8 smart psychological tricks to make people instantly open up to you

Ever tried to get someone to talk but felt like you were prying too much?

It’s a fine line between being nosy and helping people open up.

The key?

Respect.

Being nosy can make people clam up, but if you create a chill vibe, they’re more likely to share what’s on their minds.

Now, making people open up isn’t always easy. Trust me, I’ve been there. But I’ve also picked up some clever psychological tricks that can really break the ice. 

Let me share with you 8 smart psychological tricks that I’ve learned over the years. 

1) The power of active listening

So, you’re sitting there, having a conversation. But are you really listening?

I mean, truly hearing what the other person is saying?

See, there’s listening, and then there’s active listening—and trust me, they’re not the same thing.

Here’s the deal:

Active listening is all about giving your full attention to the person who’s talking. No multitasking, no thinking about what you’ll say next. Just pure, undivided focus.

And guess what?

People can totally sense when you’re actively listening.

Why is this important?

Well, when people feel heard, they’re way more likely to open up. It makes sense, right?

If you’re nodding along, giving verbal cues like “uh-huh” or “I see,” and asking relevant questions, the other person will feel safe sharing more.

And here’s a little secret: you can even mirror their body language subtly.

If they lean in, you lean in. If they cross their arms, you can do the same. It creates this subconscious bond that makes people feel even more comfortable around you.

2) Mastering the art of empathy

One thing is for sure: empathy is one powerful tool when it comes to getting people to open up.

It’s about understanding and sharing the feelings of another person, and it’s something I’ve personally found to be incredibly effective.

Let me share an example.

I remember a time when a colleague of mine seemed quite upset, but was trying her best to hide it.

Instead of prying directly, I shared a personal story about a time when I was going through a difficult situation.

How exactly?

Well, I told her about the feeling of frustration when things didn’t go as planned and how I struggled to deal with it.

As I shared this with her, I noticed her body language starting to relax. She realized that she wasn’t alone in her feelings.

Sounds impressive, right?

Then she started to open up about what was bothering her. It was as if my own vulnerability had given her permission to share hers.

Thanks to this experience, now I know that being empathetic doesn’t mean you need to have experienced the exact same situation.

It’s about connecting on an emotional level and showing that you understand their feelings.

And most importantly, it’s a surefire way of making someone feel comfortable enough to open up.

3) The power of silence

Believe it or not, silence can actually be more powerful than words.

I know this might seem counterintuitive. But trust me, sometimes, the best way to get someone to open up is simply by staying silent.

Let me explain how this works.

When there’s a pause in the conversation, our natural instinct is to fill it.

This is known as “conversational narcissism” — it’s our innate tendency to turn the conversation back to ourselves.

But if you resist this urge and allow silence to hang over the conversation, something interesting happens.

The thing is that the other person will often feel compelled to fill the silence themselves, providing you with more insight into their thoughts and feelings.

So, here’s the thing:

Using silence as a tool requires patience and self-control. But when done right, it can be a powerful way to encourage people to share more about themselves.

4) Show genuine interest

traits of people who forgive easily 8 smart psychological tricks to make people instantly open up to you

Look, we’ve all been there. Stuck in a conversation where the other person is clearly just waiting for their turn to speak.

Or worse, they’re scanning the room, checking their phone, basically doing anything but paying attention to you.

It sucks, doesn’t it?

You immediately shut down and keep things surface-level. Why open up when the other person couldn’t care less?

But let’s flip it.

Imagine you’re talking to someone who’s fully in the moment with you. Their eyes are locked onto yours, and they’re nodding along, genuinely interested in what you’re saying.

Feels different, right?

So, if you want people to open up, be that second person.

Show genuine interest in their lives. Ask them about their day, their feelings, their opinions—and actually listen to their answers.

Trust me, the real magic happens when you go beyond the small talk.

Dare to ask deeper questions. Not like “What’s your darkest secret?” level of deep, but meaningful stuff like, “What’s really important to you right now?” or “How did that experience change you?”

People are a lot more perceptive than we give them credit for. They can smell fakeness a mile away.

