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The Self-Amusing Dominance Style

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Added a new style of dominance to Power University: the self-amusing dominant man.

The example is this character here:

It overlaps a bit with the jester, but it's less about hogging the spotlight, a bit less humor, higher in power, and a bit higher in his ability to bond and connect as well.


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KellvoMatthew WhitewoodStefPower Duck
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And new power dynamics definition, by the way:

  • Aggressive push-pull

Attack first, assert dominance, then rebuild rapport.

Great technique, I've seen it used in real life more than once.
Can you spot when the man in the video uses it?


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Aggressive push-pull

That little change in order may seem for some as a small detail, yet the devil is in the details...

it seems to work so much better than the classical pull-push, it just leave people with a sweet aftertaste to crave and remember that comes as a resolution to social tension from someone they already respect as a force to be reckoned.

And how sweeter it is to get a kiss when you are expecting a hard slap in the face!

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Great analysis, Stef!

Indeed, to avoid breaking rapport too much it's far better to one-up and rebuild rapport, than the other way around.

And the power effect for push-puller is pretty much the same, if not greater.


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I think this guy would fit this, his name is Laurent Baffie. It's in french unfortunately. However, he's very funny, very quick. His jokes are all about misinterpreting and framing people how other see them or as they are. For instance if a guy looks very posh or is very posh, he'll make jokes about him being posh but in an indirect way. I was wondering how to defend against such a guy because:

  1. He has a very strong frame, he's actually very dominant. Both in character and it's also his territory and his job.
  2. You cannot really be pissed off because the context is a funny TV show and see above.
  3. What he says is actually funny and uses truth so it's difficult to do anything.

The responses:

  1. What most people do is laugh. He says tough things but actually he's not a bitter or negative guy deep down. So even though what he says can be mean, it's not coming from a place of hate, envy or jealousy. He's not actually racist or homophobic or sexist. That's why it's funny. It's also good to laugh at oneself for having some distance with oneself.
  2. Some agree and amplify: we already know that it is not the best answer due to staying within the frame of the joker.
  3. Rarely, people stay in his frame and reply back. Example: one of the guest has a funny haircut (like a poodle) so he makes a joke how she has a good dog-groomer (instead of a hairdresser). She replies: "Well, I'm sure he can do something for you", implying he has a bad haircut (and he's a little bit bald). That's the best defense I've seen.

I was trying how to change the frame but it's very difficult as he targets on people's weaknesses and does not reveal too much about himself. So he's very high in power.

What do you think would be the best defense with such a joker: high in power, quick and targetting on our weaknesses. Of course, here the context changes a lot. It's a funny guy supposed to make peopple laugh in a TV show. But we can meet people like that in our social lives. At work it's easier as we can always reframe it as being "unprofessional".

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Looks cool, I'm gonna have to watch it! Cheers.

One way to think of this is as low-yield, (supposedly) low-stakes combat under a largely friendly frame - sparring, if you will. Like any combat situation, the first line of defense is to take care of your weaknesses. It starts with inner work - addressing sore points, being self-aware, and building a better life in general. It's much easier to stay centered and in control when you honestly know that you're living your version of a good life, are able to admit your weaknesses and know you're taking action to grow as a person.

If that's taken care of, one way to not only defend but passively put pressure on him is to go stoic, unreactive and calm - in other words, apply the cold-blooded dominance style. Use minimal words, show that you are unmoved while nonverbally showing dominance (such as sprawling and calmly but firmly holding eye contact; more aggressively, partially turn away to show he's barely worthy of your attention). Than you reframe him as being manic, reactive to you, and much more invested in continuing the interaction than otherwise.

As for actively defending, one way is to simply own it, completely, seriously and without shame. For example, he makes fun of your hair; I would simply look him straight in the eye and say I like it that way. He'd probably either go for further attempts to throw me off my frame, in which case I hold firm by disagreeing and amplifying ('nah, it's totally rad!', while holding strong posture) or backtrack by saying it's a joke, which is a win. I'd of course deescalate after and make a joke back - it is, 'presumably', a friendly interaction.

And actively attacking, that's obvious. Like #3 does, counterattack; find a weakness of his own and, retaining the joking frame, pounce on it. If no obvious weakness shows itself and taking judge role is hard because of a power position, use defensive strategies to buy time and observe him until he overextends himself or reveals a weakness, than strike.

