Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Making Someone Love You

The reality is that you can't make someone love you…or can you?

I'm not a psychiatrist, psychologist, sociologist or anything like that. I'm a writer and I'm interested in portraying how people interact. How they fall in love. How a bad guy can manipulate others. Because let's face it, some people seem to be masters of persuasion. You know they are terrible people, but you can't help yourself.

There are a lot of articles about how criminals can essentially brainwash an individual, break them down and make them do what they want, but really…most criminals probably don't do that. They've probably discovered easier ways to get someone to love them. Once you have love, you have the person. You have a measure of control.

Sociopaths and con men do it all the time because they are masters of manipulation. They learn very early several lessons that the rest of us just don't think about. Subconsciously, those of us on leaning toward the more "normal" end of the spectrum may also do it, although perhaps not consciously and deliberately the way a con man might.

So, how do you make someone love you?


I'm writing this for writers, to help them portray attraction (and control) in their fiction. So…take that under advisement.

If your character (or you) is physically repulsive to the target, then this is probably not going to help much. Although…often time itself can be on the character's side. Over time, ugliness can sort of disappear in the eye of the beholder.

So, I'm assuming that the two people (characters) involved are not repulsed by each other. It is even easier if they are physically attracted to one another, meaning: pheromones are good; not physically repulsive; may have one or two physical traits that are a "turn on" for that particular person, e.g. be it good legs, a certain smile, or whatever.

We want an even playing field, in other words. Although, under certain circumstances, if you do this right, even someone who you would never be attracted to in a million years can become attractive if…

Basic, Underlying Theory

Everyone has one or more (usually many) triggers. Just like you can have a hot button that instantly provokes your anger, there are similar triggers that can give you that feeling that the other person loves you (or cares for you). And once you feel the love, all things being equal (see assumptions) it is very, very difficult to resist falling in love. If a person seems to love you and "sees you for what you are," you will feel an inexplicable closeness to them and are one step away from being in love. It's easy enough, then, to just go ahead and fall in love.

If you want to make someone love you, all you have to do is identify the triggers. And then pull them.

Because triggers work in wonderful ways in the human subconscious. If someone is pulling a trigger, the recipient believes s/he understands him and sees him for what he is. And loves him. (I'm going to drop the s/he stuff and just use "he." It's easier.)

Because our triggers develop when we are infants and we associate the trigger with the kind of unconditional love we get from a parent. If the child gets no love, then he will still develop triggers, but they will probably be developed later in childhood and based upon other relationships or activities.

What if someone isn't pulling my triggers? If you are in a relationship and your significant other doesn't seem to understand you. Or you just have this sadness/hollowness feeling that something is missing. Or you love your significant other—you really do—but this other person just really attracts you…

It is because of triggers.

In the case of:

  • You are in a relationship and your significant other doesn't seem to understand you. Or you just have this sadness/hollowness feeling that something is missing.
    • It is because your significant other is not pulling your triggers.
  • You love your significant other—you really do—but this other person just really attracts you…
    • Your significant other is not pulling your triggers
    • The other person is pulling one or more of your triggers

What are Triggers?

Whatever triggers that warm, fuzzy feeling for you. They can be almost anything. A gesture, a phrase, an action taken (or not taken), an object, a fragrance, food, clothing, basically anything or any action. They are the "hot button" for affection and love.

There is no such thing as a list of triggers. Triggers are unique to the individual. The only thing I can guarantee is that if you listen or watch someone long enough, you will discover their trigger(s). If you then wish to show your sociopathic side and use this information for evil, well, you're probably already doing so and don't need to read about it here.

With all triggers, if you have to ask about it, the trigger loses about 90% of its effectiveness because you've brought it to the level of awareness.

A few examples of triggers include:

  • A wink
  • A slight grin and shaking the head conspiratorially while someone else is speaking (because you both know that other person is a nutjob)
  • Liking the same thing (book, movie, song, food, whatever)
  • Making someone his perfect breakfast in the morning—when you apparently had no way of knowing what that was. (Not your perfect breakfast, his.)
  • Siding with them in an argument—sticking up for him
  • Insulting them (but in a good way—like, you idiot, said in that warm, playful tone)
  • Ironing his shirt with real starch
  • The scent of real, homemade apple pie baking
  • Cleaning
  • Grabbing the back of her neck as you're walking along (loosely—we're not talking strangulation here)
  • Giving her a rose for no particular reason (note that for some people, gifts can be a negative trigger—and seen as an attempt to buy affection—so you do need to be a little careful)

Universal Trigger

Down to business. There is one, universal trigger. Women have used it for ages with men. Perverts are using it on the Internet to scam others—particularly young teens.


