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Lucio's journal

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Power is like a horse: you measure it at the finish line

Bel's recent journal entry nudged me to publish this.

On the exact same day, I had a very similar experience.

Back in Berlin after a cool motorbike trip, I was standing in line for groceries checkout.
The (tail)bag I had with me is a strange one: it has a long slit and you can only really open when it's laying flat on a surface (picture here):

Motorrad Hecktasche Bagtecs X30 Soziustasche erweiterbar 20-30Ltr schwarz

Knowing the culture/attitude and being able to read body language, I knew she was a "grumpy player" and knew my options:

  1. Ask her to help me and have her pull a power move on me: Place the bag at the end of the checkout, and ask the lady if she could move my groceries straight inside of the bag as I unloaded them from the cart. That would mean to "risk" that she'd complain, refuse, or be rude
  2. Don't ask, "spare myself" a power move, and waste time doing the extra step of work: Waste much more time unloading the groceries, have her place them on the exit side of the checkout, and then awkwardly load them again inside the bag

That's the power of the grumpy player by the way: they leverage people's fear of confrontation, or fear of being (socially) aggressed, so they can maintain some scraps of power, control, and independence -a very selfish goal and value-taking goal in their case-.
The solution is often the same: ask anyway.
Let them be the asshole and refuse, at the very least (and then you can potentially escalate). Don't self-reject yourself.

Note that her task requires only barely a little more effort, but saves everyone quite some good time -I win and I'm a happier customer, all the other customers in line win, the shop wins... Only at a very small cost for her. But if she was doing half a good job, it should be no cost to her and she should be happy to be able to help a customer-.

So I asked her if she could please help me and place the grocery straight inside the bag.
She first asked me "what" in a loud and annoyed tone, her way of trying to make me backtrack and drop my request. I repeated my request instead while placing my open bag at the end of the checkout -"assuming the compliance".
She rolled her eyes, exhaled to publicly display her exasperation, and proceeded to do it with the most annoyed attitude.

I added that "this way we save time" to partially re-empower myself, stay in the lead, and also see if she'd bite and take a step back.

She didn't.
So if you look at the exchange between me and her only, then she disempowered me.

But if you look at the full picture, then I "won" in spite of the disempowerment because I got what I wanted, and saved time -the ultimate and most important goal-.

This is to remind ourselves that it's often better to "take the risk of being disempowered" -barely a risk with an antifragile ego- but focus on the ultimate goal, rather than focusing on the immediate power moves, but losing sight of the ultimate goal.

Ali Scarlett, John Freeman and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanKavalierBel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Waiting and observing... And Assessing

A few times I said that whenever I spot a power move or a potential power move I just make a mental note and observe.

Indeed, we also said often here that one of the most important benefits of power awareness is not so much in always doing and reacting, but in learning to understand people and characters.

This one to me is a power move, potential beginning of a game:

With "I will go" he leaves me no option to decide for a different solution -slightly disempowering-.

And "good quality solution" with "good quality components" makes me think of a setup for a bigger billing :).

There is also a previous yellow flag with a recording that went in PU (he made a joke/one-up about the billing increasing for another issue he found and fixed in the previous appointment).
But there is also a green flag since he came on Easter and helped me out big time/

So, so far, it still does not require any intervention.

If the bill is not that high, then it won't break the bank.
And if indeed it's a good quality solution, then this is "fair marketing" and I'm cool with a higher price for quality.

In brief: many games need nothing from you, just simple awareness.

Then you can keep monitoring and see if it's something you need to intervene (or a relationship you need to break).
And if it's "not too bad", then you never need to do anything, just never get too close to that person (you want the people who are closest to you to be "full-green folks").

Ali Scarlett, John Freeman and Kavalier have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanKavalier
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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