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How to Get Someone to Talk

I'm an obsessive quantified self junkie with a love of new gadgets and a hatred of inaccuracy, pseudo science, and platitudes.

So you want to get someone to talk, huh? Good for you, Fancy Interrogation Pants. This can certainly be arranged. As you may imagine, there are many, many ways to make someone talk. Tweak the scenario just right, and you can get even the most secretive creatures to sing like a canary.

I know what you're thinking: "Oh! Oh! Let's talk torture!! Torture!!"

Oh, we'll talk torture, honey. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Believe it or not, there are quite a few ways to make someone talk- torture included -and we'll discuss them here. By the time you've finished reading, you'll have enough lip-loosening tricks to sink an entire fleet.

You will find these methods quite convenient and versatile- most can be used anywhere from an elementary school playground to a bunker-based interrogation room. Enjoy.

Know What to Ask and Ask It

The most common and embarrassing mistake made in the game of making someone talk involves not knowing what to ask. People go to great lengths to get information, and then completely flub the opportunity once their opponents finally open up.

Yes yes, it's about the journey, not the destination, but when it comes to getting information, you really have to keep your priorities straight. So before you even begin to consider strategies for getting someone to share a secret, you'll have to be sure you know exactly what secret you want to be revealed.

Once you have done your homework, consider the extent to which you'll actually have to employ drastic measures to get your information. Do you really have to make an effort here, or can you just ask?

Believe it or not, folks are much more open than you think they might be. And believe it or not, people are way more cowardly about asking direct questions than one might expect.

Nine times out of ten, the information you need from someone can be obtained by the simple act of asking the said person about the issue in question directly. The only thing stopping you is a stifling level of cowardice and impotence.

Play Nice

Though it is rather fun to be all rough and tough and intimidating, coercing someone into talking isn't all that productive. When you push someone into a corner, he or she is bound to put his/her guard up. As soon as you put someone on the defensive, you've already shot yourself in the foot.

If at all possible, you should try to get information from people by lulling them into an (albeit false) sense of security. Gain their trust. Make it clear you're on their side. Paint each others' toenails, if that's what it takes.

You will be amazed by how much information you can coax out of someone once you have been deemed non-threatening and trustworthy. Yes, such relationships of trust take time to develop, but it can take just as long to break someone who doesn't trust you- if you are lucky enough to gain access to said person.

So swallow that pride and make some frenemies, compadre. It is the most effective way to go. When you feel really gross about it, just pretend to be Sidney Bristow on some crazy under-cover mission. It'll be fun!

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Only Bond Girls Make THIS Man Talk

Use Sex as Leverage!

Like I said, you can get much farther, information-wise, by playing nice than by playing rough, and what play is nicer than sexy time, right kids?

Let us consider the Bond Case. James Bond has been in lots of situations where folks want him to talk. In many of these situations, people shout at him loudly- in menacing tones, even! Does he talk? No!! Sometimes, they resort to violence, even torture. Does he talk? No! (Well . . . actually yes, but only in witticisms).

When does James Bond spill the beans? When he lets his guard down. When does he let his guard down? When he has the sexy time! Think about it. The only time when real information really gets passed on to the evil folks is when James Bond gets some Evil Bond Girl Action.

Such wisdom is by no means limited to Bond films. Consider all the other great spy movies and shows out there! When daring agents aren't kicking major arse, they're lulling their enemies into a false sense of security with their hotness. I mean, gosh, was that not what 90% of the plot in Alias? It's like . . . common protocol.

What's the lesson here? Use sex to disarm people to make them talk (or just to take them out and get the intel on your own).

Note: I'm a perfectly moral being. I don't advise you to use sex as a manipulative weapon. Unless the person you wish to manipulate is hot. Then please, go for it.

Oh look! A hipster fight! Oh yeah, where did you mention you were last night?

Oh look! A hipster fight! Oh yeah, where did you mention you were last night?

Catch 'em Off Guard

Obviously the whole point of developing friendly relationships with your opponent is to catch said information-holder with his or her guard down. But what if you don't have time to develop rapport or trust? Don't worry, you can always resort to distraction.

If you can manage to get someone thinking along a different line of thought and operating within a different schema (one, ideally, in which they are not concerned with guarding information), you will be more likely to get this person to dish.

