can get validation within that pond. For example, club queens with an average life enjoy clubbing because of the validation they get there and that they don’t normally get outside of it.
- Fried fish: when an individual gave up his ego (ego-loss) and life for a specific group (pond), but the group has vanished (dried out pond)
- Big fish, small pond syndrome: to become so overly invested into a specific group (pond), that the group becomes the only way for the individual (fish) to receive personal validation and to feel alive
Bro science: an extreme form of pop-psychology, most often brandished by men not as a way of informing with facts, but as a way of gaining status by instructing others and by acquiring the role of “expert” on a given subject.
Women, being on average less status-conscious than men, don’t do it nearly as much, so there is not widely circulating equivalent term for women.
Brother in arms / sister in arms ™: in life strategies and power dynamics, a strong ally you can rely on.
Burning stakes power moves ™: the act of calling out for (digital) lynching, retributions, or boycotts against a largely made-up enemy (a strawman enemy).
Purists, moralizers, and populists are the figures that engage the most in burning stakes power moves. But SJW can also go for as a way of virtue-signal.
Obviously,y this is a nasty power move and an extremely lopsided form of win-lose.
- Burning stake ™: the (figurative) location where shaming attacks and the most extreme moralization power moves are consumed.
These days, the burning stake locations happen to be more often online than in the physical world.
- Burning stake shows ™: the public consummation of the retribution, punishment, or payback against a supposedly guilty and monstrous individual (a straw man).
Burning stakes are where the collective thirst for masochism and toxic quests for power sublimate. The darker, evil side of the individuals who organize and enjoy burning stake shows hides behind made-up or largely inflated charges.
People who enjoy burning stakes also often seek a release valve for the feelings of inadequacy and personal failures.
Buy in: in persuasion strategies, the individual’s acceptance, willingness, and conviction to actively support and participate in something.
Calibration, social: in social and power dynamics, the act of adapting one’s own behavior and responses to the individual and/or situation.
Explanation: calibration is what differentiates the beginner students of power dynamics and social arts, and the advanced students. Most general advice is useless for those who seek mastery, since it lacks in calibration and results in calibration failure.
- Calibration failure: the failure of adapting to the specific individual or situation.
- Over-reacting: a failure of calibration by reacting or answering too strongly, usually too aggressively or too angrily.
See for example “calibrating to micro-aggression“.
Cementing ™: in power dynamics and frame negotiation, it consists of expanding and solidifying the thread of the “agreement reached” to solidify the new frame and increase its effectiveness.
Explanation: Frame cementing increases the likelihood that the other party will stick to the new negotiated frame, and/or it increases the likelihood that your persuasion will be internalized and accepted as the new reality (VS just agreeing with your frame as a form of short-term capitulation).
- Cementing appreciation: a compliment, praise, (positive) evaluation, or a general sign of appreciation that comes at the end of a frame.
It can reinforce the value-giving of the original frame if it’s honest, which is most often the case, but it can also empower and strengthen the value-taking effects of the initial frame if the initial frame was value-taking.
Explanation: the appreciation reinforces the frame. It also serves to put a “seal”, a stamp of approval on the frame, which often turns the appreciator into a “judge” (= “I’m appreciating/judging you for being good”).
The appreciation or positive evaluation make it harder to fight the frame because not only it strengthens the initial frame or label but, being apparently kind and value-giving, it makes the receiver feel ungrateful for rebelling against the compliment.
Example: “Bravo!”, “well done”, “congratulations!”
Similar: similar to covert framing compliments, but the “cementing compliment” comes at the end of the frame. The two can sometimes co-exist together, like
in this example.
- Self-cementing: self-cementing is a property of frames that tend to cement themselves when they unchallenged.
Explanation: if a frame goes unchallenged, then people’s subconscious tends to derive that the frame is valid, and real.
This is especially true for value-taking frames and (micro)-aggressions, since people think that if the person who lost value had the power and skills to challenge the frame, he would have.
Hence, it must mean that he did not have the power or skills to challenge the frame. Meaning, it’s true that the value-taker must be of higher power /status.
Example: If a guy jokes about you being an idiot and you let it go, then the fact that you’re an idiot becomes more and more of a reality for the people around. And the fact that he is of higher status/power and “better” than you also becomes a reality.
Chameleon, social: an individual who can socialize seamlessly in the most disparate social groups.
The best social chameleons don’t just socialize in different groups, but are able to gain status and rise through the ranks of any group they join.
Character assassination: in power dynamics and frame control, to go after an individual’s history, reputation, and personal flaws instead of addressing his arguments.
Note: be careful with character assassination, it makes you come across as petty, morally bankrupt, and lacking real arguments.
Example: Ray Dalio used character assassination when he went after the reputation of a critical journalist and, as a consequence, looked petty… And guilty.
Cognitive biases: in psychology, cognitive biases are systematic patterns of deviation from what would be expected in “perfect rationality”.
Some critics made the case that not all cognitive biases are irrational, but can be effective ways of reaching non-perfect, but often-good-enough conclusions with minimum cognitive effort.
Some evolutionary psychologists also point out that from the point of view of evolution, cognitive biases are not necessarily “mistakes”, but can provide a survival advantage even while deviating from “perfect rationality” (Buss, 2019 and Pinker, 1997)
Cold-blooded: see “icy men”. Also see “Slavic men“.
Conspicuous consumption: the act of carelessly spending money as a way to ostentatiously display an abundance of money and resources.
It can be a very effective technique of gaining both social status and sexual attention.
Covert Power Moves
Covert aggression: a form of aggression, bullying, or attempt at dominating others that is partially hidden.
Explanation: Covert aggression is often hidden with indirect talk, humor, nonverbal expressions of disapprova but without words, and/or sayings or expressions which seem to apply to the victim but are not directly addressing the victim.
Covert aggression can be highly upsetting because the victim knows it’s aggression, but cannot easily address it without in turn looking overly aggressive or touchy.
Once attacked back, the covert aggressor will often pretend he “meant no harm” and “was just joking”, and frame the victim as “overreacting” and “overly-aggressive over nothing”. Handling covert aggression requires a certain mastery of power dynamics.
- Covert insult: a specific type of covert aggression that hides an insult behind a compliment or behind a facade of friendliness.
Example: this Goodfellas’ example. “This kid was great. They used to call him Spitshine Tommy. He’d make your shoes look like fu*kin’ mirrors He was terrific, he was the best. He made a lot of money too, ah salud, Tommy.”
- Covert warfare: constant covert assaults protracted over time
- Self-denied assault: it consists of verbally denying that one wants to assault or offend someone, and then attacking them either throguh the denial itself, or soon after
Example: “I don’t say that you’re stupid as a way of offending you, but as simple description of reality”, or “I don’t mean to offend you, BUT…”. Or see Trump below.
Trump: I never attacked him on his looks, and believe me, there is plenty of subject matter right there
- Smug covert aggression: to criticize or allude at someone’s faults with a “smart alec” approach. It can be done with a proverb, a saying, or a foreign or Latin expression.
Example: you are telling someone why you disagree with them. And to avoid taking your reply seriously, they say “Condemnant quo non intelligent”. And they later explain it means that “people condemn what they don’t understand”. Basically, it’s a double covert aggression. Before they go smug, quoting Latin. Then, they covertly imply you’re too dumb to understand.
Covert framing compliment ™: a compliment, usually a description or an adjective, that sets a specific frame for the complimented. When the frame is seemingly positive but actually negative and value-taking, it becomes a covert power move and, potentially, a case of covert aggression as well.
Credit: Credit to Matthew for first spotting this power move.
Explanation: All descriptions of positive traits and all compliments delivered with an adjective, in a way, set a frame.
99% of them are value-adding and you don’t need to worry about them.
The covert framing compliments you must be aware of are the ones that set a value-taking frame, or a frame that you don’t be associated with.
Since the compliment is, apparently, value-giving and “kind”, some people miss on the actual power of the frame and, if the frame is negative, it can either slip under the radar, or be more difficult to challenge.
Even people who get annoyed by the frame of the compliment can find it more difficult to fight it because, on the surface, the complimenter was being kind and value-giving.
Example: “that’s going to be interesting for an intellectual like you” frames you as an intellectual; “you’re always such an optimist” frames you as an optimist.
See an example here.
Similar to: it’s similar to using a compliment to “cement” a frame, but rather than coming at the end of the frame to “seal” and “confirm” the frame, the compliment itself is a frame.
The two can also go hand in hand in the same sentence, as in the example linked above.
Covert manipulation ™: covert manipulation is manipulation that nudges and persuades others to act in the way the manipulator wants them to act, but without the manipulator having to expose himself too directly.
For example, the manipulator may allude to something, or he may stoke fear and anger in his followers so they take action without him ever having to say “do it” or, God forbid, lead the charge himself.
Example: Trump never told his followers to “riot violently”, he simply made them angry enough, and then kept repeating “see you the 6th of January”, alluding that it was their last chance to have their voice heard.
But since he never said “be violent”, he was at least able to later condemn violence and pretend he was being a magnanimous president.
See an example here.
Covert power moves ™: in power dynamics, covert power moves are power moves that are delivered in a guise that seems neutral, apologetic, or even value-adding or submissive, while actually increasing the power and/or status of the power mover, and potentially disempowering the victim.
Example: “I’m sorry that I made you feel so bad”.
Explanation: while it apparently asks “sorry” for having made you feel bad, it also says that they can make you feel “so bad” and that they did make you feel “so bad”. That means they have power and leverage over you, and it implies that they might make you feel “so bad” again in the future.
- Covert-criticism: to deliver criticism without exposing oneself, or while framing it as anything but criticism.
Example: “look, you made some good points and don’t take this the bad way, I’m only saying this for the good of our organization, BUT …”
Explanation: criticism can decrease your status and increase the criticizer’s status and reputation. But some players, loath of criticizing too directly, prefer to shoot from sheltered positions.
Similar: covert guilt-tripping, covert aggression
Covert question: covert questions are techniques and ways to gather information and input from others, without directly asking a question.
Techniques of “covert questioning” include hiding a question behind a statement, an objection, an analysis, a complaint, a list of things we’ve done but didn’t work, an or attack against someone or a third party.
Explanation: a question puts the asker in a position of weakness. The asker admits he doesn’t know something, while the person who answers is in a position of power for having the information and the “expertise”.
Even if the person who answers doesn’t really have any answer, the person who asks still advertises his ignorance with the simple fact that he had to ask.
This is why some people prefer to hide their question behind a statement, analysis, or objection. If people confirm, they were right and, they didn’t “lose” any power. And if they were wrong, they get the answer without asking directly
Albeit covert questions have their place, this website generally advises avoiding them as a pattern of behavior since they communicate a lack of antifragile ego and growth mindset.
Furthermore, covert questions are social scalping in nature (credit-erasing), because by hiding the question, they don’t give the responder the credit for their help.
“John, this computer is acting stupid, I can’t even log-in to the email (you guys in support should provide us better laptops than this crap you give out)“.
By laying the blame on the computer, the person above avoids the difficult words of “John, can you please help me”. That covert request for help denies John of his fair social credit for helping out.
If he keeps on going with his blame game and blames the support team for providing poor equipment, he goes even a step further and not only denies John credit, but increases his debt (even though the issue might all be due to his ignorance).
Dark psychology: in Machiavellian life strategies and manipulation strategies, it refers to the use of psychological principles in ways that harm the target. The “targe” can be either an individual, a social group, or society at large.
Similar: value-taking behavior, value-taking leadership
Dark triad: in psychology, the dark triad refers to the three different but sometimes related personality traits/disorders of psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.
The concept has become popular in the blogosphere, and has sometimes been addressed in less rigorous, pop-psychology fashion.
- Dark tetrad: the dark triad plus sadism. Cruelty is not a mean to an end, but a pleasurable end in itself (credits to Stefano)
Defensive mindset: a mindset of those who focus more on the opportunities for loss and defeat, than on the possibilities of vitory and win-win.
Explanation: people with a defensive mindset are more likely to miss out on opportunities for win-win and collaboration.
Similar to: defector mindset, fearful defector, risk-avoidance, pessimism, nihilism.
Dehumanizing: the act of framing, addressing, or describing the victim in a way that is so base, inferior, or monstrous, as to lack basic human qualities.
Dehumanization has been described as an enabler of evil (Zimbardo, 2007), because when someone lacks basics human qualities, then it means that it’s fair to treat him as an insect.
- Objectification: a milder form of dehumanization.
- Sexual objectification: the act of seeing, or treating an individual as an object for personal sexual pleasure
Examples: the most common examples of dehumanization refer to genocides, but dehumanizations are also common in our daily lives. Calling women “plates”, for example, is a small act of dehumanization.
Deny-Me Games™: deny-me games are a manipulative social technique that consists of purposefully fielding questions or requests for favors that the victim is, for whatever reason, forced to deny.
The perpetrator then gains social credit for having been denied once, while the victim incurs in social debt, accompanied by a sense of guilt, for having refused a favor.
The perpetrator then exploits the favorable social exchange to get more out of the social interaction.
- Deny to get denied: a specific type of deny-me games consisting of getting purposefully denied first, to later deny the victim and make it seem like it was a fair exchange.
See how you can use it to avoid sharing a windfall.
Difficult people: an umbrella term for all types of people who are difficult to deal with.
- haughty / consdescending / pompous / know-it-alls
- whiners / complainers
- irresponsible / lazy / indifferent
- negative / overly critical
- rude / insensitive
- overly sensitive / thin-skinned
- creeps / weird / stalkey / socially clueless
Direct talk: in communication and social dynamics, a style of communication that goes directly to the crux of the matter, wasting no time in preambles or in cushioning potentially difficult subjects.
- Direct talk bully: aggressors, bullies, and manipulators will sometimes hide their aggression or darker social strategies behind the guise of “direct talk”. If you complain, direct bullies will flip the frame and pride themselves of “calling a spade a spade”. Don’t fall for that. Abuse is unacceptable, no matter how it’s delivered.
Disqualifying: in social and seduction strategies, telling the target that you’re not interested in them because of a certain trait they lack and that you seek. The idea is to remove the frame that you are chasing them, and to make them chase you
- Self-disqualifying: to provide a reason why you are not pursuing the target.
Example: in seduction, to say “I’m gay” or “I’m in a relationship” (if they’re false, they’re also called “false disqualifiers”)
Domestication™: in social and power dynamics, the process by which an individual loses certain rebellious or more selfish traits and characteristics while acquiring more cooperative and conforming traits and qualities that make him a better fit for life with a certain group or with a certain person.
While domestication is usually good for society, the group, or for the individual who domesticates, it’s up to discussion and interpretation whether it’s good or not for the domesticated.
- Social domestication: the process by which individuals internalize the social rules of “proper” conduct
- Professional domestication: the process by which individuals learn to live and operate within a business organization
- Female domestication™: the process with which women bring a man under their control. Much of domestication is made possible because women take the judge role, in most relationships.
