Ingratiation is the process in which an individual seeks another’s approval. They can use many strategies, flattery being a main form. We do this to gain acceptance and love from those around us. It can also be the means to an end, that we are gaining approval for some other motive or gain.
In the movie, Despicable Me, Gru is seeking to earn the approval of the orphanage director. He needs the three orphans to execute his plan. When he doesn’t think things are going well in the interview, he resorts to flattery.
Gru uses flattery to gain the approval of the orphanage director. He seeks to compliment her, and make her like him. Even though in this scene he is actually insulting her, what matters is how she interprets it. Flattery only works if the person chooses to accept it. Gru was able to accomplish his goal by flattering this woman to get her approval. His use of ingratiation was a strategy to reach a larger goal.