Give your opponent what he wants
We have forgotten about this fundamental principle of the philosophy of the game.
The power of this principle can be observed by looking at its opposite. No worse result could you get than by consistently attempting to deny your opponent what he wants! It's the fast lane to bankruptcy.
Naturally it is understood that you take more elsewhere. Being soft is possible since the go board is broad.
Another way to state this proverb is "Don't push a boat against the water;" and the hidden part that is not normally stated is "just tilt it a little so it heads towards a rock."
As a game that has so many factors to think through before deciding on a move, different players tend to pay more attentions on different factors. Thus, when your opponent is making a move, let her get what she wants locally and you take the move that is better globally.
For an 30 kyu example, if your opponent is trying to get some small territories in the begining of a game by crawling along the second line (in 19x19 board), simply let her do it. She is happy and thinks that she is gaining territories, while you know that you are building up thickness that is worth much more.
For a related proverb, see "Make a feint to the east while attacking in the west".