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(Social Smoothness) Include yourself in the negative frame to power-protect others

Ben: (shares a mistake about jumping to a conclusion based on personal biases)
Charlie: that's a good demonstration. You did just what everybody does, and I do, which is like (goes on to explain the potentially negative, disempowering frame)

You power-protect from a negative frame when:

  • You include yourself in it
  • You include a large number of people in it: potentially the whole human race. Works best if in parallel with "normalizing":
  • You "normalize it": "it's normal", "it's natural to feel that way", "it's just how humans are"

Do that, and you are more persuasive, maintain better rapport, and are generally more socially effective.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I agree that including oneself in a negative frame can be a great way to power-protect others.

And, at the same time, I also think it can be done quite poorly:

Reporter 1: "...and changing up your physique, I mean you look great (builds him up with a compliment) everybody wants to know what makes one -- what made you make a change?"

Hill: "I just decided one day I wanted to be healthier and I went inside a nutritionist's and that's what I did."

Reporter 2: "But, are you still considered the fat guy (negates the compliment and pulls him back down with the pre-frame that he was, at one point, considered the "fat guy"—which may or may not even be true) when you go to a party or anything? 'Cuz I run into that a whole lot, I'm the fat one (tries to include himself in the negative frame)."

Hill: [In a low voice] "OK."

Reporter 2: "So, does that -- are you the fat guy in Hollywood still (repeats the question and thread-expands on negative frame by stretching it to Hollywood)? Or, is everybody, like, look at you and they're like, 'Oh, wow,' you know, 'This is great and now you're healthy (tries to end question on a positive).'"

In this case, I don't think it was "done" at all, more like attempted.

  • He isolated the interviewee: the reporter tried to include himself in the negative frame by saying he's "also considered the 'fat one'", but doesn't realize the surrounding dynamics that isolate the interviewee
  • He kept it specific to the interviewee: the "still considered the fat one" makes it seem as if he had a well-known reputation for being overweight. And, the reporter keeps that reputation specific to the interviewee by leaving out a large number of people

As always, I'm open to any feedback on this, so if you disagree and want to share, let me know.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yeah, a negative frame is always a negative frame, so it must be dealt with accordingly.

a few considerations here:

  • The reporter is lower status and has little pull-up power: so the "inclusion" didn't matter much, because the actor didn't feel much pull in the companionship of a random guy who's even out of the picture
  • There was no previous rapport / friendship
  • Jonah already looked annoyed: compare to Ben, in a great mood and open-minded
  • The reporter doesn't execute it well: to do it properly, he should have started with himself first. Made it more humorous, lighter
Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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