Obsequiousness is nothing but a form of opportunism. An obsequious person exhibits behaviour designed to win the sympathy and support of others. What characterises obsequiousness, or flattery, in a negative way, is the lack of sincerity and spontaneity inherent in obsequious behaviour. Actions, even those that appear to come from a genuine sympathy for the person concerned, are in fact motivated by personal gain. An obsequious person is disingenuous by definition. The adulation that he/she often shows people is supported solely by self-interest. Once you he/she has what they want, an obsequious person can indeed change his/her attitude towards the person until recently flattered; once the objective has been reached, it is no longer necessary for him/her to fake politeness and friendliness, and the obsequious person can then behave according to his/her true nature. Opportunism, which is what obsequious behaviour is based on, often leads to a U-turn as soon as the objective that motivated this behaviour has been attained.

1 - You would like to ask someone for quite a big favour. What do you do?
I never ask for big favours: I prefer to try to do things myself in these cases
I ask him without any kind of preamble: itís better to be direct and honest
Iím kind and helpful to put the person in a good mood
I make sure that the person does not realise I'm asking a favour

2 - Do you prefer to ask questions that are as clear and direct as possible, or indirect questions that may give rise to different interpretations?
Clear and direct questions, even if I risk seeming brutal
It depends, but generally I prefer direct questions
I prefer to talk around things not to seem too blunt
It depends on the person and what I want from them

3 - Are you someone who compliments others a lot?
No, I do so rarely and only if I think they truly deserve it
It depends, sometimes I do it without a precise reason
Yes, especially for people who may be useful to me

4 - Are your compliments are always sincere?
No, but they donít have to be!
Not always, sometimes I do it for convenience
Usually, yes, but sometimes I make the best of a bad situation
Yes, always!

5 - Do you know how to make others like you?
Itís got nothing to do with knowing how; I give affection spontaneously
Certainly, I'm always kind and helpful
Affection is earned and I know what to do to deserve it

6 - In life, is it better to "be" or to "appear to be"?
Better "to be", even if it makes you unpopular
Both, depending on specific needs
What matters is making a good impression

7 - Would you be willing to pretend to be friends with someone you cannot bear, if this would help you in your career?
Of course, it would be stupid not to!
I think so
No, but I would in any case try to hide my hostility
Absolutely not, it is better not have a career than behave falsely

8 - In your opinion, are lies just as bad? Or there are lies that are less bad than others?
Lies are always lies, even if they are for a good purpose!
It depends on the kinds of lies; however, generally itís best not to lie
There are lies that donít hurt anyone
Certain little lies are necessary in order to achieve certain goals

9 - Have you ever taken advantage of somebodyís naivety or goodness to obtain a personal benefit?
No, I would never do that!
Yes, of course, some people allow themselves to be fooled easily
Yes, but only in exceptional cases
No, I donít think I would be capable of doing it

10 - Life is: (choose the metaphor that you most agree with)
Survival of the fittest
A challenge
A journey
A job

Psychology and psychotherapy
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