The Shameless Guide to Kissing Ass and Getting Paid

Kissing ass, sucking up, brown nosing.Kissing-Ass.jpg

We have lots of terms for trying to make someone like you, almost all of them dirty. It’s seen as a manipulative, shallow, and dishonest.

But damn if it isn’t effective.

If you master the art of charming people, everything becomes easier — making the sale, getting the promotion, keeping your job. You’ll make more money, create more friendships, and feel more secure.

The key is doing it right. Kissing ass has gotten a bad rap because so many people are bad at it. They’re like amateur magicians that the crowd boos because their tricks are obvious.

Unfortunately though, the technique is light on training materials. You can’t take Brown Nosing 101 in college or browse through the Sucking up section at the bookstore.

What we need is a guide for how to kiss ass effectively… which is why I’ve written one.

Ass Doesn’t Taste so Bad

The first step in learning to kiss ass effectively is to get rid of the bad taste in your mouth that comes just from thinking about it. If you’re disgusted by what you’re doing, you’ll never be able to do it well.

What’s so wrong about getting someone to like you? You’ve probably done it to get laid or talk your way out of a speeding ticket. If it works and doesn’t hurt anybody, then why not carry those skills over into business?

After all, most people like having their ass kissed, as long as the one doing the kissing is good at it. I know I do. We all like to be around people that make us feel better about ourselves. It’s only human.

So why feel guilty about it?

You’ve Got to like Asses

You can never become a top-notch ass kisser unless you genuinely like people. All people. Otherwise, they’ll be able to tell that you don’t really mean it, and they’ll hate you for trying to manipulate them.

How does one go about learning to like people?

Part of it is realizing that, whether you like it or not, you’re a lot like everyone else on this planet. You feel the same emotions, make the same mistakes, and have the same desire for people to love you anyway.

Another part is teaching yourself to see the good side of people. Work at it long enough, and you can find something you genuinely like about anyone, even if it’s only their talent for making you hate them.

Either way, if you’re going to kiss someone’s ass, you need to put yourself in the right state of mind. You need to like them, and they need to know it.

Don’t Overdo It

Second to disliking them, the worst mistake you can make when kissing someone’s ass is to overdo it. You want them to like you, so you give a compliment that obviously isn’t true or you shower them with too many compliments in a row.

It doesn’t work because people know when you’re lying.

If you walk in for an interview and immediately start complementing the furniture, family pictures, and everything else you can find, they’ll know what you’re doing, and they’ll know it’s dishonest. No one is that impressed.

Similarly, if your boss drives a piece of junk car, you’d be stupid to try and convince him that it’s the prettiest one you’ve ever seen. Compliment him on his frugality or disregard for what other people think, but don’t lie to him. He’s smarter than that.

The problem with overdoing it is that it insults people’s intelligence. You think you’re making them feel better, but in reality, you’re very sweetly telling them that you think they’re gullible enough to believe your nonsense. Don’t do it.

Instead, just be natural. If you see something you genuinely appreciate, complement it and move on. They’ll appreciate you noticing, even if it’s something simple.

Kissing Ass Takes Practice

The first time you kiss someone’s ass, you’ll probably do it wrong. Worse, since you’ve read this article, you’ll probably know it. You might be embarrassed, trip all over yourself, and feel horrible about how inept you are.

Accept it and move on.

Learning the fine art of ass kissing is like every other skill. It takes practice. The masters of the craft dedicate years to it, honing their skills of observation and delivery. And they make plenty of mistakes.

I recommend practicing on your relatives. Your mom, for instance, is morally obligated to like you, no matter how dishonest you are. Try throwing out a compliment every now and again. Once she gets over the shock, she’ll probably appreciate it, and you’ll get valuable practice.

You should also start with safe complements. Tell someone you like their shoes or their car. Don’t try to be clever. Just spit it out, saying something like “I really like those shoes,” and see what happens.

It takes time, but you’ll get a feel for how people will respond.