Dominance: the more showy and obvious displays and signs of power. While power is about what you want in a myriad of way, dominance is usually about getting what you want by bending others to your will, or imposing your will.
Ego loss, social : in extreme forms of identity projection, when an individual gives up his individuality to derives his whole sense of self (identity) from his affiliation to a specific individual, or his belonging to a specific group.
This is the ultimate state of giving up personal agency and control.
Examples: kamikazes sacrificing the self for the group, and People’s Temple members committing suicide when Jim Jones ordered so.
Effectiveness, social: in social and power dynamics, social effectiveness relates to power and influence through people.
It includes the ability of building relationships, entering new social groups, acquiring status, persuading and influencing, or simply getting along with others.
Social effectiveness also includes the ability to manipulate, so social effectiveness alone is not synonymous with personal quality, and no guarantee that the effectiveness will be used for win-win and/or value-adding purposes.
Similar: social skills, emotional intelligence, social intelligence
Empathic one-up: to put oneself in someone else’s shoes, not as a way of understanding them or to validate them, but to one-up them. It can be used to win an argument, generally disempower an opponent, or to self-frame as superior.
Example: “If someone did to me what I did to you, I’d be happy about it, because I have a learner’s mindset, I appreciate honesty, and I can grow from direct feedback”.
Explanation: empathic one-up can be a manipulative and covert power move that feigns understanding, but it’s actually used as a tool to win an argument or disempower an opponent.
It can also be used as a gaslighting technique, because it suggests that they are the problem, and if it was us -or someone else- in their shoes, then everything would be OK.
Empathic one-upping can also unnerve the opponent, as many people don’t know how t oreact to it.
Solution: you can use the mirror technique and empathically one-up them back. For example “if you were in my shoes, you wouldn’t have to deal with this anyway, because if I were in your shoes, I would have been far kinder and gracious”.
Or ignore it and go back to the issue: “I’m not sure about that, but let’s avoid hypoethical situations, and let’s stick to the facts. How about… “
Or use it for a resolution: “Thanks for the idea of putting ourselves in each other’s shoes. Let’s keep doing that. Trust me that I were in your shoes and you had asked me to do X, I would have listened to you. Now I undesrtand that you don’t have time, but could you consider… “.
Fanatics: a fanatic is an extreme moralizer, purist, or populist politician with strong convictions and black and white views that can come across as charismatic.
Fanatics are often power-craving narcissists. If they can rally enough support to get to power, democracy and meritocracy are the first victims, often followed by plummeting quality of life for the citizen.
Fanatics often use extreme forms of straw-manning, make up enemies, and indulge in dehumanizations.
Examples: Lenin, Jim Jones, and Hitler are examples of fanatics.
Feinter, manipulative ™: the manipulative feinter professes to adhere to a set of supposedly ethical rules.
His main motive though is to look trustworthy, gain social status, and disempower others. He then often defects on those same standards he professes.
Most manipulative feinters embrace seemingly prosocial causes (prosocial feints, see below).
Similar: SJW, virtue-signaling
Feints, social ™: the act of feigning adherence to a set of rules as a strategy for personal power and personal success.
- Feints, prosocial ™: same as social feints, but the ethical rules the feinter professes to embrace happen to be costly to the individual, but good for society at large.
Example: a married man encourages other men never to sleep with taken women. But he then does sleep with taken women
- Pro-group feints ™: same social feints, but the feinter professes adherence and support to a specific group and invites others to do the same. He then either defects privately, or enjoys more success because he effectively disempowered the competition.
Example: feminist encourages women to be strong and independent. That makes the sexual marketplace easier for her, since women become generally less attractive as feminists
- Leaders’ pro-group feints ™: the leader of a group talks up the importance of belonging, contribution, and sacrifice for the group the ideal behavior. But he only does so because prosocial members are good for the group, which is ultimately good for the leader
Festering ™: in social dynamics, the negative feelings that expand and envelop a person’s mind after a negative experience. Festering is more pronounced in people who tend to ruminate, but it happens to almost anyone.
People who get good at social dynamics know that when a negative event like a rejection, a social faux pas, or an unwilling offense happens, they need to rebuild good feelings right away, or the silence will invite festering.
Example: if she rejects a sexual attempt or an invite home, the man must brush it off and engage in more rapport-building talk to rebuild goodwill and avoid festering.
See an example here.
Firestarter, Social ™: see “pyromaniac”.
A firestarter feigns being shocked, angry, and scandalized to frame others as unworthy just like a pyromaniac does.
But he does not necessarily do so on a continuous, daily basis (yet).
Frame / Frame Control
Frame: in power dynamics and frame control strategies, a frame is a set of beliefs, values, and perspectives with which people negotiate meaning. The “meaning” includes how they interpret and see the world, a specific topic, or simply how they interpret and negotiate the social interaction between them.
Covert frames ™: frames that are set up without direct talk or without being explicit about one’s own intentions.
rolling one’s eyes to covertly frame someone as “boring”, “weird” or, generally “not good enough”.
You can see an example of covert frames, as well as strategies on how to handle them, in this forum topic.
Frame control: in power dynamics and frame control, the techniques and strategies to control the frames that govern social interactions.
- Agree and amplify: a technique to control the frame that consists in agreeing with whatever someone said, and then purposefully exaggerating to the point that it sounds silly or humorous.
It’s the most widely circulating technique for frame control, especially in pick-up and seduction, but it’s not optimal, and ThePowerMoves.com does not recommend it as your go-to frame control technique.
- Frame individualization: a technique that diminishes someone’s authority by severing the link to any external authority, and thus reducing someone’s frame -or attack- to a simple personal opinion.
Example: see this post for an example.
Moral high-ground: in frame control and power dynamis, it consists of attacking others from a position of self-righteous moral “rightness”, which in turns frames the victim as “morally bankrupt”, mean, cruel, and generally worth of social ostracization.
- High-grounding: it’s the battle for the moral high-ground, something that does not come natural
Explanation: moral attacks and shame attacks are based on the attacker self-framing himself as morally superior -ie.: “taking the moral high-ground”, and framing the victim as morally inferior.
- High-grounding: it’s the battle for the moral high-ground, something that does not come natural to most people but that’s often a great way of fighting moral and shame attacks
Example: if someone were to accuse the author of Power Univesity for asking too much money for the course and for being a money grabber, I might “high-ground” by saying that what’s really low and amoral is asking to get great value without giving anything back.
Also see an example here.
One-up / one-down / one-across: a framework to analyze power dynamics in frames.
One-up means empowering the frame-setter and disempowering the frame accepter, one-down means accepting the one-up frame and/or giving away power (submitting), while one-acrosses are generally power-neutral answers to frames, often useful to buy time and/or find out more about the frame setter’s intentions
Self-framing: self-framing is what the frames says about the person who sets the frame.
frames don’t just communicate information about the world and the interaction, but they also say something about the framer.
If someone frames you as inept with a joke, they are also self-framing themselves as more intelligent, skilled and “better” than you are.
Also, they frame themselves as higher power and higher-status for the simple fact that they can make fun of you.
If you let that frame slip with submissivness or acquiescence, you confirm that frame.
Frenemy: in social and power dynamics, an envious friend who prefers to see us fail than succeed.
- Schadenfreude: the feeling of happiness for other people’s misfortune. Frenemies experience Schadenfreude with their friends
Opposite: vicarious happiness, such as the feeling of happiness for other people’s happiness
Similar: passive-aggressive, undermining, Schadenfreude
Games of chicken: in power dynamics, social gambits where one player binds the victim into a 2 options outcome: accepting their requests, or incurring a lose-lose outcome.
The victim of games of chicken feels like it’s either they give in, or they will bear the costs and responsibility for everyone’s losses.
Example: Break-up threats are an example of games of chicken. The victim either accepts what the threatener asks, or he will set off the lose-lose outcome of the relationship loss
Games: in social and power dynamics, games are patterns of behavior that repeat over time.
Ganging up, social ™: in social and power dynamics, to join forces and form alliances with other individuals in an effort to isolate, mute, ridicule, or generally overpower someone.
Ganging up is most obvious when physical, as well with official voting systems, when several people with voting rights can block or override someone’s initiative.
It can be more subtle in free-flowing social dynamics though, and it can be used strategically to achieve social goals and forge alliances.
Attacker: (spills water on the desk, then turns towards guy 2) hey man, come on, pay some more attention
Ally: (gangs up on guy 2) yeah dude, really, watch out
Attacker and ally gang up on guy 2, starting one-upping joking frame in which it was guy 2 who spilled the water, when it fact it was the attacker.
Explanation: Everyone knows it was the attacker who made the mistake but ganging up has far more reaching consequences than a simple bumbling move. It says that guy 2 is isolated, while the gangbangers are allied and can overpower him.
The “joke” of blaming guy 2 is also a veiled threat: the gangbangers might blatantly lie, turn the joke into a serious accusation. And then it’s two against one.
Solution: in the example above, a good solution is to shame them, and go slightly meta, denying the joking frame. For example: “dude, what are you like 12? If you need help let me know and I’m happy to help, otherwise, don’t play those games on me”.
- Value-adding ganging-up: albeit the term “ganging up” conjures thoughts of abuse, ganging up can be used strategically to isolate troublemakers or value-taking individuals. You can see an example of value-adding social ganging up in this entry in my journal.
Giving Rope: In social and power dynamics, as well as in manipulation, a technique to covertly prod and invite people to ruin their own reputation, by themselves.
Example: to ask a bragging man for more details about his story, so he brags even more, taking too much time from the group (value-taking behavior), and while looking like a lying, hot air status inflater.
A similar technique is to show skepticism someone is able to do something, so they will try even harder to convince everyone of their prowess.
Godfather, style: in power dynamics, a style of dominance that is calm and understated. The Godfather style talks little, uses lots of pauses, and remains calm and unreactive when under attack, pondering his next move in total emotional detachment.
Can seem similar to the icy man, but contrary to the icy man, the Godfather feels and cares about the people around him. But he switches on when getting down to business.
Godfather, the: a landmark movie on mafia dons with much to learn from.
Goodwill: in social and power dynamics, as well as in social exchanges, it refers to the positive predisposition people have towards an individual.
In leadership dynamics, it refers to the willingness of followers to following a leader independently of his rank and official authority.
Similar: social capital
Hot potato, social: in social and power dynamics, hot potatoeing consists of introducing a new controversial topic and asking someone to answer it.
Similar: bag passing.
Hypergamy: in social and sexual marketplaces, it refers to the attraction, pursuit, and preference of lower status individuals for higher status and/or higher-income individuals.
- Female hypergamy: Female hypergamy is the pursuit and/or attraction felt for males of a higher class, income or social status
Men are equally as hypergamous as women, but their hypergamy is of a different nature (looking for better looks rather than better socio-economic classes).
Honest exchange talk (AKA: “direct exchange talk”): in social and power dynamics, as well as in value exchanges, it refers to openly talk about the size of each social bank accounts, and who owes how much to whom.
“Direct” refers more to the style of the talk, while “honest” stresses the use of this technique when people are being both upfront and honest.
Explanation: in simple terms, to openly and candidly state that you expect a favor back after you provide value (honest credit talk), as well as to openly and candidly say that you have received value, and will repay the favor (honest debt talk).
Example: “you owe me”, or “can you do this quick for me? I’m calling a favor on what I did for you last week” or, in negotiations, “if I do this for you, it will cost me. Can you make a 20% discount if I agree?”.
The Godfather scene is also an example.
Honest exchange talk can also be in the positive, acknowledging one’s debt and the willingness to repay. For example: “I will remember this and make it up to you one day”.
Explanation: The law of social exchange postulates that people who give, are entitled to ask for something back. But since some people like to take without giving, open exchange talk can help to remind them that they will have to give back eventually.
It’s out of place in close friendships, and some people find it annoying. Furthermore, you shouldn’t use it with fair players who do give back. But in some situations, it can be useful to deploy honest exchange talk.
- Covert exchange talk: to use indirect language to tell people that they “owe you”. For example “I know you’d do the same for me”.
Iconoclasm, social ™: it’s the drive to attack, undermine, and destroy those who have more power and success than we have.
Iconoclasts are driven by resentment, envy, or hidden feelings of personal inadequacies, and it makes them feel better about themselves when they see those above them fail.
Iconoclasm is stronger when a leader seems “too good”, unavailable, or when he is acting too entitled.
Iconoclasm is a force that leaders need to keep in mind.
Similar: frenemies, freudenschade, rebels without a cause
Icy men (AKA: cold-blooded): in power dynamics, a dominance style based on removing most or all nonverbal expressions, including signs of warmth and friendliness. Dealing with icy men is difficult because you don’t know whether to slot them as friends or enemies, and the fact that they give you no signs of being friends can make people edgy.
They also never alleviate tension and speak little, forcing others to fill the gaps and to look try-hard.
Vladimir Putin, an example of icy style of dominance
Identity projection ™: in psychology and social psychology, to project and merge one’s own sense of identity with a larger social group or, alternatively, with a specific individual.
Albeit some identity projection can be normal and healty, too much identity projection, or identity projection onto the wrong groups and causes, can be toxic and disempowering.
Examples: some men feel good when other men “put women in their place” because they project their identity onto the “men’s collective” (see example below):
NateSim finds it satisfying to watch a man overtake a woman because he is a closeted misogynist and an ego-leecher. Meaning, he projects and merges his identity with the whole male group. Then when men “beat” women, he piggy-backs on other men’s success to feel better about himself
- Identity leecher (AKA: ego leecher) (group): someone with a rather mediocre life who derives pride and self-esteem not from what he does, but from what his group of reference does
Example: some football fans tie their identity to that of a football club, thus that a win of the club means a boost in self-esteem, while a loss of the club means a loss of self-esteem.
- Identity leechers (ideal): identity leeching towards an ideal, a flag, or an institution
Example: “I’m great and better than you because I’m from X country”
- Fanboy identity leecher (individual gurus): identity leeching from an individual “guru”, leader, or thought leader. The identity leecher buys into whatever the guru says, and the guru’s success becomes his success.
The most fanatic and manipulative thought leaders want their followers to project their identities onto them
- Identity projection manipulation: keep in mind the possibility of manipulation and personal disempowerment here: most group leaders and gurus want their members and followers to give up their identity and individualism to merge with the group, since that gives the leaders more power
Indirect talk: in communication and social dynamics, a style of communication that uses lots of preambles, circumlocutions, and hinting. Very indirect cultures sometimes have a whole system of unwritten rules around communication that can feel like “acting out”.
Inflater, status ™: in social and power dynamics, status inflaters use as lies and exaggerations to artificially increase their social status and personal value.
When they use others as social pegs to inflate their social status, which they often do, then they also are social climbers. The combination of inflaters and climbers give rise to hostile climbers, since they climb by pushing others down.
Similar: social climber, social manipulator, hostile climbers
Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion: one of the most popular books on influence and persuasion, by Robert Cialdini.
