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Prove yourself trap questions

Prove yourself trap questions are those which people use to make you chase for information when it was them who wanted to give information in the first place.

Responding either Yes or No or any forms of it will still operate within their frame of proving yourself to them.

Most of these prove yourself questions will be based on a positive quality so telling no will paint you in a bad light.

example :-

Them :- We are looking for someone very particular.

You :- ok/alright/what is it?

Them :- I will tell you but first are you open-minded/Confident/adventurous/etc…..

You :- Yes (here you end up proving yourself)

You :- No (You put yourself in a bad light)

possible responses: -

You :- I am not going to play along with this childishness.

You :- it’s upto you if you want to speak about it.

What are your thoughts about this?

Looks like a setup for judge dynamic, they demand you to state that you have some quality so you agree and now it's up to them to decide if you are fitting it or not.
Like they will say their plan or proposal and if you gonna have some problems or reject it they can say "Didn't you say you are adventurous?", this may be a way to make you more agreeable to a weak deal because you feel pressure to not look "close-minded" or "scared".

Them :- We are looking for someone very particular.

You:- Like?

Them :- I will tell you but first are you open-minded/Confident/adventurous/etc….. ( A frame that we look for open-minded/confident people )

You:- Why, is it risky? ( "This is sketchy" frame )

Them :- Just confirm if you are open-minded/Confident/adventurous so we can tell you ( They pressure on their frame )

You:- I will look at your proposal fairly, let's get to the point. ( You reject their frame, also you will be the judge of the proposal, instead of them being judge of your qualities ).

In a nutshell, you point to weirdness of asking such questions, you defend against judge move with judge move. It makes them look like they have something to hide because instead of telling you from the beginning they beat around the bush like "I will tell you, but promise you won't get angry".

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanTransitioned

Good one, DGX37.

Yes, it's both a judge setup and an "I'm the prize, chase me"  setup.

I think there are some similar case studies in PU.

A general good approach is to simply not play the game -which is what PU goes for-.

One way of doing that is by saying something with a very non-committal tone and expression like "it really depends what we're talking about man".

Prevent rather than cure

However, we had a similar situation before where you can see already at the beginning where this is going.

Look at this:

Them :- We are looking for someone very particular (<------ this is ALREADY a set-up question that disempowers you. Intervene HERE rather than later)

You :- ok/alright/what is it? (<------ fell for it)

You already disempowered yourself at this point because you're already elected them as the judges and higher power party.

Look how a more power-aware person would check that early on and never even put himself in a one-down position:

Them :- We are looking for someone very particular.

You :- That's good man, it's important to me that we are a good match.

Of course, the exact words also depend on the situation.

If it's a job interview, then you can use that to showcase that you already read their job description very well, so you also self-frame as prepared.

And then, you say that you're also looking for a great employer -"1:1, ball back in the middle" you say in Italian-.

John Freeman, Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
John FreemanKavalierBel
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Hello Growfast,

I like DGX37 approach and I think Lucio nailed it. It keeps you as en equal party. You both are choosers.

If it would get to the “prove yourself point” (are you adventurous…) I would answer with:

“It depends” or “It depends on the situation” with a smile as not to evade the question but because the question itself is not clear for me to provide a clear answer.  So yeah it’s a game.

I would then say if they ask “it depends on what?”: “it depends what we’re talking about: what situation exactly?”.

I think it’s fair of them to ask for an answer, to judge you. It’s the right dynamics.

However you can judge them back or get more intel: “why? How adventurous was the last person on the job?” “Blablablah” “so what are your expectations?”

And then you could say: “for me it’s important to have an employer who’s supportive.” So you also set your expectations without challenging them back (as in “are you supportive?”) which would make you play games. By voicing their expectations they opened the door to you setting your expectations. So they gave you the opportunity to do so.

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