Use Your Skills to Your Advantage

Once you feel comfortable with your skills, put them to work to help you make more money. Here are some ideas:

  • Find something positive that your company is doing and tip off the press, using yourself as a source
  • When a coworker covers for you, send them a thank you note that says, “These days, not many people watch out for each other, and it means a lot that you would cover for me. Thanks for being a great human being.”
  • If a customer finds some genuine flaws with your product, tell them it’s the most insightful feedback you’ve heard in months and ask for their permission to pass it on to product development team
  • The next time your boss says something smart, ask him or her to repeat it and then write it down
  • If your company has an Employee of the Month Program or something like it, make a habit of nominating coworkers you notice doing something good

Do things like these on a regular basis, and you’ll notice that people are a little happier to see you. You might start getting invited to more parties, or people may start making a point to introduce you to other movers and shakers.

In the end, making people like you is no substitute for genuine talent, but it helps give you a chance to display that talent. For instance:

  • Your boss will start to pay more attention to you, making it more likely he or she will notice your achievements
  • Your coworkers will respond more positively to your ideas, making it more likely they’ll help you implement them
  • Your customers will enjoy spending time with you, making it easier for you to get sales appointments

None of those benefits will directly make you more money, but indirectly, they can add up to significant increases in your value to everyone around you. As your value increases, you’ll also have more “ammunition” when you ask for a promotion or raise.

Even more importantly, the higher you go in business, the more important it is for people to like you. The price of stock in publicly traded companies changes dramatically based on how much people like the CEO.

You can never get to that level without becoming a master ass kisser. Like it or not, that’s how the game is played.

If you’re reading this blog, then I already know you’re up to it. You’re one of the few that’s taking a genuine interest in learning the skills necessary to make more money. All by itself, that puts you well ahead of most other people out there.

If there’s anything at all I can do to help you, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always interested in talking with people that are rising to the top.

And you, my friend, are one of them.

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  1. Samantha says:

    Okay, I had to comment on this one. This is great!

    I despise the overuse of the word “ass” but I can’t deny that everyone knows EXACTLY what/who you’re talking about. The sections “Kissing Ass Takes Practice” and “Using Your Skills to Your Advantage” I find particularly insightful.

  2. Jon says:

    Thanks, Samantha. I knew using the word “ass” would offend some people, but it got you to comment, so I’m happy. 🙂

  3. Samantha says:

    Pfft… it wasn’t the word that got me to comment, it was the subject. (Lest some future reader think that word was key to getting a comment from me.)

    100 years ago, when I was a teenage girl, I read in a poll in a teen magazine wherein boys were asked what was the thing they found most attractive in a girl. The number 1 answer was that the girl like him first.

    When I got older, I found that people in general are predisposed to think positively about someone if they know that someone thinks positively about them. The reverse is also true: a person tends to feel negatively about someone they know feels negatively about them.

    So, how do you show a person that you want to think positively about you (your boss or client, for example) that you think positively about them? Your article touches on just how to do this, with genuine compliments and positive reactions, without overdoing of course. (The advice to practice on your mother was great!)

  4. Wow! Best blog post I EVER read! *kiss kiss!*

    Seriously, I thought it was great. I learned a lot of similar and related ideas from reading the 48 Laws of Power, which I thought was a great book.

  5. Another great post, you are on fire 🙂 (Stumbled)

  6. Headline of the week! — and real, actual, nutrient-filled content to back it up, no wonder you’re gathering such a keen following, Jon!

  7. […] bad at it. They’re like amateur magicians that the crowd boos because their tricks are obvious. Jon Morrow Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted […]

  8. […] Shamelessly. Of course, I’m not talking about writing a press release about how you got an A on your term […]

  9. The Chef says:

    Well I loved it, as a matter of fact, each and every post of yours :). How was that for a start huh?… Now it’s the turn of my boss and other colleagues at work.

  10. Good post! A couple books for folks who are seeking more food for thought along the same lines as this post are: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Micro Messaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words” by Stephen Young.

