Most Helpful Guy
Hands up will admit I was once, anyone without bundles of confidence and intelligence can be manipulated really easily for your own gain. You target their biggest insecurity and paint yourself in a way to appear like you are the perfect solution. Even easier if you are good at most things and can learn something very quickly to a relatively good level.
Nobody ever got to the top without manipulating people, even someone like Bill Gates who gives all his money away to charity now, manipulated people ruthlessly to succeed at the start.
But, with age comes wisdom and knowing when to do it and when you need to check yourself and genuinely help someone with their weaknesses.
Most Helpful Girl
The word "manipulative" is loaded with negative connotations, but fact of the matter is, we're all manipulative. Almost every interaction that you have with another human being is subject to some form of manipulation, from both their end and yours.
It's how we've been socialized. From a young age, you've been taught to smile and be kind to others, even when you're not feeling smiley or kind. Why? Because treating others nicely improves their attitude towards you and increases your chances of getting what you want from them (which can be as simple as being treated nicely in return). In your school-age years, you learned that if you wanted your parents to agree to let you go out or have that sleepover, it was a better idea to wait until they were in a good mood to ask them (or, if you didn't have time to wait, to try to better their mood by doing your chores, saying "I love you", being nice to your sibling for once, etc.). As you got older, you learned that if you want that job in sales, you need to be amicable and convincing and bite your tongue when customers get on your nerves.
That's all manipulation. If you don't have some skill in being manipulative, you likely don't have good social skills either.
To that end, I am somewhat manipulative. I don't go to any great lengths, like trying to change people's beliefs and ideologies to ones that would suit me better. I don't try to "brainwash" people into being my mind slaves. I use manipulation simply as tool to get through my day-to-day life. If I wasn't manipulative, I'd be moaning to everyone about how much I'd rather not be at work, but at home. I'd probably wear a sign that says "please, don't talk to me. It makes me uncomfortable." And, I probably would have gone nowhere in my field, because a large part of my success is determined by knowing when to speak, what to say, and when to listen in order to elicit an honest response from the person that I am evaluating.