but it's impractical to assume that all of our desires can or should be openly communicated. many of them are subconscious to begin with, and shouldn't everyone have a right to privacy? i don't really want to tell everyone all of my desires, nor do i really want to hear everyone else's.
and to return to the path metaphor - ultimately, i believe, it is each individual's responsibility to stay on their own path, regardless of what influences them externally. it is our individual duty to not take action that intentionally causes harm to others, but there is no moral obligation not to influence others otherwise.
so if we're going for a definition of manipulation as covert behavior with the express purpose of harming another, then yes, i am against it.
if it's just covert behavior for purposes that do not include harming someone else, i have no problem with it.