We are taking a break from the regularly scheduled blog to have a special presentation on a matter most dire! Actually, the following post is parody which is employing many points that I have discussed regarding influence. Today I want to take a humorous look at influence from another perspective. What perspective? A single man who is trying to break free from the most dire of straights – the friend zone!
Psych.DDouglas presents – “FROM FRIEND ZONE TO END ZONE!”
Hey you! YEAH YOU!
Are you a guy who tired of getting stuck in the friend zone? We’ve all been there before —-
Today we join Billy, a typically 1940s high school student who is trying to get his “main squeeze” to see that he is worthy of a date!
Daisy, “Hey Billy, I think you’re a nice guy and all…”
Billy, “AAWWwwe shucks Daisy, I reckon that’s the nicest thing any gal has said to me in a fortnight.”
Daisy, “…yeah, well I think you’re swell too. I just don’t think we should ruin such a good friendship is all.”
And then Billy turns to alcohol, drugs and a life of crime. I’ve seen it before folks, at least three times. So what can we do to make sure Billy doesn’t fall in the with wrong crowd after being slammed down one too many times?
Why he should use the seven principles of influence of course!
I know what you’re thinking. Those seven principles are just for salesman, or politicians, right? WRONG! They are for everyone, everywhere! If you ever want to change someone’s opinion about anything, these are the tools you will use! So let’s look at each seven in this situation.
(warning – the parody is about to say some pretty sleazy stuff- keep in mind it’s just a joke!!)
1. Contrast – There are two ways we can use contrast to help out Billy. The first is the most simplistic, and that is to be around other people who are less desirable than himself. When presenting himself to Daisy, he could easily point out people who are worse matches, Fred for example. Fred is definitely not a good match for Daisy, because Fred never brushes his teeth. Billy should avoid comparing himself to Grant, the star quarterback from his school with straight As, great looks, and a nice sports car! Only a scoundrel would employ the second method, though. The second part of contrast is the rebound. Billy can wait for Daisy to go through a rough break up with a guy who was a “total sleaze bag” and see that Billy is so much better in comparison. Let’s listen in on Billy attempting to use contrast.
Billy, “Say Daisy, I’m so glad you aren’t spending time with Bad-Boy George anymore. He sure was a mean kid.”
Daisy, “You said it Billy. You’re so much easier to get along with than George.”
Billy, “Ah thanks Daisy. Hey look, it’s stinky old Fred over there. Aren’t you glad I have such good hygiene, unlike Fred over there?”
Daisy, “I sure am!”
Atta boy, Billy! You’re well on your way to becoming quite the “player.”
2. Commitment/consistency – The foot in the door is sometimes all it takes. Billy is still having trouble keeping the attention of his crush, Daisy, so he has to try other tactics. This time he is going to attempt to start a small project with her that will eventually takes more and more of a time investment from her. Here’s the real trick – failure to go along with it would have to be reflected towards her self-esteem.
Billy – “Hey Daisy, did you want to work on fixing up our college applications together? We need to get some volunteer hours to make our applications stand out!”
Daisy – “Hey that’s not a bad idea.”
Billy just set up what seems like a simple task to pad their college applications, but let’s see what happens when they are in the soup kitchen towards the end of the shift.
Billy, “Say, Daisy?”
Daisy, “Yeah Billy?”
Billy, “I was talking to Mr. Roberts over there, and he tells me he needs a couple of ambitious kids to help out again next week. He says it sure would look good on our applications to be so community oriented.”
Daisy, “I suppose it couldn’t hurt.”
Billy, “Yeah, and I’ll be here too. We’ll have a swell time!”
Billy just scored two points, back to back there, folks. He was able to spend more time with Daisy, and make himself appear to be a really nice and caring guy. Why does this foot in the door matter so much? We’ll talk about it again with “Liking.”
3. Reciprocity – A small investment goes a long way, and thankfully, our boy Billy has this figured out. If we give something to someone, they feel as if they owe us something.
Billy, “Hey I made a copy of my notes for you in geography yesterday since you were out sick.”