    Keep the posts coming Jon!


  11. […] Shamelessly. Of course, I’m not talking about writing a press release about how you got an A on your term […]

  12. […] If you don’t want it the straight way to build relationships then you learn to kiss ass from Jon. […]

  13. Ankita says:

    Thank you Jon,
    for I was amongst those who really hated this work…….but after reading your blog i realised it’s importance and got the reason why am i not having many freinds

  14. Leo says:

    I am in a new position and just beginning to work my way around politically within the structure where I work. Thanks for the good tips. I have a very keen intuition and even though I can identify the shit starters, I want to always have a leg up on them. Thanks.

    I remember the old but true adage” Keep your friends close but your enemies closer!”

    Its important to remember that becuase they are everywhere!

  15. GB says:

    Ass kissing don’t hurt anybody? What World do you live in moron? Ass kissing undermines hard work and people who have been taught and learned to have integrity. Hard work and dedication should be ALL you need to get a head in life, but ASS kissers like yourself make it difficult and thus society slowly looses its revere for integrity and honestly and other valuable attributes. Ass kissing is a shortcut and a short grave for the rest of the World. You have obviously been stricken by the disease called “stupidity” and I have the cure for your dumb ass!

  16. Amanda says:

    In response to GB, I agree somewhat with what you’re saying. However in business, to get noticed for the hard work you’re putting in, you have to brown nose a little. Don’t be quick to give your boss(es) too much credit with noticing hard work – most are too focused on the next meeting, the next deadline, etc., and fail to see the value of their staff (that’s everywhere!). It should be pointed out in this article, that ass-kissing only gets you so far – you have to back that up with real talent and skill if you want to continue forward. Good luck to all of you!

  17. christine wolf says:

    I think “butt kissing” is a real turn off. It smacks of insincerity, manipulation and just plain lying. If a person tries to kiss my butt they will be out the door no matter how much they try to ingratiate themselves to me. I can easily see through this ploy and don’t want this person near me. I am secure enough within myself to not need their compliments. Give me a genuine person which seems to be a rarity these days.

  18. Fred D says:

    Ha Ha – Excellent thanks Jon
    A very skilled advocacy of a somewhat despised practice, complete with tips and a “getting starting” guide…
    I loved it, subscribed to your blog & sent the link to a few friends.

  19. Jonny says:

    Okayy I normally don’t comment on lame shit.

    But this is an Exception!
    This wiil not help anyone. You must be stupid!!
    Hahaha And who specializes in kissing ass anyways??!?
    Only ppl who can’t get what they want without help or lowering themself down!
    Well i dont need this I don’t kiss ppl’s ASS they kiss MINE!!

  20. Mary says:

    You are so awesome. I’m so glad that I could find this. It’s so hard for those of us who are truthful, honest, & sincere to learn how to be fake & phoney. Your tips on how to be this way will be so very helpful in dealing with multiple-faced people. It will definitely teach me how to lower myself to their standards for 8 hours out of every day. I thought that I might have to take acting classes. Thank you for saving me the trouble. You are great!!! Thank you!

  21. Bend over, sweetie. I’m puckering as I type. I’ll give you the best ass kissin’ ever if you can send some hits to my blog.

    Actually, I’ll kiss it anyway, just for this fantastic article. LOVED IT!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I like the end of your article there!!It sounds like you’re kissing ass 🙂

  23. real says:

    keep it real!!!! don’t be an ass kisser, ass kissers are the lowest fakest scumb who cant do anything to move up in the world so they have to ass kiss!!!! fucken loosers!!!

  24. Feler says:

    let’s see how many people who are advocating “keeping it real” get to any serious money or success it’s not kissing ass it’s learning to like people that will make you a more likable person if you are more likable you’ll me noticed more of course if you have no talent and all ur good as is kissing ass then your fake if you have talent and your kissing ass you are ambitious

    remember you have to sincerely like or admire the person to kiss their ass or else it’ll be way too noticable

    haven’t you ever manipulated ur parents as a kid in order to get something from them?

    who really is 100% real?

