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Definitive dictionary of power

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Quote from Ali Scarlett on March 4, 2021, 2:28 pm

Dropping a note here to gather feedback on the term: "frame isolating".

Based on this thread: "It's Just You" Technique to Disagree or Distance from Someone's Opinion.

Thank you again, Matthew, for starting that thread!

So you mean instead of calling "it's just you" technique, to call it "frame isolating"?

I think it's moving in the right direction, and "it's just you" could go in the "AKA" for ease of quick comprehension.

Maybe "frame individualization"?

The frame reference I'm not too convinced of though.
It is about frame control indeed, but it's closer to the concept of authority / judge in my opinion (the goal is to go from higher authority and judge "what you do / say is bad" to "that's not based on any higher truth, it's just your opinion").

Something like "isolate and conquer"?

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Lucio: Something like "isolate and conquer"?

The name sounds accurate to the dynamics of what the technique does. Yet, it feels a bit too on the competitive side due to the "conquer".

Maybe even a slight or atypical change such as "isolate and press" might achieve the same result while keeping the collaborative mindset in mind. That's as in, to press the frame's authority downward and to press the conversation forward after isolating their frame in order to maintain a collaborative relationship.

Lucio: Maybe "frame individualization"?

I like that as well. Possibly better than the ideas that might come from the "isolate and XYZ" idea.

Other possibilities might be:

  • frame separation
  • frame singling

Even with those other possibilities, "frame individualization" is growing on me the more I say it. It feels like it belongs in the dictionary for its straightforwardness and ease of comprehension once explained.

If we wanted to keep both, "isolate and press" might be the strategy and frame individualization the technique used to achieve that strategy.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Added as "frame individualization", thank you so much Ali, super helpful!

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Recently, my mind kept crossing Lucio's note in this thread:

  • Make your value-giving offer more real: "lunch is on me" (instead of "here's a free PDF")

For situations where you need to reveal, surface, or explain the value of a high-opacity offer, perhaps we should have a name for that action/process.

I see this a lot in networking email exchanges. The networker has a social currency that can help the target connection but must explain how that currency is valuable to them because it's very niche, uncommon, or complex (such as the SEO example in PU). Otherwise, the value will be overlooked.

So, how about we create a name for this. Perhaps:

  • Social-credit revealing
  • Social-credit disclosure
  • Social-credit surfacing
  • Social-credit uncovering
  • Social-credit opacity-shifting

My personal favorite is "social-credit revealing". Straight-forward, to the point, and, for the most part, self-explanatory.

Is this addition valuable?

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Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Ali,

Yeah, I think that's an important definition that explains an important concept, and it makes sense to give it a name.

Added it now, and linked to your post.
Thank man!

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Some important new definitions:

  • Crying wolf:

a technique several people have used on this forum. You generally want to avoid it as it makes you look, for lack of better words, like a bitch.

  • Bad credit awarding

To exaggerate or to outright make up the extent that a person will award social credit if a certain action or favor is performed.
Once the action is performed, the manipulator will then either quickly forget, or renege on his promise to pay back.

Bad credit is a form of social exchange manipulation.
It can be achieved with an outright lie -direct exchange talk-, credit inflating -"you will save my life", or indirectly by exaggerating the severity of one's own situation -"crying wolf"-.
"Crying wolf" indirectly says "I'm in such a bad situation, that if you help me, you will have a big credit with me".
Albeit people can then remember and either be grateful or practically pack that debt, most wolf-criers cry as part of a low-power, manipulative approach to social exchanges and they never really pay back.

  • Judge credit awarding:

to persuade others to act while providing emotional rewards -approval, compliments, public praise, etc.-, or by stopping negative emotional punishments -disapproval, criticism, avoidance, etc.-.

This is the judge role within social exchanges.
Rather than give back anything concrete, the judge can prod others into action through emotional rewards and punishments alone.
Women can sometimes use this technique with men and within relationships.
As a rule of thumb, watch out for people who use judge roles and seek judge frames within social exchanges: it's often a manipulative approach.

Example: "if you can do this for me, I will love you for ever".
Inverse psychology can also be used. For example "no way anyone could ever do this", which implies that if you do it, you're uniquely awesome, awesome and you will get the judge full emotional rewards.

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Love those new definitions, thanks for the awesome additions, Lucio!

  • Bad credit awarding

When I first read this name, I thought "bad" was in reference to the morality and ethics. The "credit" let me know this is about social exchange manipulation, but "good" and "bad" translates in my head as "right" and "wrong".

Perhaps a better name might be:

  • Poor credit awarding

I like this because it works as a double meaning that helps the term self-explain itself more.

The "poor" refers to the credit itself being poor. And, it also refers to the person awarding the credit possibly being "poor"(low-power) hence why they resort to these manipulations to make up for their lack of ability (power) to provide "strong" credit.

I'd love to hear feedback from other members on this as well since everyone will be benefiting from this new addition to the dictionary. What do you guys think?

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Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Ali, thank you for weighing in man, how you call things gets little attention but it's very important.

A bad name -pun not intended- makes it more difficult for people to understand, retain, and even apply the information, while a good name makes it easier to do all those things.

I picked "bad" while looking for more parallels with financial markets and economics.
"Bad credit" is an expression, and "bad check" is a check that bounces and cannot be cashed in. That's why I went for "bad".