Daisy, “Oh Billy, you shouldn’t have.”
Billy, “Think you could help me on my homework later on?”
Daisy, “By all means.”
Remember, he is trying to break through the threshold of friend zone. He cannot really just jump out and ask for a date out of the blue! Increase exposure for now Billy – Stay on course!
4. Social Proofing – Billy is still having trouble keeping the attention of his “main squeeze,” Daisy, so he needs to employ a few more tactics. He has at least two ways to start using social proofing. Careful now, Billy, this could blow up in your face!
Billy talks to one of Daisy’s friend’s named Jen. He tells Jen the situation and if she is sympathetic to getting Billy out of the friend zone, she can help with some social proofing. Here is what Billy would want Jen to say.
Jen, “Hey Daisy, I’ve been seeing you spend a lot of time with that swell fella. That one is definitely a keeper. I can’t remember his name though.”
Daisy, “Oh you mean Steven? I guess he’s alright.”
Jen, “No, not that thug. I mean that nice, handsome young man. Oh I’d love to have the eye of that nice boy. He’s so smart and talented. You should count yourself as lucky. Most girls never get to spend time with such nice guys.
Jen, “What’s the name… Wait, isn’t that Billy?”
Daisy, “Billy, No, we are just good friends.”
Jen, “But Daisy, what more could you ever ask for? He’s definitely the kind of guy all us girls would want.”
Billy did well in employing the help of Jen’s friend. Jen gave Daisy the idea that a lot of the girls are attracted to the qualities that this boy has. This makes it easier to reduce dissonance and start a relationship! This also plays into scarcity (a topic for later). What if this tactic fails? What if Jen is not able to help out Billy? Billy then engages plan b – the jerk maneuver (I highly recommend against doing it Billy!!)
Billy will attempt to make Daisy see him with other women. He will start to basically ignore Daisy and allow her to see that other women appreciate him (or at least appear to appreciate him). This will cause her to do one of two things. She will either decide that “wow maybe Billy is relationship material,” or “wow Billy is a big dirty flirt and I don’t even want him as a friend.” It’s a dangerous line to cross Billy!
5. Liking – Billy has been doing a good job keeping in touch with his friend Daisy, and this is the foundation for any strong relationship. Let’s look at the qualities of liking and how he can improve his chances.
Proximity – If you live in the same town, it’s a big plus. Since these two teens go to the same school, they are in close proximity.
Propinquity – Billy has been seeing her frequently already, so he has “high frequency of exposure” covered.
Similarity – Billy needs to make sure he points out all the things they have in common in subtle ways. This is best done by talking about music/movies/interests that they share on a frequent basis.
Mutual liking – This should be a no brainer for Billy. Daisy already likes him and he likes her, but he needs to change her idea of what kind of relationship they can have.
Attractiveness – This is a big one in relationships. This normally applies to physical appearance, but it also includes behavior and in some cases assets. Billy needs to play to his strengths, and use contrasts effects to lower his perceived weaknesses!
6. Authority – Now that Billy has gained the attention of his love interest, he needs to focus on those key assets that he has that she wants.
Billy, “Say Daisy, you know how you were always saying how you liked a guy who wasn’t afraid to do a little hard work?”
Billy, “You should come by the house this evening and see the new stuff we did to the house. We put in a new fence, rebuilt the shed, and fixed up the garden. It sure is swell. My folks let me do most of it alone, but they helped a bit with painting the fence.”
Daisy, “Gee whiz, Billy, I didn’t think you were such a hands-on kind of guy.”
Billy took a few moments to point out his expertise with a number of things by providing example. This is always much better than simply saying, “I’m a handyman.” Simply say, “last week I had to reinstall an oven, rebuild an engine, and reorganize the garage.” It works 100% of the time!! (no promises!)
7. Scarcity – Billy needs to be focus on those special skills he has, or combination of skills that he has, that make him especially unique. Or… he could go the “underhanded” route mentioned above…
Daisy, “Gee Billy, I’m not sure if we should really start dating.”
