One simple trick to get what you want…

…as well as to effectively apologize and get away with causing inconveniences to others.

Just remember this: people are addicted to justifications. Call it ‘justification bias’ if you like. People want reasons. People want to hear your ‘because‘.

⇒ If you want something from someone, just add ‘because‘ to your request.
⇒ Likewise, if you expect someone might get upset over something you did, just add ‘because…’

Most importantly: what you say after ‘because’ can be anything, from an informative justification, to a justification that tells nothing new, or one that is even absurd!


How can you be sure this simple trick works?
Three things should harden your confidence in this trick. They are:

1) Science
Researcher Ellen Langer from Harvard University noticed that when she asked to skip the line for using a copying machine, she was hardly ever allowed to do so when she failed to add a justification AFTER requesting to skip the line. But when she added a justification after her request, she was allowed to almost always skip the line! Bizarrely, whether the given reason added unknown information that truly justified the request (“…because I am in a hurry”) or just rephrased the request (“…because I want to make some copies), both got her to skip the line.

2) Past experience
Think back of two types of different instances where you were asked to do something; those times in which you were not given a reason, and other times in which you were given a reason.
The times someone asked you in the middle of something: “Can you please do this for me?”, you may look back and see how you more often said “no” to the request, or even forgot about the request altogether. And if you are one of those rare people who say “Yes” to every request, I am sure you can recall instances in which you asked others for help and got declined. Guess what? In most of those instances, you didn’t add a reason after asking for something.
And in reverse, think back of the times you did something for someone else who asked you to do a favor, or someone did a favor for you after you asked. In most of those instances, probably a simple reason was given after the request.

And think back of times a flight, train, or date was delayed. When you were told “Your flight/train is delayed”, or a date told you “I will be late” without further explanation, this most likely felt a little less easy to you as the times when you were given a reason (“delayed because of…”), even if that reason failed to add any useful information (“…because of some technical difficulties”; “because I was unable to get here any earlier”).

3)  Intentional experience
Go out and try it!
want


How to apply this info to get what you want:

To make sure another will arrive in time for the meeting
* “Make sure to be there at the designated time, because…”
“…I have other obligations later that day that I cannot move” → this is an informative justification
“…that is what we agreed on” → notice that this justification does not add any new info to the request, yet it doesn’t sound any less genuine.
“…today is Saturday” → absurd

To arrange a second date
* “I would like to meet again, because…”
“…we could do that activity we talked about” (go to the swimming pool, go try that ice cream place, go feed the ducks, go on a hike, go to that cool bar, try karaoke, etc…) → informative
“…I like to see you again” → no new info
“…today is Saturday” → absurd

To share the sexual experience you haven’t had yet
* “I like to [have a threesome with you and another woman/ feel like what is to have anal sex with you / you to swallow / etc…], because …”
“…it makes me feel you truly want me happy in a way that you know matters a lot to me” → informative
“…in this phase of the relationship having my sexual fantasies fulfilled together with you makes me feel you really care” → informative
“…it turns me on” → adds no info that is not already implicit in the request itself
“…I really like it” → adds no info
“…today is Saturday” → absurd
!!! Notice that in sex, when you use a justification that adds no info and is very brief, it often sounds way better and is more easy to digest for your partner and accommodate to than, a justification that is too detailed and elaborate.
Also notice that absurd reasons leave room for interpretation, and allows the one you are asking something to come up with an interpretation that motivates them to accommodate without having to spell out anything and avoid sounding demanding. (E.g., “Oh, (s)he means we have already been together for a while and (s)he want to see how serious I am about us. I better do this!”) Moreover, the humour in it takes away any possibility of falsely feeling pressured.

To do an activity together with your girlfriend/boyfriend
* “I like to [go to that one movie I really want to see with you/ go on a hike with you/ enjoy your company while I am doing my thing and you are doing yours/ etc…], because …”
             “…I think you will really enjoy the experience” → informative
             “…I want this to become a memory we share” → informative
             “…it makes me feel you care about me” → informative
             “… I’d love to”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd

To sell something to someone
* “It really will benefit you to buy this product, because…”
             “…it can do [X,Y,Z], is hard to find for such a good price, and there is nothing quite like it” → informative
             “… you will be happy once you have it”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd

To encourage someone to make a deadline
* “Make sure to make the deadline on this, because…”
             “…it will allow you to make the other deadline which is really important to your future” → informative
             “… this is the final date you are expected to have it ready”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd


How to apply this info to apologize:

For being late
* “I am sorry. I am late because…”
“…I didn’t plan out well the time needed to get here” → informative
“…make it in time” → adds no new info
“…today is Saturday” → absurd

To decline a second date
* “I will not meet you again for a date, because…”
“…I just realized I am not ready for seeing someone again” → informative
“…I just don’t want you to get feelings for me, as I am pretty sure I will not have any feelings for you” → informative
“… something tells me not to” → this justification does not add any new info to the request, yet it doesn’t sound any less genuine.

To decline a sexual favor
* “I will not [lick you / finger you / fuck you ], because …”
“…I have had the experience once too often that I felt really shitty after willingly pleasing a girl, only to find out she was a hypocrite who showed disgust about my semen and my pleasure, yet wouldn’t take it if I reacted with similar disgust to her body juices and to pleasing her. I don’t want to repeat that experience, so from now on I first want to see how far a girl is willing to go to fulfill my needs, before I allow myself to fulfill hers” → informative
“…in this phase of the relationship I am not ready to do that with you” → informative
“…I just don’t want to” → adds no info that is not already implicit in the request itself
“…I don’t like it” → absurd: every person and every relationship  of any sort is different, the same action can feel bad with one person and good with another, or even bad with the same person on one day, and good with the same person another day.
“…today is Saturday” → absurd
!!! Notice that in sex, when you use a justification that adds no info and is very brief, it often sounds way better and is more easy to digest for your partner and accommodate to than, a justification that is too detailed and elaborate.
Also notice that absurd reasons leave room for interpretation, and allows the one you are refusing something to come up with an interpretation that they will accept without you having to spell out something and without sounding disgusted. (E.g., “Oh, (s)he means right now is not a good time, but maybe later we will do it! If I still want it, I better respond calmly so I don’t screw up my chance for later!”) Moreover, the humour in it takes reduces the blow of the rejection.

To refuse doing an activity together with your girlfriend/boyfriend
* “I will not [go to that one movie you really want to see with me/ go on a hike with you/ enjoy your company while I am doing my thing and you are doing yours/ etc…], because …”
             “…I will not really enjoy it and I don’t want to ruin your joy when you see I am bored” → informative
             “…I value other things we can do together more” → informative
             “…it will make me feel you pressured me into it if I do it now” → informative
             “… I just don’t want to”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd

To avoid buying into something someone is trying to sell you
* “I will not buy this product, because…”
             “…it cannot do what I want, I can find it at a better price, and there are plenty of products exactly like this one that I can easily get my hands on” → informative
             “… I just don’t want to buy it”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd

For not making a deadline
* “I am sorry. I missed the deadline, because…”
             “…I didn’t see the genuine urgency in it” → informative
             “…I didn’t get to it yet”  → adds no info
             “… today is Saturday” → absurd

apology


Word of caution!
Justifications work like miracles, whether they are informative, non-informative or absurd. They work when you want to get something from someone, as well as when you have to apologize. It should go without saying this should be used to the benefit of both people involved, not just your own interests at the expense of the interests of the other. Only use this when you notice people get to fulfill their interests at the expense of yours, and you want to change that and move towards a mutually beneficial interaction.

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