Weapons of influence, for Cialdini:
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
Investment, social: in social dynamics and social exchanges, a measure of an individual’s effort into a relationship or social exchange.
- Ben Franklin Effect: in social dynamics and persuasion, the tendency for a person who has already performed a favor for another to be more well-disposed towards someone, including more likely to do another successive favor, than if they had received a favor from that person.
Explanation: An explanation for the Ben Franklin effect is cognitive dissonance. People reason that they help others because they like them, even if they do not, because their minds struggle to maintain logical consistency between their actions and perceptions (this also sounds like a case of backward rationalization)
Note: the Ben Fraklin effect works in specific cases and circumstances. Also read here “reciprocation VS Ben Franklin effect“.
Judge, the ™: in social and power dynamics the individual who assesses other people’s worthiness, dispenses emotional punishments and rewards, and exercises power and influence over others through emotional control. The judge is the individual who has power and influence within a relationship or social exchange. He derives much of his power from assessing others, who in turn seek to prove themselves to the judge, and gain the judge’s approval.
- Covert judge power move: a covert power move with elements of both judge role, and tasking/requests.
Example: “I greatly appreciate your response” means that you are supposed to respond (power move), plus the implied disapproval if you don’t reply (critical judge)
- Judge power move: a power move delivered from a judge position
- Positive judge: a judge who delivers praise
- Negative judge: (AKA: “critical judge”): a judge who delivers criticism
- Value-adding judge (good judge): individuals who use their judge role and position in ways that add value
- Value-taking judge (bad judges): individuals who use their judge role and position in ways that takes value
- Sadist judge: individuals who use their judge role and position in ways that takes value, but without necessarily gaining anything themselves. They simply enjoy the effects of their power, especially the destructive effects of their power
Judge frames ™: any compliment or emotional reward, as well as any criticism or emotional punishment, that sets the giver as “judging” the receiver.
- Dismantling judge frames: to undo a judge frame. It’s often a good idea to dismantle strong judge frames because otherwise you lose lots of power.
Example 1: -“great job man, you seem like a smart guy” -“yeah, it was alright (refuses to fully accept the positive judge frame),
Example 2: -“great job man, you seem like a smart guy” -“thanks! I’m dum as f*ck though” (refuses the positive judge frame with a joke)
Lateral-first mobility: in life strategies, a strategy of seeking easier markets. It’s often far quicker, and sometimes far more effective, than working on upward mobility in more difficult markets.
Leadership: in social and power dynamics, the act of leading and/or heavily influencing a group or another individual.
- Abusive leadership: the worst case of win-lose “leadership”, whereby the leader uses his power to abuse, demean, restrict other people’s freedom, and generally disempower and handicap others
- Narcissistic leadership (AKA: “me, me, me leadership” & “WIIFM leadership): a form of leadership where the leader only cares about what’s in it for him, his personal power, and what makes him look good.
- Power Over / Power Through: in leadership and persuasion strategies, two different and opposite approaches to persuasion and leadership.
Power over: to have power on others by virtue of your ability to enforce your will, either through raw dominance, or by controlling punishments and rewards.
Power through: the ability to mobilize others by “higher” appeals such as admiration and respect for the leader, inspiration, and group identification.
- Value-adding leadership (AKA: win-win leadership): leadership that benefits the leader, as well as the group and/or the individual that is being led. In case of organizations, value-adding leadership also adds value to the beneficiaries of the group’s services or products.
Value-adding leadership can be considered the final goal of any self-development effort, and it’s this website’s ultimate goal for its users.
- Value-taking leadership (AKA: win-lose leadership): leadership that benefits the leader on or, in the case of groups, a small portion of the leaders’ cronies, while coming at a cost for everyone else.
Leecher strategy: in power dynamics, the leecher strategy is either a sycophant to a powerful man, or someone who seeks to climb power hierarchies by becoming the right-hand man of a more powerful individual.
Similar: power aligning, piggyback and run
Less dominance is more power: in social and power dynamics and in persuasion, a saying that serves to remind people that the less raw dominance you use, the more you allow for people’s buy-in to emerge, and the more you will make people want to follow you, and to follow up on the agreements you have reached.
Similar: power through, self-agency effect
Leverage: in negotiation and power dynamics, it’s another term for power. Having leverage means that you have the power to persuade or force others to accept your terms. Having no leverage instead means you have no power to convince, influence, or force others to accept your terms.
Life Strategies: strategies that allow an individual to reach a major life goal in a manner that is quicker, more efficient, or yielding far better results.
Little princess and the pea games: in social and power dynamics, a woman who pretends to be more refined than she really is.
She often uses fake shock to pretend she is used to a high-class way of living.
- Example: My father was about to flyswat a fly, when our lovely guest jumped in shock and shouted: “oh my God Franco, no!!”. To her, it was disgusting to swat a fly. She grew up next to a small animal farm.
Similar: relationship prizing
Little Virgin feints: in dating and seduction, a woman who pretends to be less sexual and less sexually experienced than she really is.
Loyalty tests: in power dynamics and dominance hierarchies, these are tests delivered by higher-ups to their underlings to make sure the underlings accepts the higher-up’s authority.
Sometimes, loyalty tests can seem like pointless work, but that’s the whole point. To make sure the underling honors their hierarchical authority and they are obedient and willing to sacrifice for them, the boss purposefully chooses pointless tasks.
Autocratic personalities, men, narcissists and individuals high in power are more likely to administer loyalty tests
Lover: in seduction and dating strategies, a lover is a man who is not available or for a relationship, but can be good for sex and short-term dating.
Women lust after high-quality lovers but know that they cannot turn them into boyfriends, so they have no reason to play Madonna games, and will sleep with him very quickly.
Note: Most people reading on lover strategies focus on high-quality lovers only. They forget that there are also low-quality lovers and average-quality lovers who don’t get that much sex or are only able to get average quality girls from bars and clubs.
Before worrying about becoming a lover, it can make sense to worry about becoming a high-quality individual.
- Boyfriend disqualifiers: to disqualify oneself as a boyfriend candidate with the intent of becoming a lover
Manipulation: in social and power dynamics, the act of influencing and convincing others to embrace beliefs or behaviors that advance the interests of the manipulator, while coming at a cost for the manipulator’s target(s)
Guilt-tripping: in manipulation and power dynamics, a manipulation attempt where the aggressor seeks to make others act out of guilt.
Guilt-tripping can also be triggered in combination with pity plays.
- Covert guilt-tripping: to make people feel guilty in covert and disguised ways.
For example, to tell someone who had to cancel an appointment “oh, too bad, I was so looking forward to it” (notice the social credit scalping as well).
Or to frame oneself poorly for something that the receiver is guilty of, or equally guilty of. For example:
Since I didn’t keep in touch, it’s the equivalent of saying “you’re also bad for not writing”. I’m sure he didn’t mean it as a power move, but it can still break rapport, so avoid it
- Privileged guilt-tripping: The hostility or outright aggression, either overt or covert, directed towards certain groups of people who are accused of enjoying or exploiting an unfair advantage to the detriment of others.
- Male-shaming: shaming men for being overly aggressive and supposedly preying on and/or harassing women
- White-shaming: shaming white men for supposedly taking advantage of minorities
- Beauty-shaming: this is an old one. Less attractive people seek to diminish attractive people’s achievements and to impair their life-effectiveness by ascribing their success to an unfair advantage
- Guilt-culture: when guilt-tripping become pervasive, then we get a guilt-culture. Our current culture of around 2020 is replete with high-level guilt-tripping, most of it being “privileged guilt-tripping”. Also read: don’t fall for the guilt-tripping culture
Manipulation techniques: abusive techniques are recurring methods and patterns (“games”), that people use to manipulate or control others.
Olive branch trap: in social exchanges and debates, to feign a friendly overture to relax the opponent and make him drop his guard, but then to leverage the opponent’s lowered guard to revert straight back to full attack mode.
Explanation: an olive branch trap can be used to make people open up and share something personal, but then to use their personal information against them.
“Good cop – bad cop” strategies leverage one or many olive branches traps.
Example: See Tucker Carlson quickly switching from “God bless you for that” to full attack mode right after.
Paradox of practice: in self-help, to teach one thing while the teacher enriches himself not through the material being taught but through the money collected with the coaching time or material.
Explanation: MJ De Marco coined this term in his book “The Millionaire Fastlane“, where he says that “gurus” like Kiyosaki sell get rich schemes based on real estate investment, while they themselves got rich selling real estate advice.
Pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing are examples of paradox of practices, since the founders don’t get rich through selling the products, but by recruiting others to sell their products.
Example: In self-help, Brandon Burchard might be one example: see here.
Piggyback and run ™: in manipulative strategies, it consists of associating with someone to acquire something of value the victim posses, and then dropping the victim once the value has been acquired, or once it’s safe doing so
- Seductive piggyback and run: pretending to be in love with someone until a specific goal can be achieved, then dumping them, breaking up, or suing them
Examples: visa scams, marrying up and then divorcing.
Pity Play: in manipulative strategies, it consists of purposefully looking dejected and hopeless to manipulate others into supporting, helping, or acting in the way that the pity player wants.
- Playing the victim: it consists of framing oneself as a victim to frame the opponent as a mean bully
- Playing the victimized: it consists of framing oneself as the victim of the target’s wrongdoings, or purposefully exaggerating the extent of the damage.
Similar: guilt-tripping, social credit scalping
Power borrowing: to increase one’s own clout, authority, or power, by borrowing the power of external sources.
Originally thought of and coined by John.
Explanation: if you say “I think”, then it’s what you think, VS what someone else thinks.
But if you say “researchers say”, “most people believe”, or “everyone knows this”, then it becomes “many people (or everyone) against just one person”.
There are many ways to power-borrow, including:
- Appeals to “proper rules of conduct”: which ends up being a judge power move (ie.: “you’re not being proper”)
- Appeals to rules/laws/SOPs, etc: recruiting the power of sanctioned “rules”
- Appeals to the group: simply speaking in terms of “we” rather than “I” can also be a manipulative form of power-borrowing
- Appeals to specific higher authority: “the boss said”, “expert X says”, “this is not what the CEO wants us to do, the CEO wants… “
Even if one simply says “that’s disgusting”, there is an implied power-borrowing from “standard rules of conduct” that the victim is disobeying.
For how to deal with this power move, check out “frame individualization” and read here.
Quicksand technique ™: to (willingly) move the conversation away from the main topic, request, or question, towards off-topic or minor issues that do not address the speaker’s main concern
Him: I felt ashamed and unappreciated when you said in front of everyone that the dinner I spent 2 hours preparing was poor
Her: Yeah, it wasn’t too bad, but the steak was definitely over-cooked
She half-apologizes, and then comes the main quicksand maneuver: moving the conversation towards a detail that fails to address his main concern. His main concern was that he was not being given any credit for his effort, and that he was being publicly shamed and disempowered.
Explanation: quicksand maneuvers are manipulative, often covertly-manipulative, and are used for different goals. To begin with, the quicksander can avoid apologizing, owning to mistakes, or making any concessions. So he can consedrve his power while keeping the pseaking partner disempowered.
And they can also be used for gaslighting effects. Quicksanding frustrates and annoys our speaking partner, who can end up over-reacting and getting angry. If the quicksander then points out that the yare getting aggressive or worked up for nothing, we have the perfect gaslighting dynamics.
Self-disclosure, manipulative: in manipulation strategies, to open up with unrequested or fake information with the only intent of gaining the victim’s trust.
- Tit-for-tat self-disclosure: a specific type of manipulative self-disclosure. It consists of providing fake or unrequested personal information that puts pressure on the victim to later answer truthfully to the manipulator’s information request
Self-manipulation: in self-development and manipulation strategies, it consists of self-denial, minimizations, and “coloring” reality in a way that makes us feel good instead of helping us develop and achieve our goals.
There are countless examples of self-manipulation.
Standard manipulation ™: in manipulative strategies, the daily manipulation the majority of people engage in.
Explanation: They can be very Machiavellian, but most of them are mostly harmless since everyone does it, so they are already “factored in” in social exchanges.
Example: Some daily manipulations can be harmful though. Think for example on denying the importance of having money in life, or denying the importance of taking care of one’s own appearance. When people buy into that, they might start acting it out in their lives, and lose a lot of their value.
Strawmanning: in power dynamics and manipulative strategies, fabricating an enemy or distorting reality to make an individual or a group seem meaner.
In debates, it consists of distorting someone’s argument, often making it more extreme than it really is, to score an easy win.
In manipulative strategies, strawmanning justifies the perpetrator’s attacks and anger, and is designed to fan the flames of hatred. In the worst cases, straw-manning is about de-humanizing a victim to make all kinds of abuse seem fair.
Similar: dehumanizing, moralizing, shame attacks
Triangulation: triangulation happens when communication does not happen directly between two individuals, but goes through an intermediary (“messenger”).
Sometimes triangulation is meant without harm, but in many circumstances, it can be used for manipulative, win-lose, or value-taking ends.
Explanation: the receiver can be disempowered with a one-up frame, judge frame, or undue criticism, without recourse to the originator. The messenger can deliver hurtful criticism while hiding behind the “don’t shoot the messenger” cover (it becomes an act of covert aggression). Both originator and third party gain power vis-a-vis the victim. See here for solutions.
Meta, going meta: in power dynamics and frame control, it means to handle the game, power move, or manipulation attempt by explaining what they are doing, and why they are doing it and, directly or indirectly, to either shame them for it, or to explain why it’s not working with you.
Going meta requires a good understanding of power dynamics, and the ability to explain them in simple terms.
Going meta is very effective with “covert aggression”, since explaining their game blows off the covert aggressor’s protective cover.
Microaggression: Aggressions, insults, one-ups or generally value-taking social behavior expressed in covert or indirect forms, and characterized by low to moderate intensity of aggression.
Explanation: often but not always, microaggressions overlap with covert aggression, since they use humor or indirect talk to aggress.
Unchecked microaggressions result in a loss of power, social status, and sometimes even self-esteem for the victim.
Mindsets: mindsets are deep-seated beliefs, as well as recurrent patterns of thoughts and frames wich which people look at themselves as well as the world.
- Growth / fixed mindsets: a growth mindset beleives you can improve your skills and traits. A fixed mindset believes that whatever you are born with, you are stuck with.
- Value adding / value subtracting mindsets: a value-adding mindset sees it as a personal duty and/or as the best most effective road to success, to add value to others (for example: to become a billionaire, help a billion people). A value-taking mindset seeks to give as little as possible while taking as much as possible, either because the value-takier thinks it’s the best way to succeed, or because it makes him feel good.
- Defensive / vulnerable: a defensive mindset focuses on the risks of loss, be it physical, financial, or emotional. A vulnerable mindset forges ahead in spite of the risk, by focusing on the potential for gains and win-win.
- Internal locus of control / external locus of control (vicim mindset): and internal locus mindset believes that the individual is responsible for what happens to him, and that he can chages his mood and life circumstances. An external locus mindset believes that external forces he has no control over determine what happens.
