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Countering Covert Power Moves: If They Hide Behind Humour, Make Fun of Them

Me: Hey man!

Him: sup dude?? (pretends that he doesn't know I'm welcoming him and Telegram notifies me when my friend joins)

Me: You can't join Telegram without me knowing (call him out subtly)

Him: of course not
but i never expected that

Me: Telegram messages a person's contacts when that person joins Telegram

Him: i know man (surfaces his pretension)
but i was happy living with the illusion you were paying attention to my joining (frames himself as the higher status person as I am following him)

Me: Oh what made you realise (surfacing again or giving rope)

Him: hahahaha I'm pulling your leg man (hides behind joking frame)
I've messaged you on signal too
is that any good?

Me: You can pull my leg but you will not steal my shoe 😉 (indirectly says I'll not let you go too far while playing with the humour frame)
I should get signal as well
Everyone is fighting for monopoly in this messaging world (change topic away from the welcome phase of the conversation)

Him: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (replies to "you can pull my leg" remark)
indeed man indeed!!
I really don't like their monopolies.

Me: Maybe we will cycle through evolution and I will tie a letter to a pigeon and send it to you

Him: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

From this exchange, I'm thinking that I can respond to someone hiding behind the "humour" frame with another humour frame.
Maybe with a bit of sarcasm as well.

Him: I'm pulling your leg man.

Me: You can pull my leg but you will not steal my shoe. (frames him as a kid trying to pull people's legs and steal their shoes)

Or if he hides behind the simple "I'm joking":

Him: I'm joking man

Me: Not too bad man, you should try standup comedy

Zen Mauri has reacted to this post.
Zen Mauri

Hey Matthew,

I have a very different read of this exchange.

"Sup dude" was a standard "hello" back.

And this:

Him: but i was happy living with the illusion you were paying attention to my joining (frames himself as the higher status person as I am following him)

He doesn't frame himself as superior, he frames himself as someone hoping you were paying attention, it's a compliment, it's empowering to you.

The rest went well.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Same interpretation as Lucio. I hope this helps.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

"Sup dude" was a standard "hello" back.

He puts the question marks at the back, which I interpreted this to be a different kind of hello.
Usually, people say "hello" without the question marks.
Is it normal to put question marks when you greet someone?
I have not seen this happen before.

Him: but i was happy living with the illusion you were paying attention to my joining (frames himself as the higher status person as I am following him)

He doesn't frame himself as superior, he frames himself as someone hoping you were paying attention, it's a compliment, it's empowering to you.

I was thinking that paying attention would mean I am following his lead.
Like I'm the follower and he is the leader.
I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly.

Isn't this similar to

I'm glad that you have been following my work.

I may be getting this whole thing wrong.

The usual warning here (I should put it in my signature):

I wasn't in the situation as it happened, I don't know the person and his general character/behavior, I don't know previous interactions, etc. etc.
So my view is limited.

That being said, no, I don't think it was a one-up power move that empowered him and disempowered you.

I think it was the opposite.

I was happy living with the illusion you were paying attention to my joining

=

I was illuding myself you would pay attention, and that made me happy

=

You paying attention to me makes me happy

See now what he's giving you?
He's giving you judge powers.

Your attention was an emotional reward that has the power to make him happy -or, by extension, unhappy when absent-.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The usual warning here (I should put it in my signature):

Power University has taught me to think critically as well.
Thanks to that, Lucio & other forum participants, and a reminder is always good to put things in perspective.

Thanks a lot for bringing this perspective man.
If not for this, I may have thought that my friend was pulling power moves on me.
Looks like I probably have interpreted the situation wrong.
(We never really know as Lucio says, and I will have to evaluate this further by myself)

Somehow I find this non-intuitive to understand.
It could be the arguably more complex sentence.

If this is the case, I should balance the relationship as well.

Me: I'm always happy to catch up with you as well!

The Other Remark to Put Things in Perspective

I'm glad that you have been following my work.

I'm thinking that this is different because following someone's work means you find his work valuable.
Then again, I realised this depends on the status of the 2 individuals.

If a higher-status person said this to a lower-status person, then it would be a value-adding compliment as well.
Because it suggests that the higher-status person is giving some influence to the lower-status person.
And he is being warm and friendly.

Whereas, if this is more of an equal footing between 2 people, this could be viewed more as a power move.
Or, if a lower-status person said this to a higher-status person, it could be seen as power scalping.

Again, I'm not very sure about the dynamics here.
Maybe the whole context of the situation is needed.

Supp man? = What is up man? = How are you?

It is a greeting, a friendly greeting from an equal.

If this is the case, I should balance the relationship as well.

I think that is a good idea. He was being cool with you in this exchange. Treating him as he treated you is only fair.

I think you're over-thinking this. It seems to me you are on the lookout, thinking: "Is this guy trying to one-up me?" Sometimes the answer is just "No, he isn't".

There is such a thing as equals I believe.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Supp man? = What is up man? = How are you?

It is a greeting, a friendly greeting from an equal.

Thanks man, I did not know that this is what it meant.
I thought "Supp man?" = "Hello man?"

I think you're over-thinking this. It seems to me you are on the lookout, thinking: "Is this guy trying to one-up me?" Sometimes the answer is just "No, he isn't".

I am on the lookout with this person.
He has used covert aggression on me before.
I find that people mix friendly messages with covert aggression sometimes.
I think now I have actively worked on my skills so he is treating me better.

That is all in the past.
He is friendly now, and thanks to John & Lucio for helping me out with this.
I can adopt a more friendly attitude with this person.

I think now I have actively worked on my skills so he is treating me better.

Yes. To me this is according to the following framework: we're animals. As such, we try to acquire as much as we can. If people around us will let themselves be dominated, we will dominate them (in most cases). I do it, you do it, everyone does it. Now, we can abstain from such behavior. That means: going to a higher level of awareness to cooperate further. So if you appear weaker, you will be treated as such. If you appear stronger, you will be treated as such. Everybody wants to align with the stronger individuals (friendly/submissive behavior) and nobody wants to align with the weaker individual (dominant/aggressive behavior). (Nobody as in "not desirable"). When you become stronger, people treat you better. And you also do the same with people around you. That's what people do.

I can adopt a more friendly attitude with this person.

I think you can, I'll be writing on this topic soon.

You can be strong and kind. That's the plan.

He is friendly now, and thanks to John & Lucio for helping me out with this.

You're welcome!

Yes. To me this is according to the following framework: we're animals. As such, we try to acquire as much as we can. If people around us will let themselves be dominated, we will dominate them (in most cases). I do it, you do it, everyone does it. Now, we can abstain from such behavior. That means: going to a higher level of awareness to cooperate further. So if you appear weaker, you will be treated as such. If you appear stronger, you will be treated as such.

Yes, that's a great point and deserves a quote.

People's behavior around you changes when you start behaving/talking/defending/frame controlling in better and higher-power fashion.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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