Billy, “Oh shucks, don’t say that Daisy. Just think about it. What is it you are after in a fella? Good looks, good hygiene, good grades, I’m always looking out for what’s best for you, we like so much of the same things, and well, every good relationship starts with a good connection doesn’t it?”
Daisy, “well maybe, it’s just I don’t have those feelings for you Billy.”
Billy, “Well I’d hoped you wouldn’t say, but think about it. The perfect combination of everything you are after. I’m not asking for the rest of your life, Daisy, just a chance. What do you say. Don’t you at least owe one of your best friend’s that much?”
Some of us may have been there before, having this exact conversation. Daisy will either stick with her original thought and reject him again. If rejected he will probably be very upset, but if he ensured to follow all the other rules of influence, she’ll likely say yes!
What about the scoundrel’s method of scarcity?
Daisy, “Hey Billy where have you been?”
Billy, “Oh you know. I’ve been spending time with Kelly. She’s real swell. I think she’s such a nice girl.”
Daisy, “Oh you stay away from Kelly. She’s no good for you.”
Billy, “Well, maybe. Kelly is so sweet to me. I think I may see what she is doing this weekend.”
Daisy, “Billy, you really shouldn’t.”
Billy, “Well in that case, maybe you would want to do something this weekend instead? Save me from the clutches of that awful mistress?”
It’s not a very strong play, I’d say, but it’s still a method of evoking scarcity. The goal of such a devious method is to make your availability an issue when it suddenly was not. If Daisy is now having to “fight” for Billy’s time, then justification of effort will come into play. That is, if I worked hard to gain something, then I will assume it was worth my time, otherwise I am foolish. If I am like other people, I tend to have biases that are self-serving, thus I am not going to let myself look silly.
Pro Tip – avoid that zone!
That’s right boys and girls, if you sense the friend zone is on the horizon (and you don’t want to be part of it), it’s actually better to cut and run. Does that sound harsh Billy?
Billy, “Ah shucks, it sure does.”
There, there Billy, stiff upper lip! A boy in your precarious position may elect to do this because of construct consistency.
Billy, “Construct who-sa-whats-it?”
It’s simple, Billy. The first impression you make with someone is often the one that sticks. Working to alter that perception of you takes a long long time. Just look at all the effort you had to put into using those 7 steps just to get Daisy to entertain the idea of having a date with you! That’s because you had been in the friend zone for such a long time that the construct for “Billy is a friend” was too strong. If the construct has not been there for very long, you can alter it easily. Remember Billy, a construct is just another word for the components that make up an idea. Daisy’s idea of you is, “friendly, nice, smart,” you see? Just components of what makes up your persona to her.
Billy, “Gee Mr. Narrator, why don’t I end up putting girls in the friend zone? They always seem to be putting me there.”
Ah, for once, a great question from Billy. Why is it that men are often subjected to the friend zone and women are not? Well, first of all, women can get friend zoned by men, it’s just uncommon. Why? It’s due to the way men and women interpret benign social interaction.
Billy, “Benign social interaction?”
Well, Billy, if Daisy came up to you before class started and asked about how your day went, what does that mean to you?
Billy, “Obviously she is interested in me since she’s paying attention to me!”
Oh no, not exactly. That’s the problem, folks! Most men typically misinterpret all benign social interactions as a sign of attraction from a female. Thus, it is hard for men to maintain a platonic relationship with a woman (which they find attractive) that is an “appropriate” match (while they are both single). Appropriate match really just refers to being near the same age group more so than most other factors.
Thus, it is very hard for a woman to end up in a man’s friend zone because attention that they get from this female is constantly being read as attraction. If the man is not attracted back, they tend to ignore this person, or actively push them away. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s what men tend to do.
Billy, “Golly, never thought of it that way.”
Of course you didn’t Billy, of course you didn’t.
****We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post*****
I hope you enjoyed Billy’s little presentation on the treachery of the friend zone! I wanted to take everything we had talked about and show how it worked from a different angle.
If nothing else, I hope it was an amusing read!