- Extreme ownership: an extreme version of external locus of control where the indiivdual takes responsibility for everything in his life, including events for which he apparently had little control over.
- Learned helplessness: when people learn they cannot control external events, they enter into a state called “learned helplessness”, and they stop trying. Depression is also similar to learned helplessness.
- Stoic mindset: the stoic mindset takes ownership of whatever is his control, while accepting and being at peace with the fact that it’s impossible to contorl everything, and that the ultimate result is also somewhat up to fate and chance.
My Bitch (My Bitch Power Moves): power moves designed to totally dominate someone. If done in public, they can be highly embarrassing to the victim.
You only need to look at this thumbnail of Trump with Macron to see what “my bitch” power moves are all about:
Moralist: an individual who engages in moralizing and attacks others for not following the moral framework upheld by the moralist.
Moralists often have a self-righteous attitude and seek a judge power position to deliver their attacks. More often than not, the moralist seeks to frame his moral framework as the one upheld by the majority of people or, at least, by those whom he deems the “sensible” ones (ie. the “morally superior” ones).
Some moralists truly believe in the superiority and goodness of their moral standards, but some others are immature individuals oblivious to human nature and their own dark side. Yet some others, of course, are just out for power, manipulation (pro-social feints), or to ruin someone’s reputation.
Similar: purist, firestarter, guilt-tripping. SJWs can also engage in moralizations
Moralizing: in social and power dynamics, the act of framing others as “not good enough” for not following a certain moral framework.
Moralizing is delivered from a judge role, and can be a power move to acquire power or ruin someone’s reputation.
Similar: shaming, virtue signaling
Moral police (AKA: PC police): a group of moralists who bands together to enforce norms of morality.
Often based on guilt-tripping such as male-shaming or white-shaming.
Similar: SJWs, Guilt-trippers
Naive self-help: in self-development literature, it’s a type of advice that fails to consider the darker, more selfish, and more manipulative nature of human beings.
Examples: give, give, give, and you will be rewarded
- Utopian workplace: the utopian, non-existent workplace of some naive career advice in which team, company, and self-interest all perfectly overlap and/or where people put the team’s and company’s needs above their own.
In the utopian workplace, people advance only based on skills and merit, and never on politics and Machiavellian strategies.
A negotiation is a social exchange to reach an agreement on conflicting interests (conflict resolution), or to reach an agreement on how to split up the added value (“pie”) that is created by a new deal or agreement (value-adding negotiation).
Here’s Tit, where’s tat technique: a technique to increase the odds of getting a concession or favor by giving something or reminding of what you have given before you ask for something back.
Explanation: It leverages the law of social exchange, whereby by giving you create social credit for yourself, and social debt for them. This way, people feel compelled to give something back after they have been given something first.
Example: “I loved staying here, and I will leave the place tidy and clean. Do you think I can check in a bit later tomorrow?”
Honey deal traps (negotiation): a manipulative technique consisting of a fake offer for a highly attractive deal to lure the target into a trap.
Example: offering an attractive deal if the victim drops the charges in court, or through a guarantor/middle man. Then reneging on the deal once the charges are dropped
Minimizing: presenting and framing your requests in a way that makes them sound like small requests and easy to deliver.
For example: “a small favor before I go”, “just one quick question”
Nudging: a simple technique of applying slight pressure when someone seems teetering between a “yes or no” and not being sure where to go.
Example: you can see an example from this real-life persuasion.
Positive display of leverage: to remind people of your leverage and power by stating or hinting that you intend to use it positively.
Explanation: it can accomplish the same goals of a threat, because you remind people that you still have leverage and power over them. But it maintains the relationship positive and value-adding.
Example: “hey man, thanks for the lovely stay. I think this place deserves a good review. Is it possible to leave my luggage here for a few hours?” (remind him that you will leave a review, which is leverage). See an example here.
Warning: don’t overdo it. If you had a positive relationship, even positive displays of leverage can be annoying.
Similar: negative display of leverage (threat)
Silver medal technique: a technique aimed at lowering the incentives for lying and cheating, and increasing the chances of getting truthful information and more collaborative behavior.
Example: if you want to know whether the salmon is fresh, tell the server that you are not sure between the salmon and the chicken. This way, the server knows that he will sell something anyway, so he has no incentive to lie about the salmon.
NLP (neuro-linguistic programming): in persuasion and manipulation strategies, NLP is a pseudoscientific approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s. NLP became popular in the seduction and pick-up community, sometimes leading to some eccentric strategies and techniques.
Albeit the “pseudo-science”, there are good and proven techniques in NLP.
The name “neuro language programming” contributed to the hype around NLP, as well as to the misunderstanding of NLP principles, hypnosis, as well as general persuasion techniques. To keep it simple: you cannot program a brain as if it were a computer, and you can much less do so with language alone. Programming would entail that the brain is a blank slate with nothing pre-recorded into it, which is obviously not the case (Pinker, 2002).
Office politics (AKA: workplace politics): in office and workplace environments, it refers to the human element of business operations, including formal and informal status negotiation, as well as decisions and choices for personnel deployment and advancement. Office politics also includes, but is not limited to, the darker and more selfish human motives that people usually hide, deny, or pretend that they don’t exist.
Opening gambits, social ™: opening a new conversation with a power move as a way of testing someone’s mettle, or to assert early dominance.
Example: “what are you selling” / “and who are you” /
Passive-aggressive: in social and power dynamics, a type of behavior where resistance, criticism, anger, hostility, or resentment are hidden or verbally denied.
Similar: covert aggression, submissive behavior, frenemies.
Peg, Social ™: in power dynamics, a social peg is the victim of a win-lose attempt at social climbing. The social climber uses the victim, the social peg, to look better by contrast.
If you’re learning on ThePowerMoves.com, you don’t like being made a social peg (and you shouldn’t 🙂
Persuasion: the act of convincing someone to adopt certain opinions or frames of mind, or to perform certain actions
- Push: to make others act through commands, force, or threats.
- Pull: to make others want to act through their own volition (“buy-in”)
Note: The same concept also applies to self-motivation, with the “push-approach” being harsher towards the self (stick), and the pull approach being kinder and using rewards (carrot)
Plausible deniability (social): in social dynamics, the possibility and personal feeling of being able to deny one’s direct involvement in a certain course of action even when the help or silence of the plausible denier was essential.
Pop-psychology: in general, the bastardization, willful misinterpretation, or ignorant misunderstanding of proper social science.
In self-help and self-development circles, the misinterpretation of proper psychology to give more authority to the pop-psychologist, who can sound more credible and convincing if he can (mis)quote a scientist or scientific paper.
- Pop-evo psych: the act of storytelling and making up credible-sounding stories to provide a semblance of credibility to personal conjectures. Very common in the dating advice literature.
To paraphrase Tversky: “Listen to pop-evo psych long enough, and you’ll stop believing in evolution”
- Bro-science: the lowest level of pop-psychology
Populist: in politics and power dynamics, a politician, often purposefully manipulative, who appeals to emotions instead of rationality, and panders to the masses of disenfranchised.
Populists also pander to the iconoclastic and sadistic tendencies of the human psyche who like to see those in power fail.
Example: Trump was a populist, and pandered to the iconoclastic desires of hurting the political class.
Power: power is the measure of an individual to influence or dictate decisions, influence or dictate other people’s behavior and, ultimately, to achieve goals and get the outcome, things, or results that he desires.
Balance of power: in social and power dynamics, how the power is split between two individuals, or within a group.
The balance of power is especially relevant in close relationships such as friendships, families, business partners, and intimate partners. Good relationships among high-quality, driven individuals, tend to be well balanced.
The impact on the balance of power can be measured with:
- Power-giving: any action, words, or frame, that empowers the receiver
- Giving back power: to give back power after having taken it
Example: to say “sorry”, and to ask for forgiveness (the power of choice, whether to forgive or not, is given to the receiver, and that empowers them back)
- Giving back power: to give back power after having taken it
- Power-taking: any action, words, or frame, that disempowers the receiver
- Retaking back power: techniques and strategies to re-empower oneself against power-takers
- Power-protecting: to position or phrase a potentially power-taking action or sentence in a way that does not take power from the receiver, or that takes less power from the receiver
Example: instead of “do X”, you say: “a good option could be to try X. (What do you think about it)?” this type of phrasing empowers the receiver with the final decision. If you ask what they think about it, they can add their own thoughts, which also makes them part of the decision making, and raise them very near to your level
Explanation: power-protecting options are more likely to be well-received and appreciated by high-power folks, power-aware folks, high-ego folks, and by those who are above you in ranking / status
Power Dynamics: the study and analysis of social dynamics and social strategies from the point of view power.
- Dating power dynamics: the study and analysis of intersexual dynamics and sexual strategies from the point of view power
- Relationship power dynamics: the study and analysis of intersexual dynamics and sexual strategies from the point of view power
Albeit the term “power dynamics” applied to the different realms of human socialization existed before, this website was the first to address it in a more systematic fashion.
Power Move: in social dynamics and in general terms, any action that affects the power dynamics of interaction.
In more lay terms and in more common parlance, it’s an action or verbal expression that abruptly and sometimes unexpectedly changes the power dynamics of an interaction.
A well-placed power move can turn an individual who was previously defensive or under assault into the one with power.
Power moves are one-off actions, while power moves that repeat over time are “games”.
- Covert power move: a power move that is delivered with a mix of friendliness, professionalism and, sometimes, even submissiveness, but that in truth empowers the agent and disempowers or shames the receiver.
- Micro-power move: small scale, daily power moves that impact the power dynamics and social status. Many people fail to see and properly address the micro-power moves, which can leave them down in power and status.
Power-up techniques: in power dynamics, power-up techniques are recurring methods and patterns (“games”), that people use to gain power over others.
Power techniques, covert: in power dynamics, covert power-up techniques are recurring methods and patterns (“games”), that people use to gain power over others.
- Messenger power move: an individual sets up a “triangulation” by making up or playing up his role as the conveyor of information (messenger) from a third party (originator). The “don’t shoot the messenger” cover allows the messenger to take a judge role and/or to disempower the victim with reprimands or criticisms while making himself immune to power-rebalancing counter-attacks.
Power With Warmth™, mix: in social strategies and power dynamics, a social strategy designed to maximize social success.
It consists of displaying behavior and body language that is at the same time powerful and warm.
It’s based on the availability principle™ and the stereotype content model. The SCM, in turn, is based on a body of research showing that people first assess others based on competence (power) and warmth (friendliness).
Power showdowns (AKA: “domination showdowns”, “showdowns”)™: in social and power dynamics, it refers to an escalating confrontation, a battle of wills, and/or a frame battle.
The individual who wins the showdown gains a lot of power, while the individual who loses it, will lose a lot of power. Thus, showdowns are crucial moments that will potentially determine the direction of a relationship.
Showdowns vary in intensity, and can be big and obvious, or understated and seemingly small. But even the small ones, especially when early in a relationship, will have major impacts on the dynamics of a relationship.
- Social power showdown: showdown as a consequence of social dynamics and social pressure. There are often social power showdowns in patterns of laughter, eye contact, or holding or breaking silences.
- Power showdown in seduction: showdowns and social power showdowns are often present in the early stages of seduction, and some men completely fail to recognize them. When men lose power showdowns, attraction tanks. When men win them, attraction spikes. Simply staring into a woman’s eyes can be a socia power showdown: the first one who moves or smiles, loses.
- Domination showdowns: these are more obvious instances of power escalations, including potentially getting to blows.
Prince of darkness / queen of darkness: in power dynamics, life and manipulative strategies, this is the mantel you don when you decided you are going to wage war on someone.
Pulling rank: In power dynamics, it refers to someone directly referring to his status, authority, power, or official rank as a way of asserting his power over others.
Depending on the context, pulling rank can be effective to discipline someone and get back in power, but it can also come across as very weak. It can be weak because great leadership rests not just on rank, but on personal qualities and follower’s admiration and willingness to follow. Pulling rank indirectly says “you don’t respect me and you wouldn’t accept me if I didn’t have an official rank”.
Pump and Dump ™, social: in power dynamics, it consists in complimenting and building someone up in front of them, often in exaggerated terms, and then dumping them with heavy-handed criticism or with a scathing joke at their expense, as soon as they turn around.
It can also be done in front of the person, in which case it’s a “my bitch power move”.
Example: this skit from Family Guy
Purists: in social and power dynamics, purists are inveterate, more extreme types of moralizers.
Purists routinely deploy moralizations and/or shame attacks to chastise others for their apparent lack of morals, ethics, or personal value.
While they seek to portray an image of superhuman honesty, some purists buy into their own lies, and fail to recognize their own darker motives.
Of course, some purists and instead manipulators in search of some followers and some scraps of power.
The most extreme purists are fanatics.
Similar: moralizers (lighter form of purists), fanatics (most dangerous forms of purists)
Example: Chris Cuomo loves moralizing others, but it feels motivated by his own hidden perversions.
- Closeted moralists: The worst purists blame and moralize others on the same things they are perversely attracted to, but feel guilty about. This is called “reaction formation” in psychology.
Example: the Orlando’s nightclub shooter ahole who massacred people at a gay night club was supposed to be gay himself.
Pyromaniac™, social: in social and power dynamics, pyromaniacs are more extreme, inveterate firestarter.
He is the guy who continuously writes angry posts, makes up an enemy, or dramatizes situations. He strawmans his enemies, framing them as dumb, mean, or manipulative. He seeks to look smarter, purer, and “better” by comparison.
Similar: firestarters, populists, purists
Pyrrhic victory: a victory that inflicts heavier losses on the winner than on the loser. Winning a Pyrrhic victory takes a heavy toll that damages long-term progress.
- Pyrrhic validation: By extension, validation-achievements can be considered pyrrhic victories, since they make us feel enough good to stop action, but only result in time-wasting and opportunity losses.
Example: to work hard to achieve a high-school grade at the exam, but not to actually understand the topic; or to seek a positive reaction from a woman/business contact, rather than getting a date, or a signed contract.
Qualifying: in seduction, social, and power dynamics, it refers to asking questions aimed at positively assessing an individual.
Qualifying and assessing, both in positive and negative terms, are natural extensions of the judge role.
Similar: shit tests, judge frames, screening
Rapport break (social): in social and power dynamics, rapport breaks refer to any behavior or expression with which one person is increasing the social distance from another.
The “distance” can be in negotiating meaning, power, status, or friendship. Typical examples of rapport breaks include not laughing at someone’s jokes, or contradicting someone. The latter is an example of increasing the distance in terms of negotiating meaning and, potentially, power.
- Rapport break (seduction): in seduction, it refers to an individual purposefully disagreeing with another to gain power in the interaction and to potentially shit-test the target and see if they will change their minds and follow. It can work great, but it backfires if the target does not follow and just take it as a sign of unavailability or of bad chemistry. It originated in pick-up circles.
