How to Get What You Want From Others

Chapter 112 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan:

PEOPLE LOVE TO BE APPRECIATED and they hate being told they're wrong. Given that, a good way to get what you want from others is to:

  1. appreciate what you like
  2. ignore what you don't like
  3. never indicate - even in your tone of voice or body language - you think they're wrong.

Let's look at the first part: Appreciate what you like. Strongly appreciate anything the person does that's in the direction of what you want. Tell her or him why you appreciate it, how much you enjoy it, how it makes you feel, and how, specifically, it makes your life easier, happier, or whatever. Detail works better than vagueness or generalities.

It works to let people know what you want from them if you can tell them without making them feel wrong. But once they know what you want, find every opportunity you possibly can - when they do what you want - to praise it! If you want him to pick up his clothes, and he picks up one sock, praise it! Forget the stuff he didn't pick up. Keep at this and you'll see more and more of what you want and less and less of what you don't want. Be specific: What exactly do you appreciate? Why specifically do you appreciate it? Don't expect quick results. Just be consistent and enthusiastic with your appreciation and avoid any attempt to make him feel wrong, and you'll see a gradual shift over to what you want.

When you do this, at first you may feel somewhat awkward or uncomfortable. Most of us aren't accustomed to giving sincere, heartfelt appreciation face to face. Keep at it. Push through it. You'll find the awkwardness fades and you'll also finds the rewards well worth your trouble.

Now about the second and third parts (they go together): Ignore what you don't like, and avoid making people feel wrong. If you make someone feel wrong, what will he do? Answer: Try to be right! He will make an excuse for it, he will try to justify it. He'll want to make himself feel right, not change his ways. If you give someone the opportunity to feel appreciated for what he does that you like, and if you also leave the rest alone, he is very likely to change his ways. But if you make him wrong, you actually make it harder for him to change.


The best way to get people to do what you want is to pretty much overlook what you don't want and enthusiastically appreciate what you do want. It's magic.

Downplay or overlook what you don't want and enthusiastically appreciate what you do want.

Yes, you...possess powers...which you habitually fail to use; and one of those powers you are probably not using to the fullest extent is your magic ability to praise people and inspire them with a realization of their latent abilities...Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.

- Dale Carnegie


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next: Elicit Your Own Acknowledgment

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 2). How to Get What You Want From Others, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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