That's right. That's all it is. Listening to the other person. Keeping your mouth shut and actually hearing what the other person is saying. Because you know what? Among all the detritus, the other person is probably going to tell you what their triggers are. And you can tell when they do because when the other person talks about it, whether it is something their mother did, or a particular object, or a song, or a movie, whatever it may be, their face will be suffused with joy. He'll get all sappy looking. He'll sort of grin sheepishly. You can hear it in his voice. It's one of his best memories. He'll stop and stare at someone doing it (a young mother giving her child an apple—whatever) and get all kind of weird and soft looking. Take note of this—he's revealing a trigger.

And by the way, listening, itself, is a trigger for almost everyone.

The one thing most people want and never get enough of is an audience. Someone to talk to. More specifically, someone to listen when they talk.

It's what all the blogging is about, really.

A Specific Trigger

Recently, there was a show about ghosts and ordinary people who thought they had seen something supernatural. I wasn't so much interested, but it got my attention when one of the men started talking. Because right there, on television, in front of the whole, wide world, he revealed one of his triggers. I doubt he realized it.

He was talking about his mother—he thought he had seen her ghost. He remembered that the house was always spotless, and he never saw her without a rag in her hand. (This ghost looked like it had a rag in her hand—whatever.)

Right after he said that, I could tell you these things about that man:

  • He views a clean house as evidence of love.
  • If he's dating a woman and she comes over and helps him clean his house, or she cleans his house, he will almost certainly view this as evidence that she loves him. He will be well on the way to loving her.
  • If his significant other keeps the house spotless, he'll feel cherished and loved. If he sees that significant other with a rag in her hand, he will get a rush of warmth.
  • If his significant other is a slob, he'll always have a part of him that wonders if she really loves him.
  • If his significant other is a slob and they hire a housekeeper, watch out. Chances are very good he will either fall in love with the housekeeper, or have an affair with her. He's always going to be a little attracted to anyone who will clean up after him.
  • He may deliberately leave things lying about or create messes, just to test if his significant other really does love him. Obviously, if she does, she will clean up after him with an indulgent smile on her face. (And it should also be clear that he probably won't even realize he is setting this test up.) If she objects, he'll always feel a little resentful, hurt and uncertain if she really loves him. He may even stop making messes, but the act of cleaning up after himself will always make him feel isolated and alone. He may eventually fell punished every time he does it. (I know I do.)
    • Scenario: This guy (from the above paragraph) has finally learned to pick up after himself after his wife has worked on him for a while. He's out in the park, eating. When he's done, he balls up his brown paper bag and puts it on the bench next to him, intending to throw it away in a minute. The wind blows it off the bench. A woman about his age bends down, picks it up and puts it in the trash. She smiles at him.
    • Trigger. He's going to feel an amazing rush of warmth for her. He'll think: she's not gorgeous and little old (after all, she's his age) but she's got a really nice smile. He'll want to talk to her. Ask her to lunch. He may get up the nerve to do so.
    • At lunch he'll think: she's got nice eyes, too. I like her. He's nervous and spills his coke.
    • She wipes up the spill and cleans up his jacket.
    • He's in love. Okay, maybe not completely in love, but he's going to have a hard time walking away because of that hole in his gut that doesn't get filled when he's at home.

So that how this trigger thing works. That probably won't be his only trigger, but from the expression on that guy's face when he talked about it, and the tone of his voice, it's a major one.

By the way, if you're dating someone, it's worthwhile to see if being around them makes you glow (they are pulling your triggers) or if you always have a sort of hollow space that is not getting filled. If you have any hollows, be warned. It is doubtful they will be filled and divorce is probably in your future. And if all your hollows are being filled but you suspect your "loved one" is a sociopathic mass murderer, then consider that he may be quite deliberately manipulating you. He may have identified your triggers from your babble and is very deliberately pulling them when they need to be pulled. Sorry. Bummer.

Triggers can be as simple as a bowl of hominy at night and someone reading to you. It can be as simple as someone calling you "Butch" (one of my triggers—from the days when that didn't mean what it means now—my family used to call me that occasionally as a nickname—and it still gives me warm fuzzies. Although I doubt I would react well, now, if someone used it. Simply because of the connotations. And no, I wasn't masculine nor in any way, masculine looking—in fact, others called me Teeny because I was somewhat delicate…okay, enough.).

Interestingly, a lot of high-powered working women have triggers like their significant other making the decision of what to have for dinner. Because she's freaking tired of making decisions all day long and she'd like someone else to drive for a change. Even better, to have her significant other do something without being asked, simply because it needed to be done.

See? Triggers can be almost anything. A gesture, a nickname, an action…anything that resonates subconsciously with you and brings back that warm feeling that you are cherished and loved. Once you feel cherished and loved, it is but a short step to being in love.

That's it for tonight.

Rather rambling, I know. I just hope it inspires other writers and makes them think about how their characters interact and respond to one another.

I may eventually clean this up and post it as an article on my website—but I'm not making any promises. J

Good Night!


Sonja Foust said...

Thanks for posting this! It was a very interesting read!

Anonymous said...

That is really good actually...

and it's not for writers only...thanks for sharing this