- Confrontational rapport break: to break rapport in an aggressive fashion
- Pulling social rank ™: in power dynamics and rapport breaks, it refers to correcting others and/or demanding to be addressed with a more formal or authoritative title, or with a title that highlights their
Example: “Hello Mark!” “I’m doctor Schenk”
Counter strategy: see “how to handle rapport breakers” with power
Realpolitik: in politics and power dynamics, an approach of developing political strategies in amoral terms, while analyzing those power and political strategies as driven by the individuals’ selfishness and thirst for power.
In many ways, I see thepowermoves.com as a realpolitk approach to self-development.
Rebels Without a Cause ™ (RWC): in social and power dynamics, RWC rebel and throw tantrums for apparently no reason.
The real reasons are internal: they are either lazy, can’t get along with others, or are entitled, power-hungry narcissists who cannot stand people who have power and authority over them.
Counter strategy: RWC are difficult to be won over since it’s a behavior that stems from a deep-seated personality. So leaders are better served by cutting them out as quickly as possible.
If they don’t, RWC might come up with a cause to rebel for, and manipulate others into believing that it’s a good cause to antagonize those in power.
- Rebels with a fake cause: make up an enemy to hide their personal frustration behind anger. They are purists, moralizers, or narcissists who want power for themselves.
Red Pill: A subset of the manosphere discussing politically incorrect notions and on theories on sexual dynamics and self-development.
- Alpha bucks ™: an alpha male with so much financial abundance, that he can maintain several women at once, without necessarily banging each specific one on a daily basis
- Alpha fathers: an alpha male who commits and/or provides financial support for the woman/women he has sex and/or children with.
- Alpha fucks beta bucks: it’s a popular stock-phrase to describe the sexual dynamics of alpha males, who gets quick sex without having t commit, while the beta males commits, pays, and gets little or no sex. The worst form of alpha fucks beta bucks, albeit not as common as the red pill seems to portray, is a beta man raising the children of a previous alpha.
- Beta fucks ™: a non-stereotypically alpha male who gets sex, relationship, and children within a committed relationship. Most men in a relationship are beta fucks.
Explanation: this is probably far more common than the extreme version of “beta bucks” who raise other men’s children.
- Cads VS dads: two different mating strategies whereby cads sleep around without commitment, while dads settle down. This is far more realistic than “alpha fucks, beta bucks”
- Fearful defector ™: in red pill and MGTOW communities, men who have no hopes whatsoever in win-win intimate relationships that they decide to either never commit, or to not date at all. When they do commit, fearful defectors are naturally loath and afraid of giving and adding value, since they fear future cheating.
Relationship prize: in dating and relationship power dynamics, the relationship prize is the partner with a judge role and, in the most extreme cases, the partner who invests less while being pampered and spoiled by their subservient and over-investing partner.
The relationship prize is often the higher value or higher sexual market value, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, the relationship prize just acts, pretends, or demands to be treated like royalty and the partner simply complies.
Usually, it’s the woman who becomes the relationship prize and who actively seeks to be the relationship prize.
The relationship prize also overlaps with the judge role, since the judge is the individual with emotional power who dispenses emotional rewards and punishments.
Example: see this pictorial story of how she became the relationship prize by refusing him and making him chase
Similar: woman on pedestal, pedestalizing, judge
Scalping, Power ™: in social and power dynamics, it consists of exploiting and capitalizing on any social opportunity to acquire more status or power.
For example, one can capitalize on someone’s mistake to berate them publicly and, as a consequence, look more effective at work. Or someone might capitalize on someone’s submissive nature to act aggressively and, thus, look and feel more dominant.
The definition originated thanks to JP’s comment in the forum, where he correctly linked the similarities between social scalping and “capitalizing on submissive behavior”.
Example: an abusive man doubles down on yelling and offending when his partner stopped arguing. Or a guy, to look more powerful, tells his colleague who just apologized over a minor slip: “I’m glad you realized the mistake, be more careful next time”.
- Status scalping: to take advantage of a small mistake, or to feign failure of understanding, to make someone look sloppy, and look better by comparison
Example: “I’m sorry, in that slide did you mean “you’re, or your”?
- Vulnerability exploiters: to make fun, deride, or make a big show out of rejecting an individual who put himself in a vulnerable position by sharing a personal story, or declaring his feelings
Example: a woman makes a big show of rejecting a man to show the man himself, and everyone around, that she just rejected someone
- Power scalping in absentia: just like social climbing in absentia, it consists of using people who are not physically present as social pegs to look more powerful and dominant
Example: this skit from family guy
Scam: in manipulative strategies, a scam is an elaborate strategy to cheat and swindle the victim.
- Affiliate scams: reviewers rate products not based on quality, but based on how much money they will make from. Keep in mind this might be a majority of online reviews.
Some online review sites allow for users’ reviews to be published to provide a semblance of truth, but in reality, fake, edit and censor the user reviews to provide.
Examples: See an example here and here (which I personally tested and confirmed).
- “Best of” scams: many “best of” lists on the Internet are either affiliate scams, or pay per play, where those are featured paid the writer
- Playing the victimized: the manipulator exaggerates the amount of damage someone has caused them to unduly increase the targets’ debt and the manipulator’s credit
Scorched earth technique ™: in social and power dynamics, it consists of enticing the attacker to advance, and then strike when they’re over-extended.
Explanation: The strategy can be applied in a variety of different social situations. For example, with an angry attacker, if you let them attack more, they will likely end up looking too angry and nasty, and more people will dislike them and side with you.
Once the attacker has socially over-extended, the scorched earth player has an easy time framing them as nasty and uncivilized.
Similar to: “giving them rope”, but rather than just letting them do the work by themselves, you plan on attacking after they over-extend.
Example: John used a scorched earth technique here, when he did not attack back a rude and overly aggressive doctor and instead stated and restated “I’m shocked”.
Letting people spin and explain their lies when you know that you have a smoking-gun type of evidence ready is also a great scorched-earth technique: you let them over-extend with their lies, and then you prove them for huge liars and manipulators.
Screening: in social dynamics as well as in seduction and dating strategies, it means to have certain criteria and standards with which to screen partners for quality and personal fit.
Explanation: If a person does not meet your screen, then it means they should be rejected, or that you lose interest in them (“screened out”). If that person meets your screen, then it means they should be accepted, or that you are more interested in them (“screened in”).
Screening can be accomplished with questions, shit tests, or simply judging them by their behavior.
Once a person passes your screen, you can also let them know verbally (“qualifying” them). For example, you can compliment them for answering “yes” to your question about whether they exercise or not, and say that you are glad they exercise because you like people who take care of themselves (a positive judge frame).
Similar: shit test, judge frames, qualifying
Seduction / Game Dicionary
Game: the strategies and techniques to meet, seduce, mate, and potentially enter into relationships with members of the opposite sex
Seduction: to make people aroused or attracted (sexual seduction), or enchanted and charmed (social seduction).
The final sexual seduction is to sleep with someone, while the final social seduction is to make people want to be around you, and willingly be your allies and supporters.
AMOG: “alpha male of the group”
Abundance addiction ™: an aberration of abundance mentality and actually achieving real abundance. Addicted guys, often “validation players”, always feel the need to chase the next woman and cannot manage to hold onto a good relationship.
- Approach addiction: similar to abundance addiction, but focused on approaching
Explanation: if going out to meet new women feels better than meeting a woman you get along with, you might be falling into approach addiction.
Abundance apathy ™: getting so used to meeting new women, that one loses interest in women, together with losing the ability to feel love and romance with a specific individual.
Similar to: reverse one-itis
Abundance mentality: the ability or feeling of being able to meet and date attractive women at will.
Explanation: it can be a freeing mindset that frees men from the pressure of having to be successful with any specific woman.
It also protects men against manipulative women and value-taking partners by giving them the courage to drop them at once.
Approach, cold: approaching a woman who is a complete stranger, with no social ties and no social trust, with the intention of getting sexually and/or romantically involved with her. Cold approaches tend to have low social trust.
Approach, warm: meeting a woman through a “commonality”. Usually friends, but could also be playing the same sport, working in the same company, living in the same building, or seeing her often in osome place you both frequent. Warm approaches tend to have higher social trust.
Approach invitation: a verbal or, more often, nonverbal signal from a woman that she wants to be approached.
Similar to: indicator of interests (IOIs)
Attainability: how attainable a woman feels a man is to her. Also see “availability”
Auto-rejection: when a woman rejects herself because she thinks, righteously or not, that the man is not interested. It is the equivalent of “self-rejection”, but limited to women and dating only
Backward rationalization: to rationalize with logic, often fallaciously, what one has previously done mostly based on emotions. It is a critcal principle that academic psychology hasn’t stressed enough in my opinion, partially based on “committment and consistency”.
Example: if a woman was drunk and wanted to sleep with you but the day after feels bad about it, she might back-rationalize that she was too drunk, or that the man forced her.
Bitch shield: haughty and insufferable exterior some women put up to reject men. Some women do it because they are tired of being hit on, while some others do it to gain social power.
Boiling point: in sexual escalation, when a woman’s sexual arousal outstrips her logical mind and willingness to resist.
A great way of reaching it is to finger her before moving to actual penetration.
Cementing (dating): In dating and seduction, cementing is used to amplify a positive thread.
Example: if a girl says “I never shared that before”, the man can cement that by replying “I’m glad you feel so comfortable with me that you can open up. It’s a great thing, it means we have a great chemistry and I’m happy about that”.
Now he cemented the feeling that the two of them have a great relationship different from any other. The subsequent exchanges between the two will then operate under this new common understanding.
Chameleon, sexual ™: pretending to be just like the person that your dating partner wants to date. It’s one of the games men play.
Chase frames: to frame a woman as chasing the man, or chasing men in general. It’s a consequence of “prizing game” (see “prizing”)
Compliance: the measure of how willing a woman is to follow through on man’s requests (tasks)
Escalation window: specific and often limited time-specific opportunities during a man can and should escalate the interaction towards more intimacy. Usually, the woman sends out a signal that she is ready and willing to move forward, and if the man fails to capitalize, the escalation window closes, and she might self-reject and/or write the man off
False takeaway: an extreme form of feigning disinterest by leaving the premise or pretending to leave. The idea is to get the woman to chase.
Originaly developed in the Mystery Method.
Example: see a video example in this article.
Friend zone: the label and grouping women use for men whom they like as friends, but not as lovers. Going from a dated to being “friend-zoned” means having failed in the seduction
Good guy game: an attractive and high-value man who is honest and kind, but also strong. Contrary to too nice guys, he is successful with women
Hook point: the moment a woman shows signs of being interested in the man, and investing in the exchange. For example, by asking questions
Indicators of Interest (IOIs): in seduction, a pick-up term referring to the verbal and mostly nonverbal signals of interest that a woman sends out.
Men send out IOIs too, of course. Here are the IOIs from men.
Insta-date: going on a date with a woman you have just met via cold approach
Kino: it refers to the act of touching a girl and all the techniques of escalating touch (kino escalation)
Locking in: when talking with someone, to take the most comfortable position that allows you to expend the least effort possible, while making her expand more effort to talk with you. For example, to recline against the bar while she is fully standing.
Mating intelligence: in seduction and dating, the set of cognitive and intellectual abilities, as well as the knowledge and proficiency of power dynamics and sexual strategies that support effective mate selection, courtship, reproduction, and relationship management.
Related terms: game, emotional intelligence, social skills, persuasion
Multi-threading: to quickly introduce and talk about new topics. Since friends tend to talk this way, it gives the feeling that two people who’ve just met are closer than they really are
Neg: abbreviation of “negative hit”, an old pick-up technique designed to lower women’s self-esteem and get women to chase his validation.
Note: PUAs didn’t know it yet, but what they were trying to go was to take a judge role in the interaction.
One-itis: the tendency for an individual to pedestalize one woman and feel like she is “the one” and it’s either he gets her, or he is desperate. Saying that “she is different” is a sign of one-itis.
- Oneitis, reverse (AKA: “emotional hibernation”) ™: reverse-oneitis is an aberration of abundance mentality. It consists of viewing women as interchangeable objects, and the consequent inability of some men to view women as human beings one can bond with
Similar to: abundance apathy
Orbiter: a man who spends time with an attractive woman, often as a friend, and who’d love sleeping with the woman he hangs around with
Pacing (from NLP): it consists of mirroring, vibing, and actively showing awareness and understanding for a person’s emotional states or thoughts.
Pattern-interrupt (from NLP): a sudden or incongruent action or verbal expression that takes someone off guard and “snaps” them from their current state or pattern
Peacocking: dressing or wearing something flashy and attention-catching. Taking it too far thought might seem childish. It probably originated with Mystery, who also sometimes took it a bit too far
Plate spinning: in red-pill circles, it means to pursue, text, or have sex with several women at a time.
A “plate” is a woman he is engage in a sexual relationship with.
Plausible deniability: in seduction, it refers to women having an excuse for sex to happen so that they don’t feel slutty or like they were “too easy”.
Example: “We are just going upstairs for 5 minutes so I can show you that thing I talked to you about”
Player / Boyfriend scale (AKA: perennial player / doting boyfriend scale) : a scale measuring male’s varying attitudes towards relationships.
Explanation: On one extreme, there are men seeking new mates right after sex and unable to be attracted to the same partner. On the other extreme, there are men who only seek stable and monogamous relationships and are only attracted to their partner.
Different people tend to inhabit different points of the scale.
Preselection: Women find attractive men whom other women also find attractive (also called copy mating in biology or mimetic desire in philosophy)
Push-Pull: in social dynamics and seduction, a technique of flirting and attraction-building consisting in making a compliment (pull) and then denying that compliment, or following it up with a more negative comment (push).
Prizing: a man framing himself as “the catch” whom the woman has to work for. It seeks to “switch the table” on the normal seduction dynamic. Developed by a certain Swingcat
- Prizing, sexual: to frame oneself as a great lover
Qualifying / disqualifying: see the main entries for the general definitions. For seduction-specific purposes:
Qualifying: to positively communicate to a woman that he likes her for certain traits she has (ie.: she is passing his “screens”).
Explanation: it’s a way to gain power by indirectly increasing his value, and by taking the judge role. Plus, it puts her at ease by communicating that he likes her personality beyond simple looks.
Disqualifying: to directly or indirectly state that he is not pursuing her, or that the two of them have no future together.
Expalantion: it serves to avoid a power-down frame where he is chasing, and she is assessing him, and/or playing hard to get. Ideally, she will start chasing him a bit more after he disqualifies himself.
It can backfire though if he goes too far, and she considers him unavailable (ie.: she self-reject).
- Boyfriend self-disqualifiers: to actively disqualify oneself a boyfriend candidate by denying or hiding the qualities that would make a man available for a relationship, or good for a relationship. It’s a technique to date as a lover (see “lover”) and get to sex more quickly.
Screening: see main entry “screening”. In short, it means to communicate to the woman that you hve standards, and that you only take women who meet certain criteria (your “screens”)
Similar to: shit test, qualifying/disqualifying, conveying high value
Explanation: screening precedes “qualifying”. With screening, you set up the hoops and criteria you look for. With “qualifying”, you communicate that you like her because she passed those screens.
