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(Social Opportunity) Frame Control to Defend Your Friend

A quick case study on:

  • Frame control
  • Defending friends
  • Using power-dynamics skills to:
    • Squash the "bad"
    • Expand on the "good"

Moderator: (picks a bad question) first question that a lot of people have asked (terrible pre-frame, gives validity to the upcoming criticism) Ben looks tired, is he sleeping enough? (also a political mistake, considering Ben is his boss) I got this so many times (man, can you be more clueless)
Ben: nononono, it's because of... (says it's a misunderstanding from a previous podcast where there was an older guest in the show)
Charlie: nonono somebody also said to me that you looked tired (negates Ben's story, re-state and re-empowers the bad frame by power-borrowing from external source. This is also illogical because Charlie's exampe is of one single instance of Ben looking out of sorts to support a frame of Ben generally not looking good)
Ben: (self-effacing joke) I'm falling apart everyone
(Ben defends again, but then must accept the frame, self-joke that he's old, Charlie also jokes that Ben is old)

Now maybe Ben has an antifragile ego and doesn't care.

And he probably does have.

But few people have a 100% antifragile ego, so value-taking frames do hurt most people.

And even if it didn't at a personal level, it still devalues him to the people who are listening.

And even if nobody cares... You can still gain points by defending and supporting your friends.

And even if there is nothing to gain or lose, to expand on the positive and defend your friends is still a worthy goal and mindset, in my opinion.

Use Your Power & Skills to Defend Your Friends

What's the point of learning power dynamics?

Different people have different answers.
To some, it can serve the search for the "ultimate truth".

To me, that's nonsense when the "ultimate truth" doesn't even matter.
As this was the case.

The way I see it, reality is largely negotiable based on frame control (not infinitely, mind you, but largely).

In this case, what's "true" didn't matter.
I believe it's a much worthier goal than to spread positivity and to support and defend yourself, and those around you.

Ben probably looks tired because he wears contact lenses and those can be taxing on the eyes.
So independently of how well-rested or healthy you are, it can look like you're tired, sleepless, or generally not looking too good.

The mistakes or missed opportunities here:

1. Moderator: Avoid Value-Taking Threads

Avoid public questions that frame your friends -or boss- negatively.

Least of all, he didn't need to say "I've had this question many times".

Also because I've read several comments on that podcast -including the top ones from the interview they reference- and not a single time have I read anyone commenting that Ben looks tired.

And not a single asking if Ben slept enough.

So why picking some random few comments that expand on negatives?

Something this moderator also probably didn't grasp: people who ask questions that expand the negatives often are either clueless, or seeking to hurt others.

Those commenters weren't really asking a question: those comments were trying to hurt Ben, and the moderator gave them the opportunity and space to do it.

Which leads us back to a theme of this website: being naive to power dynamics doesn't make you good, it makes you easy to be played.

2. Charlie: Avoid Re-Instating A Value-Taking Frame, Let Your Friend Free

After Ben said it was a Joke, Charlie could have let it die there.

3. Charlie: Avoid Empowering A Value-Taking Frame


Reality is what you make it to be.

You can pick and choose what to share and what to say.

Who gives a f*ck about what "someone" said to Charlie.

Who is that unnamed "someone"?

Does he matter more than your friend who's here right now with you?

Some people have sent me anonymous messages to defame some other people I like.
Does that mean I should spread that hate and tell everyone about it?

Why should I spread that BS?
Fuck that "someone" who uses a nickname to expand on the negatives and undermine my friends.

Don't give space to haters -or clueless folks- to devalue your friend.

Opportunity: Defend Your Friends, Collect Social Credits, Expand On Positive

Now imagine the moderator had made the mistake.

What could have Charlie done to support his friend?

Something like this:

Moderator:  first question that a lot of people have asked (...)
Ben: nononono, it's because of...
Charlie: Yeah, Ben looks great. Next question?

Or given Ben the opportunity to expand and explain as he preferred.
For example:

Charlie: I think sometimes it might be the contact lenses, could that be
Ben: (explains, free to set his own narrative)
Charlie: right, right, makes sense. Next question...

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Next level:

defending your opponents when they're being unfairly criticized.

Look at this example from McCain:

Woman: I can't trust Obama, he's an Arab... (looks like she' going to unload a whole lot of nonsense)
McCain: No ma'am, he's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with

Agree or disagree with McCain, like him or not like him, you gotta respect the Eagle approach.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I do respect John McCain more after watching this video.

Todd Valentine Defends His Students

Todd: The first thing I do with guys is I take them out and interesting enough, I throw them kind of in the deep end and see what they do naturally well like right so ... (gets interrupted)

Interviewer: You must laugh a bit too yourself (frames him one-upping his own student which is not a good frame for him or his students)

Todd: Sometimes, they do some pretty interesting things. (agree first then redirect later)
I actually learn a lot from the crazy things they do wrong.
They make mistakes that I would have never thought of that I'm able to learn from them without making them myself.
(re-empowers the students by normalising the mistakes as something he would make himself and something he can learn from)

Interviewer: It probably helps you with women to watch how poorly other guys do with women. (uses the same frame)

(Other interviewer interjects with other topic)

Other interviewer: You need to join a reality show ...

Todd: It's pretty insane. And interesting enough, with my longer term students, we actually film them so I have my assistants go out and film them and I break down the footage. So I learn a lot from that as well. (changes the topic while framing mistakes in a positive way as learning opportunities for himself) 

Interviewer: Wait but doesn't that affect the way women treat them if they know they are on camera? (topic changed successfully)

Todd managed to re-frame "silly mistakes by students" to "interesting learning opportunities for himself" and get the interviewers interested in another topic.

He did this in a way that didn't break rapport with the interviewers, and the conversation continued on smoothly and remained upbeat.

Few interesting things here:

  • Taking the "blame" in a positive way - the mistakes are his learning opportunities instead of students making mistakes due to lack of skill
  • Takes control of the conversation - he remains calm, positive and spins up topics for the conversation to go in other directions
  • Changes the topic slightly till something clicks - he goes from talking about students in general to a more interesting topic of filming his longer-term students