5) Be open and non-judgmental

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often we can inadvertently pass judgment in our interactions.

If you want someone to open up to you, it’s crucial to create a space where they feel safe and unjudged.

Sounds familiar?

Whether it’s their choice of career, their lifestyle, or their opinions, everyone has their own unique perspective.

But we rarely remember how important it is to respect this and refrain from making snap judgments or offering unsolicited advice.

My advice?

Acknowledge their viewpoint and show understanding.

Phrases like “I can see why you would feel that way” or “That must have been hard for you” can go a long way in showing your acceptance and empathy.

By doing so, you’re communicating that they can be their authentic selves around you without fear of judgment or criticism.

And you know what?

This is one of the most effective ways to encourage someone to open up to you.

6) Share your own vulnerability

Alright, let’s get real for a second.

We’re all human, and we’ve all got our quirks and vulnerabilities. No one’s life is a highlight reel, even if it looks that way on social media. 

But did you know that sharing some of that vulnerability can actually make other people more willing to open up to you?

Just think about it.

I remember this one time when a friend was struggling but wouldn’t open up about it.

So I went first. I shared a personal story, something that I usually keep under wraps. I took the leap and got vulnerable.

And you know what happened?

It was like I’d given them permission to let their own guard down. They started sharing, and we had one of the most real conversations we’d ever had.

My point here is that vulnerability breeds vulnerability.

When you show you’re not this perfect, unbreakable person, it creates a sort of safety net for others.

They think, “Hey, if they can share that, maybe it’s okay for me to share too.”

But let me be clear—this isn’t a tactic to trick people into spilling their guts. It’s about creating a two-way street of openness and trust.

If you want someone to share with you, you’ve got to be willing to share a bit of yourself first.

Still, you don’t have to divulge your deepest secrets. But believe it or not, a little vulnerability can go a long way.

7) Use humor

Did you know that laughter releases oxytocin, often called the “bonding hormone”?

Yes, it’s scientifically proven that humor brings people closer. So if you’re looking to break down some emotional walls, cracking a joke or two is not a bad idea.

But hold on, I’m not saying you should turn into a stand-up comedian. You don’t have to be Kevin Hart or Tina Fey (not me, the famous one) to make someone laugh.

Sometimes all it takes is a lighthearted comment or a funny observation to lighten the mood.

In my experience, humor is a fantastic ice-breaker.

I’ve always found that a good laugh can instantly lighten the mood and make people feel more comfortable.

Why?

Because when you make someone laugh, you’re essentially giving them a mini emotional vacation.

It’s like hitting the “pause” button on whatever stress or reservations they might be feeling.

And once those walls come down, even just a bit, it’s a lot easier for them to open up.

Just be sure to keep it appropriate and gauge the other person’s reactions. After all, the goal is to connect, not to offend.

8) Give compliments

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a genuine compliment?

It’s like a little gift that instantly brightens your day.

More importantly, compliments can serve as another way to make someone feel safe and appreciated, making it easier for them to open up to you.

But here’s the catch: the compliment has to be sincere.

People can spot fake flattery from a mile away, and that’ll do the opposite of making them open up.

Here’s how to give meaningful compliments:

  • Be specific: Instead of saying, “You’re so smart,” say, “I was really impressed by how you solved that problem.”
  • Timing is everything: Give the compliment when it’s most relevant and heartfelt.
  • Make it personal: A compliment has more weight when it reflects something unique about the person.

I’ve found that compliments can really enrich a conversation.

It’s not just about buttering someone up — it’s about acknowledging and appreciating the other person’s qualities or efforts.

When you do that, it can act like a key, unlocking a more open and genuine discussion.

The essence: It’s all about connection

At the heart of it all, getting people to open up to you is about fostering a genuine connection. It’s about creating a safe space where they feel valued, respected, and understood.

The psychological tricks we’ve discussed — they’re not magic. They’re simply tools that can help you facilitate meaningful conversations and deepen your relationships.

In the end, it’s about more than just getting someone to talk. It’s about letting them know that they’re not alone – that someone is there who cares enough to listen.

And perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, that’s what matters most.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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