Finally, as John said in another thread, the desire to dominate others always comes from some form of weakness within. By the audience's reaction, I assume he's doing it largely to gain the attention of women, as well as validation in general. If you can find the weak point that he is using dominance to cover, you can hit him very hard indeed.

Of course, it's better in the long run to deescalate and enjoy the banter from a more equitable position - friends are preferable to enemies - but it definitely pays to know how to fight. It'd be totally cool to see you on there one day 🙂

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Great techniques by Kellvo.

Another couple more ideas:

  • Take a "no escalation, but not friend either" approach: when they get touchy, touch him back without looking at him in the eyes, as if to say "you're not overpowering me, and I'm not rolling over, I know your game"

This one is good because it denies them the "pull" right after the push.

Their power is push-pull, but if you deny the pull, then they need to decide: make an enemy (or at least lose a friend), or drop their game.

At that point, chances are that they will be extra friendly to avoid losing you. And in case they don't, then chances are high they will drop their game with you in the future because they know it's not working.

Example: help me find it

There was a great example of an American TV show host / comedian who invited two gamers on his show and was trying to do dominant push-pull but the male gamers was resisting him.

Tried to look for that video, but can't remember the comedian's name and couldn't pull it up.

  • Arch your lips up for a mild smile, without looking at him: as if to say "yeah, yeah, very, funny, but not really funny"

This is good in the case of John's example, when the guy has actually power for being a host.

Plus, he's being far away, so there is not much you can do physically.

That's a stoic way of showing fortitude and non-submission.
You're laughing just not to totally break rapport and because you're not taking it personally, but you also don't think his power moves are actually funny.

Maybe I'll do a video of myself doing this as I upgrade PU.

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Oh yeah, found it:

Kimmel is doing a lot of push-pull where at some points he pretends to be interested, only to then mock them.

You can see the girl is being more submissive and generally more accepting of his power moves, while the guy is being more resistant.

It culminates with Kimmel going for a physical push/pull where he pretends of being friendly, only to turn overpowering and deliver a last mocking "joke", and then laugh "together with them", as to end in one big pull (ie.: "friends on my dominant and mocking terms").
But the gamer guy resists it, sending signals of "we're not friends", and thus rejecting Kimme's pull part.

And notice how Kimmel ends up chasing him to get some friendly signals:

Kimmel: What is going on with you (= why aren't accepting my dominant push-pulls, can you please give me some friendly signals?)

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KellvoMatthew WhitewoodJohn FreemanStefnaathh12@gmail.comRiley ThomasSerena Irina
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Thanks for the wisdom, Kellvo! There are two sides of the coin: feeling good about oneself and owning one mistake's and being able to defend against a power move.

Thanks for the concept and concrete example, Lucio! Definitely a way to deny them the pull. It exposes the asshole move with little energy.

This type of dominance is quite common as it's the "I'm just joking" frame which gives a lot of power to the "joker" as he implies: "if you're not following along, it means you're not friendly or fun". So the reframe is: "the joke is not funny". But the power of Laurent Baffie is that he is actually VERY funny. So when the whole room is laughing, it's difficult to challenge him on the funniness of the joke without appearing butthurt or stern.

And by laughing along, you are implying that you agree with him. BTW Lucio, if you want to do an analysis, I'm sure you're looking forward to analyze the laughs of Joe Biden (vs Trump) which I thought were pretty weak. It's another topic anyway.

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Thanks for the video Lucio, it's very interesting! I don't think Kimmel was used to people being resistant to him, lol. Kinda sounded a bit afraid at the end too; it looks like Markiplier managed to disengage on his terms. The comments seem to notice Kimmel's power games and how Mark wasn't playing along too. I've got to watch the whole thing sometime.

John, thanks and your stuff is good too! Yeah I've seen a few people who use the joke and retreat behind the 'just joking' frame. Nothing like Kimmel, but the person I know who does it the most uses it either to cover up a potentially aggressive remark or adds it after a question, which seems like very submissive behavior. With Baffie, I'd probably show that I'm taking it in good stride, but remain calmer, less reactive and less engaged than him. I'd look to remain warm while showing dominant behavior to try to nonverbally saying something like:

'I know what's going on and I'm humoring you, but I'm bigger than this and have other things to do.' 

The tactics are a little tricky with me too though; I'd certainly welcome any input here.

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