Seeding (the pull): to start talking about things you like to do and/or have at home, and then tell the girl that you’d like to show her that thing
Sex drive (high / low) : the term and definitions didn’t originate with PUA communities, but PUAs first wrote on how sex drive impacts sexual strategies (and TPM included it in its model on sexual escalation and timing)
Sexual escalation: the escalation of touch, intimacy, and closeness that moves towards sex
- “I’m ready point” ™: when a woman is mentally and physically ready for sex, and won’t present any LMR. In sexual escalation with already present LMR, it’s when a woman who was previously resisting a man (last-minute resistances) drops all her resistances and lets the man undress her and have sex with her (or helps him along the way).
- Last-minute resistance: the resistance and rejection of a man and his atempts of sexual escalation when sex seems to be getting closer -for example, once they ended up at his place after a date-
- Token resistance: when a woman rejects a man but deep down wants to actually have sex with him. Token resistances are often weak and easy to overcome
Sexual-prizing: a specific type of sexualization, consisting of the display and parading of love-making qualities to get women excited and primed for sex. Alek Rostaldt came up with the term
Shit-tests: social challenges that the woman throws to a man to test his value, experience, or level of interest
Explanation: the female version of screens.
Social circle game: entering social circles of celebs, rich folks, or very high-value individuals to have access to tons of attractive women. Connectors are the guys who use social circle game.
Social proof: signs of someone’s social success and social status within certain people or groups. Women like men who are socially successful. First described by Robert Cialdini in “Influence“
Thread amplifying: going deeper into a topic of conversation, or highlighting/cementing a reaction to a certain topic, to expand a topic of conversation that is conducive to seduction and bonding
Thread cutting: changing the topic of conversation
Validation player ™: a man who needs women and the feeling of achieving dating success to feel good about himself. The worst types of validation player get validated by a phone number, or by a positive reaction. Most validation players waste lots of time getting validated by women and achieve little in life. Also see: the psychology of PUAs.
Venue change / bouncing: the act of changing locations with a woman as a way of more quickly building rapport and intimacy
Pick-up Artistry (PUA): in seduction strategies, a movement began in the ’90s focusing on learning and teaching techniques and strategies to meet and seduce women.
The movement had its advantages and disadvantages, but has described many groundbreaking concepts and ideas.
Self-rejection ™: in seduction as well as in social and power dynamics, self-rejection refers to an individual who rejects, dislikes, or undermines a higher-value individual because he feels that the higher value individual looks down on him.
- Preemptive rejection: to reject someone first, often without even knowing the person, based on the belief that the individual would ignore us, or refuse to enter with us in friendly and/or value-adding exchange.
Explanation: Preemptive rejection serves to protect one’s ego and to protect one’s own social status. People with a defensive mindset, big but fragile ego, and people who are high in power are more likely to preemptively reject others.
Says psychologist Albert Ellis:
the best defense against rejection is a good offense: Get the others before they get you.
Some attackers hide their insecurity by being subtler. They are quietly disapproving, superior, distant, judgmental, sarcastic, negative, and/or condescending toward people who may not approve of them. They hold everyone at arm’s length, or further. Their goal is to keep others off balance in order to protect their own fragile egos. They are just as afraid of what other people think of them, but they hide behind a wall.
- Self-rejection, seduction: in seduction, it describes a woman who writes an otherwise attractive man off because she believes she is not interested in her or “too much” for her
- Auto-rejection: another name for self-rejection, originally developed by Sebastian Drake in pick-up circles. I renamed it “self-rejection” as it’s more descriptive, and extended its application to all social exchanges
Counter strategy: collaborative frames, building people up, and qualifying and rewarding from a judge role.
The “high-power and high-warmth strategy” is also designed to increase social acceptance, collaboration, and social support by minimizing the instances of self-rejection.
- Similar: availability, value, SMV, frenemies, Rebels Without a Cause
Sexual Marketplace (SMP): In sexual dynamics, the sexual marketplace is the ensemble of people looking for sex or long-term pair bonding.
In the SMP people offer their sexual value (offer), compete with other members of the same gender, and seek and assess the sexual market value of potential mates from the opposite gender (demand).
- Disassortative bartering (AKA: “bottom line pairing”): disassortative bartering is a property of sexual exchanges, and describes how couples can match and enter into relationships even if their values are very different when it comes to a specific trait or quality. That is because those couples match on overall value, and if one partner has an abundance of value in one trait, he can satisfy a partner who prioritizes that trait.
Example: an unattractive but very powerful man can still attract and pair up with an attractive woman since he has an excess of value in status and, possibly, resources.
- Disassortative relationship: when two individuals willingly enter into a relationship, while exchanging very different types of values.
- Risk-averse sexual marketplaces: sexual marketplaces where women are generally fearful of new men, or fearful of men whom they perceive as too masculine, too aggressive, or potentially dangerous. They tend to be poorer places for street cold-approaches.
Explanation: there certainly is an overlap between risk-avoidance, sexual options, personal SMV, as well as self-esteem, but risk-avoidance is also its own variable. Risk-avoidance also has little to do with how much women like you: a risk-avoidant woman who likes you might still not come out and meet you if there is not enough “social trust”.
Example: Korea and Japan are examples of risk-avoidant marketplace.
- Risk-taking marketplace: sexual marketplaces where women are open to meet and give all men they find attractive enough a chance.
Example: Philippines and black African countries are places with lots of risk-taking women
Shit-tests: in seduction and dating power dynamics, a test delivered by the choosing individual to the pursuing individual.
Since women are most often the ones who choose, a shit test originally only referred to a woman testing a man.
Pick-up artists also receive a lot of tests because they can come across as phony and gamy, or like players who are just trying their luck.
However, tests are not a prerogative of women. Choosy men can also test women, especially for their suitability as long-term partners.
- Loyalty tests: they are a form of shit tests
- Shit tests for men: just one example from the forum, dig deeper for more of them
Show me the hand strategy ™: in power dynamics and frame control strategies, a strategy of frame control to “surface” covert aggression and passive-aggressiveness.
Explanation: It consists of bringing the covert aggression to the surface and turning it into a direct and honest aggression or criticism. That makes the nasty intentions obvious, so that the attacker must at the very least attack in the open and give up his covert-position, together with the ability to retreat and play innocent.
If with going meta you explain what they are doing, with the “show me the hand technique” you let people, directly or indirectly, show their own games and intentions more directly and explicitly.
- Show me the hand techniques: the techniques to help you bring covert poewr moves onto the open.
Similar: surfacing, scorched earth technique, covert frames
Slut-shaming: in dating power dynamics, sexual conflict, and manipulation strategies, it consists of shaming women for apparently displaying loose morals and/or engaging in short-term dating.
Smart Alec ™: in social and power dynamics, a style of dominance centered around intellectual superiority, and looking down on others as “not smart enough” which, in turn, translates into “not good enough (for me)”.
The smart-alec takes a negative judge position in social exchanges with an ever-present air of “I know better than you, there I am better than you”
Accounting, social: in the social exchange model, the amounts and balances (positive or negative) of value-giving transactions (social credit-creating) and value-taking transactions (social debt-creating) that people keep track of.
Explanation: it’s based on the idea that people naturally keep track of of who is giving and who is taking.
Albeit few people actually write down a list of value exchanges, social favors, and social or emotional support, most people do subconsciously keep track of how much value they are giving or receiving. And most people will have a natural feel for people who are “taking” or “asking too much”, and people who are “giving”. Most people want to cut off the taker, and keep the giver. People are also more likely to follow and be influenced by the taker, and they are also like to want to give back to the giver, thus starting mutually collaborative, win-win relationships.
Related to: social credit scalping, WIIFM.
Blame deflection: a technique to avoid incurring social costs by deflecting the blame towards someone else, or towards a “force majeure” outside the individual’s control.
Explanation: it can be a manipulative technique, but also simply smart social skills that can improve relationships, maintain rapport, or save face.
Guy: Oh cool man, so you run a successful e-commerce, well done. May I ask you what’s the niche?
You: Thanks man, appreciate it. Yeah, look, I’d love to share it with you, but unluckily it’s such a small niche that I and my partner had to promise each other never to share that with anyone (<- blames the refusal to share on the promise and the business needs’), not even our family member (<- add one more step: now the guy can’t feel guilty if not even the family members are aware). The real competitive advantage is that we’re the only ones doing it. But I’m happy to share the process of how we found this untapped niche (<- provides value in a different way)
Capital, social (AKA: “social bank account”): Social capital is a measure of the social credit (or debt) you have with other individuals.
Having lots of social capital means you have lots of goodwill, leverage, and influence over someone.
- Passive social capital: this is social capital that is created without any action, but by simply being, or by having a strong reputation.
Explanation: Attractive people and successful people naturally have passive social capital, since people want them around if they haven’t yet done anything concrete to help others.
Explanation: Social capital is based on the idea that every social transaction can leave people better off (value-adding, and credit-creating) or worse off (value-taking, and debt-creating).
When you take value from others, you lose social capital. When you give value, you create social capital.
Explanation 2: As a rule of thumb, social capital increases with the more you know and interact with someone, the more you have given to someone, and the higher value you are. Being high value gives you a positive social capital even when you haven’t even met someone, since everyone wants to be around high-value people.
- Balanced requests (AKA: positive balance requests): requests that are fielded with enough social capital and/or personal value to cover for the effort that is being asked for.
Explanation: it’s a matter of overall balance, and not just a matter of how many favors have taken place. If the requestor has very high personal value, a series of requests can be balanced even though the requester has done nothing for the other party.
Example: because in the eyes of many men a very attractive woman has lots of personal value in the sexual marketplace, she can ask for the man to pick her up, pay for her, and wait for sex while the man still feels it’s an overall balanced relationship.
- Imbalanced requests (AKA: negative balance requests): requests that are fielded without enough social capital and/or personal value. Imbalanced requests feel off to the receiver and like the requestor is overstepping boundaries, acting annoyingly entitled, or trying to con them.
Explanation: It’s a matter of overall account, and not a matter “number of favors”. Requests can be imbalanced even though the requestor has provided a lot of favors already.
Example: a mentee asking a favor to a mentor and a report asking a favor to a boss can both run afoul of the social exchange rule even if both have already done plenty of favors, since the mentor has higher personal value (and probably status), while the boss has higher power.
Credit collection, social (AKA: “credit claiming”): to claim one’s own social credit for value that has been given.
Explanation: it can be done by reminding of the value one has provided, or indirectly, by asking questions on whether or not something was provided was helpful, which prods the value-receiver to volunteer gratefulness and social credit.
Credit Revealing: to explain, surface, or instruct someone about the value that is being offered or provided.
Thanks to Ali for the definition.
Explanation: in case of “opaque” currencies and value offers, people might miss on a win-win exchange because they fail to properly assess the value that someone is offering them. In those cases, “credit revealing” can help the receiver understand the value that is being offered.
Credit revealing can also be part of “fair value marketing”, as well as of “credit romancing” when someone who reveals the credit also uses that occasion to thread-expand on the benefits offered, and/or to sell and persuade.
Currencies, Social: in the social exchange, social currencies are distinct forms of value that are traded among individuals.
Explanation: Value can be delivered in all types of forms. The social currency refers to the specific form that the value is delivered. Currencies are all types of physical and personal traits, possessions, or skills that people value.
The more sought after currencies an individual has, the more successful he will be socially, and the easier it will be for him to climb social hierarchies, and get what he wants.
- Currency denomination (high / low): to be high or low value in a certain trait. However, “denomination” is not a widely used or accepted term in the social sciences.
- Hard social currencies (Or: global social currencies): forms of social value that are appreciated everywhere. Wealth, positive attitude, uplifting humor, and connections tend to be valued everywhere.
- Opacity: it refers to the visibility of a currency’s value, and how “hidden” the value of a certain currency is.
Explanation: Highly opaque currencies trade poorly in social exchanges because people can’t assess their true value.
Example: A great book. It can change lives, but until people read it, it’s just a (value-less) piece of paper.
- Soft Social currencies (Or: local social currencies): currencies that are valued by a specific group or subculture.
- Sexual currencies: the traits that are sought after in the sexual market place. There is a strong overlap between sexual currencies and social currencies.
Uncollected credits, social: to provide value, but never to collect any social credit for it.
Example: to provide help in an anonymous form, or to help people just for the pleasure of helping.
Some individuals can also seek to self-efface social credit in order to save face for the receiver -imagine you giving a homeless some food and saying “oh no, please, it’s nothing”-.
Explanation: not collecting credit can be a good and friendly thing to do, but can also be naive if you let someone take advantage of you and never give any fair value back.
For example, a salesman who brings in a lot of revenue but remains on a small salary and takes no commission is not being “nice”, he’s being “clueless”.
Collaboration: in social exchanges and relationships, to work together (collaborate) for “enlarging the pie”, and for win-win.
Explanation: ThePowerMoves.com promotes collaboration as the ideal relationships, since collaboration increases your power and leverage over the world.
All our civilization has been built on collaboration, and by increasing the scope of collaboration you can increase your power.
- Collaborative attitude: the general attitude of people who believe in collaboration and prefer to collaborate. There is an overlap with the “value-giver” mindset”
- Envious collaborator: a bean counter when it comes to social accounting, he collaborates only when his payoffs are bigger than the other party’s payoffs.
- Fearful semi-collaborator: he wishes to collaborate and sometimes does so, but he is too afraid of going all in. Afraid to get hurt in love and relationships, and afraid that he might make his friends and colleagues too strong in the process. He leaves value on the table, value that is lost both to him, and the people he crosses path with
- Naive collaborator: he collaborates with everyone, and tends to trust too much. Alternatively, the naive collaborator believes in karma or in the theory that if you just give, give, and give, you’re bound to receive back.
- Enlightened collaborator (AKA: “smart collaborator” or “selective collaborator” ): the enlightened collaborator seeks collaboration and actively expands the scope of collaboration. When unsure, he seeks to cover his downsides while leading with collaboration first (“collaborative foot forward” and “tit-for-that strategy”). But enlightened collaborators know human nature, and are aware of the opportunities for cheating that less ethical folks will be happy to exploit. So they observe people and keep an eye open to make sure they are also giving back.
- Machiavellian collaborator: he collaborates when it’s good for him only, and always keeps an eye on how he can get more, either with silver-tongue manipulation, or outright cheating. Also, he always keeps an eye on his grander strategy, and if defecting gives him a higher chance of winning the war, he will defect no matter how many times he previously cooperated.
Related to: expanding the pie (in negotiation), value-giving mindset, defection (the opposite of collaboration).
Collaborative frames ™: collaborative frames serve to inform and/or to remind people that our goals and intentions are win-win.
Collaborative frames can often decrease resistance and increase collaboration.
- Collaborative shaming ™: a step of “collaborative refraing” see main entry
- Collaborative feints ™: in manipulative strategies, pretending to be collaborative while actually nudging towards a trap or preparing to defect.