  25. Liz says:

    I think calling what he is advocating “ass kissing” is a misnomer. Learning to get along with people, even people who are annoying as all get out is not “ass kissing”. Giving someone a heartfelt compliment is not “ass kissing”. Telling somebody you like their shoes when you really do is not “ass kissing”. Encouraging somebody is not “ass kissing”.

    The reason “ass kissing” sticks in peoples throats so badly is because we know that it is not the above items. The above items qualify as learning to be a genuinely mature, kind, wise person. “Ass kissing” is the person who looks around for people who can do something for them and butters them up. Genuinely kind people will try to spread a little cheer around just to make the world a better place. They will smile at the cashier who looks like she is having a hard day. They will tell the bus driver that they are grateful for the curb service. Just because. The ass kisser, on the other hand, is not genuine. The ass kisser is feigning kindness because they are counting on the recipient doing something for them in exchange for that kindness. They are giving to get. They are not giving out of a full heart. They are selfish people who are always mindful of what they are going to get out of the deal.

    I think that decent people know that and that is why this very word has such a strong reaction.

    I don’t think any but the truly curmudgeonly have a problem with the concept that being nice to people and trying to brighten up the world is a good thing. But don’t mistakenly call it “ass kissing”.

  26. Judith says:

    Everyone kisses ass at one time or another in there life, I know its helped me get where I am.

  27. Rater says:

    I cannot stand ass kissers. I say, to each his/her own. If it works for you, great. But how can an ass kisser look himself/herself in the mirror?

    I cannot kiss ass, especially if I despise the person.

  28. DJ says:

    I look at ass kissers no diferently than someone that “sleeps” their way to the top.

  29. Richard says:

    This post is ridiculous. There is absolutely no need to ass kiss; just being genuine and an effective worker is sufficient enough in any job environment. I pity ass kissers because it’s a shame they feel as if they have to stoop down that low to get what they want. Obviously they have no sense of pride, are insecure, and are manipulative. Usually after they get what they want, they discard whomever they were using and proceed to kiss the next person’s ass.

    I’ve had a few employees attempt to kiss my ass before and I deeply despised it. In fact, I called them out on what they were doing when I noticed that they were never genuinely interested. They always came from a shady salesman angle.

  30. Brandy says:

    I like this post. Think about it – most top employees/executives don’t do much work and are usually not that talented. Corporate America is in its current position due to the numerous ass-kissers who exist. I used to think that “keeping it real” was the way to achieve true success (making money), but the executives don’t want you keeping it real – they want you to come up with ways that will boost their positions, even if the methods are shallow. And at the end of a massive layoff – the ass-kissers stayed behind. While the “keeping it real” crew got cut. I’m going to pucker up and spread ’em wide for 2011 and see what results I get. ehehehehe! Ewww!

  31. Roxie says:

    Coming from the medical field I feel this applies there as well. I feel like I have the need to ass kiss due to lack of connections I have. My friend even admits she ass kisses all day everyday. I am quiet bad at it I have to say cause I’m really not interested in pleasing others I suppose. Lol I need to change cause if maybe I took that extra effort to compliment or w/e it might make them like me a little more…I tend to be too honest n blunt. QQ I hate that.

  32. Kobs says:

    Alas, I’ve discovered today that I’m a talented ass kisser!!!
    Nice piece, do keep it up

  33. ISRAEL CERRATO says:


  34. HI! I’m from the Philippines. I’m working in a BPO company. I tried 4 times in applying for a higher position but i was always rejected. I’m not so famous in our office. I only have few selected friends. I have the same value as the company and I think that the management has forgotten it. I want to be promoted because I know I can do it and be the best. I hate asskissing. I’m not comfortable on it. I’m not a good actor. Please help. Do I need to asskiss?

