Most such articles just offer common sense along the lines of: you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, ladies. "If you want your guy's friends to like you, let them see him now and then!"
This particular article from iVillage, "9 Mind Tricks To Get What You Want," is much more sinister (not to mention tedious to read, as it's doled out in bite-sized chunks and you have to click NEXT every 50 words or so). But the general trick iVillage is promoting seems to be the power of suggestion through association. They call it "priming."
This is probably the weakest of the tips, but it gets the concept across:
9. [In order to get y]our slob roomie to clean up after herself more often ...
Spray a bit of liquid all-purpose cleaner in the air right before she enters the skanky spot in question. A Dutch study recently proved that the faint smell of a cleaning product will spur people to start picking up the area around them. You can also prime her by squirting a little fluid in the bathroom sink before she goes in to use it.
As a former "slob roomie" myself, I can attest that the smell of cleaning fluid would either make me think my housemate had already cleaned up for me (regardless of what the place actually looked like), or it would be overlooked entirely.
Possibly more effective was this idea:
3. To bond with the boss ...
Offer to get her a hot cup of coffee — even if you’re not her assistant — and chat her up as she’s drinking it.
A recent study showed that just by holding the high-temp liquid, she’ll implicitly assume you’re an emotionally warm person — someone very likable. Just don’t hand her an iced latte or you could trigger a frosty reception.
Unless, of course, it's August.
With this article, iVillage is teaching its readers a very mild form of black magic. None of it's more malevolent than what advertisers pull on ya on the subway every day, but it's still a sight less pure than Ivory soap.
Icky as these tricks may be, they're worth knowing, simply because someone is doubtlessly already trying them on you. Also, there may come extreme circumstances where you may need to use them yourself.
I recently saw an interview on television with the only woman who'd escaped a particular serial killer. During the attack, she said something like, "Go ahead, kill me! What do I have to live for? I'm pregnant, my family hates me, I just lost my job..." She was making it up, of course, but he let her go.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. -Matthew 10:16