Example: “don’t be so defensive” power move
- Peace feints: pretending to be friendly or to seek peace, while actually nudging towards a trap
Collaborative reframing ™: a strategy to turn neutral or antagonistic interactions into collaborative ones.
Explanation: it serves to remind people of the win-win opportunities of collaboration, and it increases the odds of developing win-win and value-adding relationships
Collaborative shaming ™: in power dynamics and life strategies, a technique that serves to increase the scope for collaboration and decrease the scope for win-lose games. Collaborative shaming consists of shaming someone for playing win-lose games or nasty power moves with the intent of making them backtrack, apologize, or drop the win-lose games in favor of more collaborative approaches.
Collaborative shaming is delivered from a judge role, and often followed by collaborative frames to reach a better win-win outcome for both.
Similar: shaming, collaborative frames, value-adding dominance, value-adding leadership
Defection: in social exchanges and relationships, to refuse collaboration. It can mean to either refuse to play at all (“value-neutral defection” or “opportunity loss defection”), or to play for win-lose (“win-lose defection” or “value-taking defection”).
Some defectors defect because of a defensive mindset where they focus more on the possibility for losses, than on the opportunities for victory.
Explanation: ThePowerMoves.com encourages to recognize defectors, especially the value-taking ones, and either engage them with the same win-lose mindset, or to cut them out of your life.
- Defector attitude: the general attitude of people who believe in defection and prefer to cheat and/or to avoid others. There is an overlap with the “value-taking mindset”.
- Envious defector: He defects because he can’t stand that someone might alos gain from collaboration. Frenemies are envious defectors in friendships.
- Fearful defector: he is so afraid of being cheated, that he either avoids the game altogether, or approaches the game with a mindset of “I’ll cheat first”.
Similar to: defensive mindset, pessimists.
- Sexual marketplace defectors: individuals or groups who defect dating adn relationships. Red pill men are sometimes defensive and fearful defectors who approach dating with a win-lose mindset, while MGTOW men defect dating altogether. Same for “feminazis”.
- Sour grapes defector: an individual who is not particularly valuable in an exchange and pretends to refuse the game first.
Social Exchange Dynamics
Exchange theory, social: in social and power dynamics, a framework model that looks at relationships as transactions governed by the laws of economics and individuals’ self-interest.
It starts from the premise that people are rational players who seek relationships that add value to their lives and make them better off.
- Sexual marketplace: the social exchange for dating and sex
- Balanced exchanges (AKA: balanced relationships): exchanges between individual who mostly match each other in terms of value exchange
Many relationships are more than pure transactions, and a transactional model alone, without psychology and emotional intelligence, would result in a poor understanding of people and, as a consequence, in low personal effectiveness and poor relationships.
However, this website maintains that the exchange nature of relationships is fundamental to understand social and power dynamics. Understanding the laws of the social exchange theory makes people more effective, while those with low social effectiveness who fail with relationships are often oblivious to the transactional nature of relationships.
- What’s In It For Me (WIIFM): micro case studies on failing to address the exchange nature of some relationships
Bean counting (social): an exaggerateldy nitpicking approach to social exchanges.
Explanation: Bean counting can be a very Machiavellian attitude and can help people advance in the world, when it’s done at a high-level. Some powerful mafia bosses are known for being very bean-counting, and often doing so with “direct exchange talk”.
But many other bean-counters are just low-level bean-counter who just end up looking petty and have difficulties in keeping high-quality friends around.
- Passive-aggressive bean counter: he resents that you “took” from him, or that he gave you something, but does not speak directly. He might throw something back at your face when you least expect it
- Open exchange talk bean counter: as soon you ask for something, he says “I’ll do it, but you’ll owe me”. Or he might ask for something specific “OK, I’ll do X for you, but can you do Y for me?.
- One-upping bean counter: he might actually be happy to give, but only because he knows that he can then use it to one-up you or embarrass you at a later stage
One-upping bean counter: yeah, like that time I gave you 3 olives when you forgot your lunch, remember that?
Exchange risk: the risks that entering into social exchange entails for the individual.
Explanation: social exchanges, from friends, to relationships, to business partnerships, all entail an investment, and (emotional) exposure risk. The investment can be time, emotions, money, or a mix of them all. If those exchanges turn sour, we stand to lose (net value loss), or to lose an opportunity for what could have been a better exchange (opportunity loss).
“Enlightened collaborators” take steps to minimize those risks.
Fair value marketing, social: in social exchanges, to appropriately sell and present one’s own contributions and value-offering in a way that other people will correctly value and appreciate.
Conversely, to address “social scalping” attempts by more manipulative and Machiavellian individuals to avoid that they claim too much credit for their contributions.
This is the “enlightened collaborator” approach.
Explanation: imagine “social exchange marketing” on a continuum.
Clueless people fail to have their contributions and value-offering properly valued, and they fail to spot or correct individuals who devalue their contributions (“credit erasing”) and/or inflate their own contributions (“social scalping”).
At the opposite end of the spectrum, manipulators will seek to devalue other people’s contributions, and inflate their own.
Fair value marketing sits in the middle, and it’s the equivalent of assertiveness in social skills. It assertively seeks win-win.
IOU, social: IOU, short form for “I owe you” are social signals that acknowledge the receipt of value from someone and either directly or indirectly promise, imply, or suggest the willingness to pay back the favor.
Thanks to Ali Scarlett for hashing out this dynamic
Explanation: by social exchange theory, when someone receives value from someone else -either a favor, a good advice, or some help- he incurs a debt and “owes” the helper.
IOUs include all the different ways by which people can acknowledge the helper’s credit with them, and/or their willingness and promise to repay.
The presence (or absence) of IOUs after you’ve done a favor can also help you recognize those who are good collaborators, and those who might not be good collaborators (value-takers).
Examples: “thank you so much man!! (by acknowledging the help, it indirectly implies the helper has accrued social credit)“; “if you’ll ever need something from them to just let me know; “I will never forget this” (= your credit will never expire)
- Bad IOUs (AKA “empty gratitude”): like “bad cheques”, these are “IOUs” that the individual fails to follow through on.
Explanation: since present gratitude is cheap to deliver, expect that a portion of the gratitude you receive is uncovered and won’t be honored when you will need something
Example: one receives a favor, makes a big show of appreciating it, but when the favor giver is in need and/or asks for something, he does nothing to help
- Promissory credit notes (AKA: future promises): to promise the delivery of value in the future after the desired favor is first obtained
Example: “if you do this for me now, then I will… “
- Manipulative credit notes (AKA: empty promises): to promise the future delivery of value and/or a big social credit in exchange for a favor, but to never intend to honor the debt
- Social credit enhancing: to exaggerate the extent of the help received.
Explanation: can be helpful to show off an individual’s willingness to cooperate, as well as serve to make people more willing to cooperate (read here).
Example: “man, you just changed my life”; “it’s all because of him, that was such a great idea, he saved the day”
- Social debt enhancing: to exaggerate the extent of the debt incurred.
Example: “man, how could I ever repay you this favor”, “there is no way we can thank him enough for what he’s done, but as a token of our appreciation… “
Credit re-assignment: when people mistakenly think someone else is responsible for the value added to them or their team, but that someone else decides not to take advantage of the credit mistakenly foisted upon him, and he re-assigns it to the right person.
Explanation: re-assigning credit instead of taking advantage of a mistake and stealing it for oneself is a honorable move that can serve to increase an individual’s reputation as a honest and fair man.
Person: “thank you so much, John, you saved our life!”
John: “yeah, indeed, that was a huge game-changer, you have to thank Max though, he did everything himself, he had lots of courage, God bless him”
Scalping, social credit ™: a manipulative approach to social exchanges consisting of social credit and social debit manipulations aimed at taking more value, while giving back less.
As a schematic and pictorial overview of social exchange manipulations:
In simple terms, “social scalper” are manipulators who abuse the social exchange system to:
- make it seem like they are giving more than they actually are (“credit inflating”)
- make you feel more socially indebted than you actually are (“debt inflating”)
- make you feel like you are giving less than you actually are (“credit erasing”)
- make it seem like they have a smaller social debt than they actually have (“debt erasing “)
Example (of “debt inflating”):
Offering unrequested “help” is an example of social scalping (“debt inflating kind”). Unneeded and unhelpful “help” increases your debt while providing little or no value -or, sometimes, a cost-.
- Counter scalping: the techniques and strategies to prevent a scalper from taking more than he’s owed or give less than he owes you.
Social scalper: “I pulled all connections I had to make this intro and get you this interview bro. That job pays a lot, just go there, be confident, do a good job. I got you in”.
You: “thanks bro. I already have a few interviews lined up, including one with my true dream company. But one more option is always good, I appreciate your help”
To fight a social scalper, you need to play the same game. That was a “social credit erasing” power move.
- Credit deflecting: to deflect the credit someone has with us towards someone else, so that someone else shoulders the debt. see example here.
- Credit invention: to completely fabricate and make up a past instance for which the manipulator claims of having provided value and/or expanded effort to provide value, but has never received anything back
Explanation: this is the most extreme case of social scalping in which someone completely makes up a past event to demand something from you
- Credit / debt swapping: trying to pass what should be a credit for the recevier (and a debt for the requestor) into a credit for the requestor (and a debt for the receiver) (thanks to Alian Scarlett for the name).
Example: trying to pass a request for help into an offer for value is a form of debt swapping. See here for examples.
Judge credit awarding: to persuade others to act while providing emotional rewards -approval, compliments, public praise, etc.-, or by stopping negative emotional punishments -disapproval, criticism, avoidance, etc.-.
This is the judge role within social exchanges.
Rather than give back anything concrete, the judge can prod others into action through emotional rewards and punishments alone.
Women can sometimes use this technique with men and within relationships.
As a rule of thumb, watch out for people who use judge roles and seek judge frames within social exchanges: it’s often a manipulative approach.
Example: “if you can do this for me, I will love you for ever”.
Inverse psychology can also be used. For example “no way anyone could ever do this”, which implies that if you do it, you’re uniquely awesome, and you will get the judge full emotional rewards.
- Imaginary generosity (AKA: “easy social scalping”): it refers to providing value, help, or support in hypothetical situations that have not happened in real life. Most of the times, imaginary generosity refers to situations that are unlikely to happen in real life, or that cannot happen since they refer to the past.
Anon in the forums correctly analyzed and conceptualized this power move
Explanation: the social credit scalper can gain some social capital by showing his willingness to help and support. Whether his stated intentions would have translated in actual value-giving and effective help and support is a moot point.
Example: “man, if I was there when you were jobless and down on your luck, I would have introduced you to my hiring buddies and got you a good job”
Bad credit awarding: To exaggerate or to outright make up the extent that a person will award social credit if a certain action or favor is performed.
Once the action is performed, the manipulator will then either quickly forget, or renege on his promise to pay back.
Bad credit is a form of social exchange manipulation.
It can be achieved with an outright lie -direct exchange talk-, credit inflating -“you will save my life”, or indirectly by exaggerating the severity of one’s own situation -“crying wolf”-. “Crying wolf”, by exaggerating or dramatizing the extent of one’s woes, indirectly says “I’m in such a bad situation, that if you help me, you will have a big credit with me”.
Albeit it’s possible for wolf-criers to be grateful and pay back, most of them cry as part of a low-power, manipulative approach to social exchanges, and they never even considered the possibility of paying back.
Romancing: a milder and less manipulative form of social credit scalping in which the romancer seeks to increase his own credit, but without going too overboard
Explanation: Romancing happens when someone has indeed done something for you, or something that keeps the exchange win-win, and they exaggerate and embellish their contribution, or the work they had to put in to make it happen.
Pro-sociality suppression phenomenon (AKA: “good guy punishing”): in social exchanges and public good games, to punish (“antisocial punishment”) or criticize (“do-gooder derogation”) overly collaborative or altruistic individuals.
Pro-sociality suppression strategy (AKA: “good guy punishing”): to punish overly collaborative or altruistic individuals in order to decrease competition for social status and reputation, or to enter into value-adding deals or social-exchanges.
Credit to Stef for flagging this strategy and coming up
Explanation: very collaborative individuals make it harder for less collaborative ones to enter into win-win social exchanges, and they make them “look bad” from a reputation point of view.
Pleasant & Barclay suggest that the “good guy punishment” can be a social strategy that low cooperators use to avoid looking bad when high cooperators escalate cooperation.
However, “good-guy punishing” can be a fair strategy when “naive collaborators” demand too little value in return and start a “race to the bottom”. Think of punishing strikebreakers, for example, who are making it too easy for the owners and damaging all other employees (more here).
Social Status: in social dynamics and social hierarchies, a measure of a person’s value as seen and assessed by others.
Explanation: many different factos go into social status, and those factors can vary depending on the individual who’s assessing the status, and the environemnt. For example, in mafia organization, “honor” and “defending one’s honor” are important, while in a club getting bottle service is enough to confer high status within that environment.
Social status roughly matches the power and level within dominance hierarchies, but in structured organizations the “rank” or “title” usually confers more power and authority than social status.
- Status-giving: any action, words, or frame, that increases the status of the receiver
- Giving back status: to give back status after status was taken away
- Status-taking: any action, words, or frame, that disempowers the receiver
- Retaking back status: techniques and strategies to re-gain status
- Status-protecting: to position or phrase a potentially power-taking action or sentence in a way that does not take power from the receiver, or that takes less power from the receiver
Status symbol: in social dynamics, a prized possession to indicate a person’s superior wealth or high social status.
Trust, social ™: in social dynamics, social trust refers to trusting and feel comfortable with someone.
Trust tends to develop over time and over social exposure. When first meeting someone, trust tends to be low. Meeting people through friends and recommendations though helps “jumpstart” social trust. A great reputation also increases and jumpstarts trust.
Explanation: Low trust means little leverage over people, while high trust means more leverage.
Low trust also means lost opportunities for win-win, since people don’t enter exchanges when they fear defection. This is highly relevant in both business as well as seduction. You can have interested prospects who still don’t deal or meet with you because they can’t (yet) fully trust you.
- Social trust fund: the amount of trust you have with someone
Value, social: In social exchanges, social value is an umbrella term for everything that makes people better off and thus that they want and appreciate (value-positive), or for what makes them worse off and thus that they dislike and avoid (value-taking)
- Passive value: value that exists before an exchange even takes people. Explanation: Attractive people or people with a good reputation tend to be perceived as value-positive and potential value-givers even before they even interact with anyone.
Explanation: High-value people are generally value-positive people who provide -or who could provide- what others want.
For the simple fact that they do -or can- give lots of value, high-value people are wanted and sought after.
Value-taking people instead make others worse off, and for this simple reason, they are shunned and avoided.
Being high value or providing value creates “social capital”.
Strategies: in life strategies and self-development, strategies refer to the plans and approaches to reach a certain goal.
