Soul Talk: Speaking with Power Into the Lives of Others,Larry Crabb makes a similar statement in the context of working with individuals in counseling or discipling relationships. He says that people will either try to push or pull you into a position that validates them or their position. You have experienced this at least at the level where you have known that someone you are talking to is “fishing for a complement,” or you know that they are attempting to get a certain reaction from you.
But Crabb’s point is that this is going on at all time. He says that our reactions to people is data for us to understand them. He contends that our reactions to them are going to be similar to the reactions of other people and like the organization is data for us to explore. Why do we feel repelled? Why are we irritated? How is that functioning for the person with whom we are interacting?
If you are attempting to build into the life of another, awareness of this can be important for you. I would recommend both of these books highly.