The key to getting someone to talk by catching him or her off guard is a sudden shift in conversation. One moment, you're drinking and laughing like crazy, the next you slip (amidst various other questions) a casual, off-hand query, and before you know it, the cat's out of the bag!

The main weakness to this tactic is that, unless your opponent is particularly hammered, you will only have one chance to catch him or her off guard before inciting suspicion. So be stealthy, quiet, and casual—and shoot to kill!

Go Quid Pro Quo

If your opponent is too savvy or cold-hearted to be lulled into a false sense of security with fake friendship, and too-ugly to be worth the coercion-via-sex approach, your next best bet for getting those beans to spill involves a little quid pro quo.

Hopefully you will have something that your information-hoarding frenemy needs. Perhaps it is money. Perhaps it is a limited edition Beanie Baby. Whatever it is, you've got to find your opponent's carrot and dangle it for all it's worth. Bribery, after all, makes the world go round, never mind all those silly laws.

If the carrot doesn't work, go for the stick. I'm talking blackmail. It's so fun; so cinematic! And let's face it, each and every human on this earth has a skeleton or two hanging in the closet. Heck, I've got a whole crypt locked away in my flat.

Finding sensitive information might cost you, but your opponent's information in exchange for your silence shall certainly be worth a little extra expense (which, honestly, is lower these days than it ever was before, considering how much can be obtained via the internet).

Now for the Fun Part: Torture!

When all else fails, torture remains. I know what you're thinking: "Why choose the most fun method as a last resort???"

Well sonny, it simply ain't that effective.

And here's a second big letdown: physical torture is not nearly as effective as psychological torment. I know, I know, I just totally burst your bubble. I'm sorry. Really. But since we're talking torture, let's at least touch on the easiest and effective methods:

Sleep Deprivation and Exhaustion

One of the most tried and true methods of torture involves forcing detainees into a state of extreme exhaustion via physical exsertion and sleep deprivation.

Though this proposition may seem daunting, don't worry. If you're a mother of a newborn, just unload your baby on the victim for a couple of days. They'll be begging to tell you everything they know in no time flat.

The DMV - democratizing torture

The DMV - democratizing torture

Sensory Deprivation and Depersonalization

These are two additional effective psychological torture methods. Both sound very fancy, and I'll admit that most of the bigwigs pull out the big guns with special cells and trained professionals for this kind of thing, but luckily for you, anyone can be subjected to both forms of torment quite easily.

Simply send your victim to the DMV.


Believe it or not, music can be used as a weapon. Even the United States government has been known to use certain songs to intimidate and torture poor, doomed individuals. If you're not sure which songs to start with, consider these little ditties used by the US (and other countries) as torture devices in various bases in Iraq and Afghanistan:

  • "Dirty" by Christina Aquilera: Oh. Brutal. And a common weapon yielded in Guantanamo Bay
  • "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen: Another Gitmo classic. Your opponent won't last more than 15 minutes
  • "Anything" by Barry Manilow: Actually used by the NZ-based town of Christchurch to drive away local hooligans
  • "Shoot to Thrill" or "Hells Bells" by AC/DC: Sure, they're fun to listen to the first time, but play these on a loop and even you will want to divulge secrets- just in a vain attempt to drown out the cacophony (Note: these songs also have decent track records when used as Somali pirate repellant)
  • "These Boots Were MAde for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra: I love this song. But apparently the FBI thinks it is strong enough to intimidate scary cult leaders like David Koresh
  • "I Love You" by Barney the Dinosaur: Only use on your worst of enemies. This will cause permanent damage and should only be used as a last resort

Surely after perusing this list, you will have realized just how serious torture is. Such tactics are wielded at a great risk. If your opponent is not too damaged by your methods to speak, he or she will certainly never be the same after you've coaxed out the information via violence.

So consider the alternate methods outlined above. They're far more fun - and you just might have an easier time.

Go For It!

No two people, or situations are alike, so the sorts of tactics you shall have to employ to make someone talk shall vary widely. In all likelihood, all you shall need to do is ask someone directly what you need to know. If that fails, get buddy-buddy, use sex, catch people off-guard, bribe, or blackmail your opponent into a divulgence... or utilize torture.

Share Your Methods!

This guide is all about sharing information, so do your part and pitch in! What do you do to make people talk? Share your intel in the comments below!

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