  35. bobby g says:

    I really need to learn this skill- i consider my self talented for the position that i have just been hired for- however my boss confides more to a Jr position holder within our field of work-i see their reactions with each other and know FAR more about the job than this no skill having puke-

    Dear God…please help me learn how to Kiss Ass effectively and sincerely i really need to get ahead in life

  36. Kellsg101 says:

    In college I was told that the ass that a ass-kisser is kissing is a hard-ass, which means that person goes through life being a dominant person standing out from the crowd and from the sell-outs. Never settle for less, believe me you don’t want to be labeled as a less-than, you will doing most of the work and getting the least credit for it. In bussiness be men, be women, just think about who do you think a CEO would want to take his or her place when they resign…..the sell-out or the dominant person that holds their ground. Did you know that Michael Jackson was a hard-ass?…coming from a relitive that worked his staging crew back in the days, he said Michael never settled for less, he would even argue with people more weathier than him….for example the Pepsi CEO. Michael always stood his ground and I think you have notice that. In conclusion never settle for less, always believe in your self.

  37. Sam416 says:

    I think people who kiss ass are pathetic and for people who do it or approve of it have no pride and have no self dignity.

  38. Sara says:

    The way you think about this depends on where you’re from. Where I’m from, people think you’re stupid, shy, or naive if you act real in any way because everyone acts fake here. I actually liked this article because it helped me understand the perspective of the people that live around me. Nonetheless, living life like that doesn’t work for some us. I’m one of those people that couldn’t be satisfied living like that.

  39. Halina says:

    To understand this post, you have to be in love. To have love for your fellow human, the wish to see only the best in your neighbor, and to hold the eternal hope that he/she will respond in kind to his/her neighbor. To not see you or I but we.

    What is wrong with showing an act of kindness, even if the recipient be your boss? Is he/she not a human being? Must your relationship be purely mercenary; i.e., you won’t do anything more if money is not involved? Try a little harder to act human and be grateful.

  40. bradford64 says:

    I despise people who “kiss ass”. I respect Dogs when they do it because it is a social function but when humans do it, it is only a pathetic reflection of their insecurity and their addmission that they aren’t good enough to succeed on their own. I would rather be public enemy Number 1 than to kiss someone else’s ass to gain favor. It is just CRAS.

  41. DG says:

    Even when done masterfully, I can tell when someone is just trying to get me to like them. It’s always hard to feel like I can trust that person to be honest with me, since getting me to like them is more important than honesty and even whether or not they like actually like me. Maybe all they are thinking about is how can they use me to get ahead themselves? Would someone like that help me get a leg up, if I needed it? In my experience, you certainly can’t count on it. And so, it amazes me that these tactics can really work. If you have any links to evidence that shows this is true, I’d be interested in looking at them.

  42. Sharper says:

    This goes against every moal fiber of my being, but I truly need to learn this “art” of puckering up. Not only for my career, but for my sanity to stay intact. How can one learn this art, yet still maintain their integrity and morality?

  43. Mr. No says:

    A truly competent boss knows who is kissing ass and who is just a genuinely friendly person. A competent person at any responsibility level knows this. Ass kissers operate in a sort of shadow power ladder. Sooner or later, some inept moron screws things up – and heads start rolling. All those ass kissers are sent packing or knocked down. Ass kissers are petty, shallow tools who are either too insecure or too inept to stand on their own genuinely valuable merits. Unless a whole company is screwed I rarely see them get past middle management. They are eventually dry, worn out shells because of their practices. When they leave or are fired no one remembers them. That’s because in the end they really didn’t contribute anything. Inept bosses who tolerate or encourage ass kissing are in the same boat. A business is a money making machine. Either the machine makes money or it fails. When failure happens either the company goes under or it is bought by a decent company that knows how to make money properly, and the ass kissers are the first to go. My suggestion for people is just be a good person, be loyal and honest. Be competent, while genuinely caring about your co-workers. Remember their names and families because you care – not because of what they can give you.

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