But I realize:

  1. "Bad" is such a widespread term that people won't necessarily link it to monetary exchanges
  2. Checks are probably getting less and less common (never even used one myself), so the link is losing power with time

So another option to maintain that parallel:

  • Fraudulent credit: "fraudulent" is used often in monetary exchanges, and "financial fraud" is also an expression


  • Manipulative credit awarding: very easy to understand and the word "manipulation" immediately warns people of the value-taking nature of the technique. But we'd lose the parallel with monetary exchanges


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I like fraudulent credit.
Though I haven't thought about this in detail.

Something intuitive in parallel to financial scams to me would be the Nigerian scams, a.k.a. Advance-fee scams.
They promise you a big sum of money so that they can ask you for a small sum upfront.

In the social capital context, "you will save my life" implies that you can spend 5 minutes to help the person but get the social capital equivalent of saving a person's life.

Do you mean fraudulent credit awarding by any chance?

This is a piece from a sales script that Matthew shared with me. It sparked an idea for a new definition.

This example is of a salesman trying to sell walnuts. In this part of his sales process, he's going for the close:

Prospect: (objection) "Twenty cases? No, that's too much."

Salesman: "Ok. I really don’t want to see you without these nuts. I’m telling you it’s crazy. I can lock you in for 1 case, it’s still (the "still" reminds them they're still losing money and might've been more persuasive if siwtched out with "only") a 10% markup. Don’t be the only guy without these (social proof technique: everyone else is either getting these or has these already). Squeeze in just (the "just" here after a clear objection sounds like justifying, might've been more persuasive if switched out with "only") one case, I can still get you a 10% discount, it’s RS 5,760, that’s RS 1,600 profit in your pocket every single month. And, I have a display here, I can throw in a free cardboard display (no credit-revealing on why this free cardboard display is valuable to them, it guesses their WIIFT and assumes they need it). That’s comes to RS 5,760, Ok? [pause] What’s the best address to send the invoice? (power-neglecting: takes away the other side's freedom to say "no")."

What I think the salesman could have done better:

  • He social-credit inflates: instead of reframing for win-win by credit-revealing more of the value of these nuts, the salesman says something along the lines of, "I really don't want to see you without these nuts, so I'll give you a 10% discount." And, to me, that makes it feel like he's saying, "Well, normally after an objection like that I would leave, but I really want you to have these, so I'll make an exception for you." That's easily annoying for anyone who sees through that game.
  • Sloppy social proofing: instead of providing some form of tangible or real proof that these nuts are hot stuff, he simply sneaks into his sentence "don't be the only guy without these". And, personally, it feels like a desperate attempt to close me on these nuts. Even some of the least power-aware folks out there might see through that play—more likely referring to it as FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • He guesses the prospect's WIIFM: he says he'll throw in a free cardboard display, but depending on the situation, there may be no need for one. And, the salesman doesn't engage in any credit-revealing—explaining why that free board would be valuable—so it feels like a social exchange manipulation. In my opinion, it feels like the salesman is trying to increase his social capital to get to the close by "sweetening the deal" even though that value could be worthless. And, that's not fair to me.

Definition 1: Guessing Someone's WIIFT

Lucio mentioned he's not a huge fan of people guessing his WIIFM. But, I think guessing someone's WIIFT is OK in my opinion.

When you're dealing with a high-quality, independent individual, it's not uncommon to be unsure of what you can give them that would be useful. They've made it so far in life that they have less need of people. So, that's why putting yourself in that person's shoes helps you get an idea of what you can give that would increase your social capital. Still, that idea would be a best guess.

What I think is wrong, rapport-breaking, and often unfair is jumping to conclusions. That's why instead of saying "guessing my WIIFM" I'd like to create the definition "credit pre-supposing". As in, presupposing (assuming) that the credit (the value) you offer is valuable to the receiver with no proof.

Definition 2: Power-Neglecting

You may notice I used that term above.

Here, we talk a lot about power-protecting. Such as when a guy basically ordered Lucio to leave him a review. Not a very good case of power-protecting, and possibly a great case of power-neglecting (neglecting to protect or acknowledge Lucio's power as a high-quality individual and the one with the final say).

*Note: This is referred to in the dictionary already as "power-taking". Open to hearing what resonates with you guys more.

Other definitions we haven't fully agreed on yet include:

  • Fraudulent credit awarding (= to exaggerate or to outright make up the extent that a person will award social credit if a certain action or favor is performed. Once the action is performed, the manipulator will then either quickly forget, or renege on his promise to pay back.)
  • Frame charging (= a technique against frame individualization commonly used by your typical smart alec. It involves casually turbocharging your frame with sentences like 'the consensus is…', 'research proves', etc. etc. in order to frame your original frame as the ultimate scientific fact.)
  • Social hit and run (= "Who asks a question, gets an answer, and then disappears? Is it a value taker, or someone who seeks balanced exchanges? Asking and disappearing is the equivalent of a social hit and run.")
  • Trojan horse value (= not unlike the trojan horse question technique, in the social exchange, it would be when you give someone value that looks great on the surface, but actually ends up costing them if they're not careful, power dynamics aware, or are just easily manipulable.)

I would like to find a way to change "trojan horse value" to a term relative to monetary exchanges. But, I think the trojan horse analogy perfectly describes the dynamics.

Big thank you to Matthew for the script and the term "fraudulent credit awarding", I really like it!

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