- Life strategies: overarching strategies
- Sexual strategies (AKA: dating strategies): strategies that both men and women engage during the courtship phase and/or around sex
- Social strategies: strategies around people and groups, including gaining status, persuading others, recruiting others
- Machiavellian strategies: the most amoral, manipulative and potentially value-taking strategies
Aligning, Power: in power dynamics and life strategies, power aligning is a chameleon-like strategy of aligning with those who have power.
It consists of adapting the views, values, opinions, and styles of those in power, and it can include adding value with favors, social support, or ingratiating (public) flattery.
In business, it also consists of embracing and supporting whatever strategy or change the top leadership promoted.
It tends to be a very effective strategy since people want to promote and reward those who are like them, and those who support them.
Outside of humans:
A very effective strategy in the animal kingdom, as well. Look for example at the animal species who are thriving, like dogs and cats, and those who are dying, like tigers and elephants. The thriving ones power-aligned with the apex predators: humans.
Bluff, power: to pretend or to feign power or leverage that doesn’t actually exist.
The ability to fake power can be power by itself. Fake power becomes true/real power IF people take it as real or even if you just instill enough doubt in their minds/hearts to alter their mindset, mood, emotions, actions, reactions, behavior, etc.
Kind of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” or “reflexivity phenomena” as George Soros would put it.
If bluff power is internalized, it can also lead to congruent behavior by the bluffer, which feels and acts like he indeed possesses the power that he is faking.
Obviously, it’s a risky strategy if someone calls your bluff.
Crying Wolf: to exaggerate the extent of one’s woes or difficulties in order to garner more attention, and to increase the odds of being helped.
Crying wolf can often work to get more attention, and it can also sometimes increase the odds of being helped.
But also comes at a personal high cost in terms of status, respect, and power. In simple terms, the high cost is that it makes you sound like a (hysterical) bitch.
High power folks often make it a point not to exaggerate their woes and instead often do the opposite: they seek to show calm and poise when most other people would be panicking.
So either use it judiciously and in limited circumstances, or just always avoid it.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: in life and career strategies, focusing on mastery and providing the best service or product one could ever provide. Sometimes, it is used as a move value-adding alternative to politicking or more Machiavellian strategies.
- Too Good to Be Fucked With (TGFW): a similar focus on being great, but with a look more on power dynamics, status, and realpolitik strategies. It means that, together with being good, you also care about your reputation. When your reputation has reached the higher-ups and they can be considered allies and mentors of yours, then you’re on your way to becoming TGFW. See the description in real-life here.
Buttercup technique: to compliment someone directly to his supervisor.
Explanation: since most people want to look good in their boss eyes, you deliver far more value when you compliment them to their bosses. You also indirectly introduce yourself to his boss, which also further spreads your name/brand and increases your clout.
Surfacing ™: in social dynamics, the act of bringing issues to the surface, so that they can be discussed and addressed in the open.
Surfacing is an advanced, yet fundamental technique for relationship management. It’s crucial because many people are not direct and brave enough to discuss their issues and gripes. And issues that remain below the surface, by remaining unaddressed, can lead to festering, which can eventually sour a relationship. Surfacing those issues instead allow people to address them, and potentially even improve the relationship.
Related: festering, direct talk
The 48 Laws of Power: in power dynamics literature, a popular book on tactical-level power dynamics.
The Prince: in power dynamics literature, the first and most famous book on realpolitik strategies in the West.
Other books like the Arthashastra of Kautilya, written long before the prince, could also be classified as “realpolitik”.
Credit: thanks to Stefano for fixing this one!
Time preference: the current relative valuation placed on receiving a good or pleasure at an earlier date compared with receiving it at a later date.
Explanation: it says a lot about an individual’s psychological makeup if they prefer everything right now, or if they tend to savor and/or save for the future.
- Present preference: a preference for immediate consumption
- Future preference: a preference for saving or investing for the future
Trump card: In life strategies and power dynamics, to be confident that if a final escalations were to happen, you would win it.
Scapegoat: in social and power dynamics, to scapegoat, is the act of blaming someone else for faults that are not his.
The scapegoat is the person who takes the blame.
Self-agency principle: in social dynamics and persuasion strategies, the tendency for persuasion that includes the target’s own volution, to be more effective and long-lasting.
In simpler terms: if you make people want to do something, it works better than pushing them.
Self-agency is based on more than one psychological principle. To begin with, people prefer dealing with those who use pull techniques (persuasion through buy-in) more than push techniques (raw dominance and hard sales technique).
And people who freely choose to do something develop more intrinsic motivation, as well as being more likely to follow through the agreement.
Similar: buy-in, less dominance is more power, pull, power through
Sexual Market Value: in dating and sexual power dynamics, the personal value that one has in the sexual market place.
Sexualization: in dating and sexual strategies, to introduce sexual topics in a conversation to purposefully excite the dating partner and/or to make sure this is a date for assessing intimacy and relationship opportunities and not a safe coffee “between friends”.
Similar: sexual prizing, sexual frames, chase frames
Shame attacks in social and power dynamics, to shame people for their behavior or personality.
The shame attacker is the person who deploys shame attacks. He takes a highly negative and judgmental judge role, and seeks to frame the victim as an unworthy human being.
Similar: purists, moralizers, firestarters,
Shine up, praise down ™: in Machiavellian strategies, the more effective version of “kiss up, kick down”, consisting of a boss making his reports feel good with emotional validation, while taking all the credits for the team or individuals’ effort.
Social justice warrior (SJW): a generally low social status individual who signals his virtues (virtue-signaling) by publicly and conspicuously embracing a set of supposedly prosocial values, norms, and behaviors.
It’s often an attempt at acquiring social status, sexual options, and enhancing one’s own reputation as “good” and “trustworthy”. It’s also a technique to signal one’s own belonging to a certain group of people that the SJW considers “good” or “cool”.
SJWs sometimes embrace causes that have little actual effect on the big issues they pretend they’re tackling.
Compare: Social justice warriors are mostly followers of trends, while the purists and fanatics of this world set the agenda for the SJWs to follow.
Social climbing: in social and power dynamics, social climbing is the pursuit of social status, including all the attempts at increasing one’s ranking within dominance hierarchies.
Social climbing intended in neutral form is what most driven people do, and is not necessarily win-lose or negative per se. However, the term is often used in the negative (value-taking or win-lose social climbing), as in the social climber being too obvious, or using win-lose power moves that push other people down (social pegs).
- Social climbing in absentia ™: a special type of social climbing consisting of talking bad about others who are not present to look better by contrast.
- Hostile climber™ : a social climber that advances exclusively through competition and win-lose exchanges. He uses socially aggressive tactics, as well they use blatant power moves to inflate one’s own status, plus using others as social pegs in win-lose exchanges
- Imaginary social climbing: to social climb by making up hypothetical situations where the social climber would have acted in cool and high-status ways.
Imaginary social climbing can be both neutral, without pushing anyone down, or it can be value-taking social climbing, when it pushes others down. The name derives from “imaginary generosity” in social scalping, thanks to Anon in the forum.
Example: man, if you were there yesterday, I would have introduced you to 10 hotshots in your industry, and sent you home with one of the hotties in my group
Standard games: in social dynamics and manipulative strategies, standard games are games that we all more or less engage in. For example, in dating it’s hiding in the beginning how much we like a man or a woman.
In social dynamics, an example is to seek to lower people’s expectations to beat them, or to hide our weaknesses to present ourselves in the best light we can.
Note: albeit standard games are usually not harmful, extreme forms of standard games can become harmful to the victim, and/or unhealthy for the perpetrator.
Tasking ™: in power dynamics, the act of assigning tasks to others.
In power dynamics, tasking empowers the person who tasks others (tasker) and disempowers the person who is tasked (taskee).
In courtship and seduction, tasking by a man and execution by a woman indicates she accepts his leadership.
- Lateral tasking: when tasking happens from an individual of the same rank and/or from the same level of social status, experience, or skills
- Upward tasking: when tasking happens from an individual of low rank and/or of lower social status, experience, or skills
- Downward tasking: when tasking happens from an individual of higher rank and/or of higher social status, experience, or skills
Explanation: while tasking is expected and normal when people with higher ranks task people with lower ranks (downward tasking), it can become a major win-lose power move when tasking happens from people who are theoretically on the same level (lateral tasking).
That’s how sometimes promotions are decided: a same-rank individual starts tasking another one, and he becomes the de-facto leader/boss. When it’s promotion time, the tasker becomes the natural choice for promotion since he is already acting like he’s above the taskee.
The Power Moves: the first website dedicated to advanced social skills and power dynamics.
Threshold Effect ™: in social exchanges, it’s the property of some generally and otherwise attractive traits to become unattractive above a certain threshold.
Different traits can have different threshold effects depending on the individual, the situation, or the specific exchange.
- Sexual threshold effect: (formally: Male social-sexual threshold disconnect) male qualities such as beard, low voices, and muscles have no threshold effect in gaining male respect within social hierarchies. But they do have a threshold effect with women, in dating.
Traumatic one-trial learning: explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority to condition or train the victim to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator
Trap questions ™: in power dynamics and manipulative strategies, a generic, umbrella term for any type of questions that intends to harm the victim, or back him into a corner.
- Leading questions: the asker asks a question that is designed to lead towards the answer that he wanted to elicit
- Brag for me: a special type of trap question where the aggressor surreptitiously invites the victim to show off, brag. And bragging and showing off look weak, more often than not
- Pull ranks for me: a special type of questions or assertions that nudges people into pulling rank and tell others “they are the boss” and have “official authority”. Since bosses who rely on official authority look weak, this can be an effective technique to make bosses look weak
Counter strategy: see “handling trap questions“.
Validation whoring: in social dynamics, validation whores are individuals who seek emotional validation and rewards for their personalities, looks, or achievements.
They often have fragile egos and fixed mindsets.
Similar: thirst-traps (sexy pictures), flex accounts (showing off on Instagram)
Example: see this post on validation whoring on FB.
- Attention whoring: very similar to validation whoring, but the attention whore is less discriminating as to the type of attention, and will take both negative and positive feedback as long as he is in the spotlight.
Virtue signaling: in social and power dynamics, the act of publicly and conspicuously embracing a set of supposedly prosocial values, norms, and behaviors.
Virtue signalers sometimes use moralizing against others as a way of social-climbing and looking purer.
- Disempowering virtue-signaling: when virtue signaling targets an individual or a specific group of people, often “minorities”, and gets tinged with a “poor you” hue, and (unwillingly) frames the target of virtue signaling as inferior, less powerful, or in need of help.
- Self-signaling: to attack someone as a way of feeling better about themselves. Ie.: “I attack this guy, so I must be better”. Often, it’s a way of hiding one’s own shadow and dark side.
See an example here:
Similar: SJW, moralizers, purists
Upcoming young guns: in power dynamics, a style of dominance based on confidence and over-display of confidence. The upcoming young gun carries himself with an air of “I am the best, and I’m on my way to the top”.
Value-giver: an individual who gives value to others.
- Value-matcher: an individual who gives back the value that he has received. Value-matchers turn value-givers when a positive and reinforcing win-win cycle has been established (credits to John for coming up with word)
Value-giving behavior (AKA “value-adding behavior”) in social and power dynamics, behavior that, on net balance, is either win-win, or that removes opportunities for abuse, or win-lose.
ThePowerMoves.com promotes the adoption of value-adding mindsets and behaviors.
Note: that “net balance” is important. Value-adding behavior can be initially aggressive if it serves to stop abuse or change someone’s mind in a way that leads to win-win. Or it can shame someone into dropping games if that serves to adopt more collaborative approaches (collaborative shaming).
- Value-adding leadership: a type of leadership that adds value to the group, and it’s Lucio’s main goal for those studying on ThePowerMoves.com
- Value-adding dominance: a type of dominance and social power that adds value
- Value-adding lover: a type of lover that rejects the most blatant manipulation and seeks to add value to the women who enter into his life
- Value-adding mindset: the mindset of someone who wants to add value to those around him, to his partner(s), or to society at large. People who seek success by fixing problems or providing solutions also seek personal success with a value-adding mindset
- Utilitarian value-adding: behavior that is negative for one individual if but off-set by far larger gains by someone else, or by a group, or society
Value-taker: an individual who, on net balance, takes value.
Explanation: in simple terms, people who make you “worse off”. There countless types of value takers and countless ways of being value-taking, but some of the most important groups:
- Active / passive value-takers: active value takers take value through their actions. passive value-takers take value even while doing nothing. For example, a homeless and smelly individual will take value even while taking no active action (credit to John for leading to this category)
- Agreeable / disagreeable value-taker: agreeable value takers act friendly and likable on the surface, and that surface can help them go undetected. disagreeable value-taker are more obvious and “in your face” (credit to John)
- Entitled value-taker: people who feel like they should have access to high-value people to values they seek and want, but don’t realize they must have or give something back for that person to want to share their value
- Voluntary / involuntary value-taker: important difference between people who take value willingly or consciously and people who take value unwillingly or unconsciously. Involuntary value takes might have terrible social skills and make you look bad with their social ineptitude, but aren’t willingly doing so
- Proud value-taker: people who their ego around their value-taking approach to life, and their value-taking behavior. Proud value takers feel “cool” for cheating and not being caught, as well as feeling cool for their “ability” to destroy, take, or leech onto others.
- Small-time value takers: low-value people in low-status positions who do no make any effort to give, but are always first in line when it comes to taking and demanding.
These are the people who loaf the whole day, and then, when there are still colleagues needing his help, he proclaims that it’s 17:30, and he’s exhausted and needs to go.
- Value-leechers: an extreme and/repeated form of value-taking. For some, it can be a social strategy or a life strategy
Value-taking behavior (AKA: value-subtracting): behavior that, on net balance, is either win-lose, lose-lose, or that removes opportunities for win-win and collaboration.
- Value-taking mindset: (AKA: “win-lose mindset”): the mindset of those who seek success and power by taking as much as possible while giving as little as possible. These individuals are often “prideful value takers” as well. Value-taking mindset in relationships seeks power by taking away options and instilling fear (dread game, sexual triangulation, breakup threats, isolation, etc.), rather than by being great partners.
Brag declaration: to call out one’s own bragging with the goal of delivering a self-promotional message, while limiting the social downsides of bragging
Explanation: Overt bragging comes at a cost. It often suggests you’re trying to gain power or authority, and that you want other people to admire you and/or like you, which is narcissistic and often not what a respected leader and/or high-quality person would do.
When you call out your own brag, you communicate that you’re aware of that, which gives you some points by itself just for “getting it”, and you change the frame of your promotional message from “I’m bragging” to “I’m being a bit cheeky here”.
Example: “alright, bragging time now, but I acually did climb Everest”.
“shamelless bragging ahead”; “alright, my time for some bragging now…. “
Humblebragging: a power move that, on the surface, seems like a neutral complaint, a joke, or even a value-taking self-deprecation, but that instead raises the value, status, or power of the humble-bragger.
The following people have contributed with various new definitions, ideas, and, improvements: