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Using the judge role before fielding a request - "Appreciate your help!"

Hi guys,

There is another case study I did around this topic along with this thread that explains the dynamics. This situation just happened today and I'd love to share it. So, without further ado, let's get into it:

While working, I received a message on my phone. Since my phone has been giving issues, I received this message nine minutes after it was sent.

I've been having issues with my phone for a while now which is what prompted me to get it rebooted at one of my cellphone carrier's locations. As a result, my phone is basically a brand new phone since the reboot worked as a "system reset" that wiped everything.

So, now, I'm looking at this message thinking to myself, "OK, this person knows my name, but who is this and why do they think they can ask me for anything?" The system reboot wiped out all of my contacts, so this message came across as a random number (AKA: total stranger) looking for handouts.

It starts out saying "can you" which empowers me to say "no". That's the first thing I notice and a good sign.

Then, I see "huge favor". That means this favor is worth a lot to this person, which is great. That means that if I agree to give the value this person is asking for, I will get a lot of social credit for it because the favor (value) is huge to them. And, if this person believes in win-win relationships, I can field a request of my own for "huge" value back. But, I'm also aware of a few things:

  • This person suggested the size of the value they're asking for (huge value), but not the size of the gratitude they would show if the request was fulfilled (will I get huge gratitude in return?)
  • If this favor is so huge, do I have the power to do it?

So, I read further to see what exactly this person is asking for.

A survey. That doesn't sound so bad, but it also makes it seem like this message is coming from a scammer. At the same time, I've never seen a scammer expend so much social effort before for one favor. Usually, they spam my phone with messages pretending to know me (pretending to be doing me a favor) along with a link to pick up my "free gift" or get in on how he or she is now making $10k per month in the pandemic after losing their job. This sender was different. This sender sent pictures. I keep reading.

Sender: "I'm trying to get these surveys done and only have 15 minutes left."

Remember, I received this message nine minutes late. If this person is telling the truth, I only have six minutes to do this "huge" favor and potentially increase my social bank account with this person by a huge amount. So, I'm already feeling what Cialdini would've called the principle of urgency take effect within me.

And, judging from that emoji (that just screams nervousness :), they're feeling it too. And, that only makes this favor even more valuable if I can and decide to pull it off in time.

Also, notice this person use the plural version of the word: surveys. More than one? So, you want me to drop everything I'm doing so you, a complete and total stranger, can benefit from this huge favor (which is really like multiple favors framed as one)? Yea, I'd better be reading what I get out of this real soon.

Instead, this person states what's in it for them:

Sender: "It's a new agency I'm trying to establish a relationship with."

And, instead of moving to win-win (i.e. "It's a new agency I'm trying to establish a relationship with which could benefit both of us since..."), she hints at the disappointment she'll feel if this move "fails" and emphasizes that she's in this position because of the failure of someone else (therefore, I need to pick up that person's slack?)

Where Is The Judge Role, Ali?

Well, that's why I named this thread the way I did. It's not exactly there.

The problem is the nervousness emoji. That emoji hints at how important this is to them. So, when you combine that with stating how another person failed to do what you wanted, it feels like you're judging their actions as being unworthy or disappointing. And, when you combine that with stating that you don't want to fail after explaining that I have the power to determine whether or not you succeed (just like this other person had that power), it almost feels like you're setting up the situation so you can guilt-trip me if I say no.

It feels like a case similar to when passive-aggressives are non-committal in that they'll make it seem like you don't have to do what they want (in this case, a quick "can you"), but if you don't they'll sulk. And, this person has set up the situation to where they can do a lot of sulking (communicates this is very important to them because it's such a "huge" favor).

For more on the covert judge power dynamics, check out this thread.

So, We Continue...

Picking up where we left off, even though this person didn't state what's in it for me, you may notice I still put a WIIFT win label in the screenshot:

Sender: "It's about 5 minutes...."

And, that's because of what a former mentor (who's a networking expert themself) taught me a couple of years ago.

She said that when you're connecting with higher-value individuals and you do a cold-reach out to them, they're thinking two things when they open your message: What does this person want and how long is this going to take?

So, in a way, by addressing how long this request will take, you're preserving my interests since, if I agree to this favor, I don't want to start working on it and find out it will take me two hours when I was under the impression it would only take me twenty minutes.

That being said, this person then begins justifying why their ask is small, which isn't the most powerful move. And, that's because by throwing in "just", it makes it seem like you didn't give me an estimate of how long it would take to preserve my interests. You did it to justify why I should give you what you want. And, since this is also justifying, you're coming across as submissive.

To me, this sudden submissiveness makes this person seem more like they're leaning towards "begging" for what they want (by justifying why they should get it) instead of powerfully stating what they want and then finding a way to make it a win-win. This means, if I'm not smart about this, this could end up as a win-lose. (With me doing all the losing :).

*Note: All this person had to do here was switch from the word "just" to the word "only" to come across as more powerful and like more of a win-win collaborator.

Then, this person follows up with a WIIFT fail, sending me a picture of two options for completing the survey like this. A better way that would have better protected my interests is to have simply texted me the URL link so I can open the survey with one tap.

So, now I need to clarify who this is so I can know if this is really a total stranger, or if there is some rapport built up and this is a person I know operates within a collaborative, win-win frame. As it turns out, it's a friend named M (at least, that's what we'll call her ;), who is a great collaborator. And, she has sent me multiple bookings for my acting career, so that explains what made her bring up the word "model" and the agency relationship.

It's implied that this would be a win-win. Another relationship with another agency for her means more bookings for me if she agrees to continue forwarding me roles. Still, if she's not going to openly or directly state that, then I'll have to negotiate for what I want later to make sure I get my value back somehow, some way. Not unlike the high-power assertive.

Ultimately, I give her what she wants:

And, I empower her to engage in social-credit erasing. And, that's because if she decides to say "yes" and gives me social credit, it takes that off of the table. So, when I negotiate for what I want in return for this favor, there's no denying that you already got what you wanted because you even said so. And, that puts me in a better position to get value back since the only thing I might have to deal with at that point is debt-erasing. And, I doubted she would do that since I know her so well to be good at establishing and following through on win-win frames.

The Judge Is Pleased

And, this circles back to my point about the judge role. I'm wondering if I lost a couple of social power points in this interaction since now that the judge is pleased, the judge rewards with compliments: "You're the best".

I engage in honest exchange talk, which is a risk, but an opportunity for me. I wanted to test out my commitment to my new mindsets:

  • "I am my own judge" (= if she doesn't like my choice to communicate and negotiate for what I want using "honest change talk" that's fine. That doesn't give her the right or authority to judge me negatively for it because I am my own judge) 
  • "I’m in charge of my behavior others are in charge of theirs" (= If my behavior means engaging in honest exchange talk and her behavior as a response is to judge or react negatively, that's her choice and potentially has nothing to do with me because she, as her own woman/person, is in charge of her own behavior)

And, it worked :).

M: "I am always here for ya ;)" (= I'm happy to provide you with value in the future)

M: "I appreciate you doing those" (Those? I've only ever done one, and this is the first. Implies there may be more asks from her for more value in the future)

M: "I know it's longer than necessary" (= I understand you gave me your time which is valuable and got nothing in return this time)

It feels like the last part communicates she understands that this wasn't a win-win (at least, not yet :).

And, a little extra for you guys who are interested in how the interaction fully ended:

And, as I'm typing this, I just received another text from her:

M: "🤗 You definitely did (accepts my frames)! Barely got that done in time (emphasizes my social credit as being real and legitmate). As for the no show girl... I'm going to need to cool off before I actually get ahold of her 😂. By the way! I can't remember if I gave you the date for the competition! It's June 20th"

*Note: Notice the judge truly was disappointed in this other person for not pulling through (i.e. "I'm going to need to cool off before I actually get ahold of her."). And, possibly, would have been disappointed in me as well had I said "no".

The reason I say, "Emphasizes my social credit as being real and legitimate," is because she's already given me so much gratitude. So, for her to say she "barely got this done in time" reminds me of the exact opposite of social credit erasing: "it might be helpful somehow".

This can almost come across as her social-credit inflating my social credit, which isn't the most common in social exchanges since that also inflates your social debt. So, I don't want to go so far as to say that it's social-credit inflating, hence my word choice in the screenshot. But, if you guys think that's the case, I'm always open to learning.

And, she tops it off by reminding me of an acting competition that I won. A few months ago, she offered to bring me back to this competition to meet with all of the casting directors, directors, producers, agents, managers, etc., etc., without having to audition or compete since I've already won, we're good friends, and she considers me a value-adding individual.

A great offer that, unluckily, didn't work out due to COVID. So, it seems she's already thinking of how she can add value back by reminding me of an environment where she has a lot of value to add (social currencies that are easier to market/offer to me within that environment).

Perhaps, this year will be different in terms of my ability to make it to this event. Lucio is right about one thing, that vaccine truly can't come soon enough :).


I really wish I could have made the screenshots bigger for you guys. Unluckily, using the Ctrl + Zoom and the "+" sign didn't work this time around.

If you have any thoughts on the judge dynamics, please feel free to share. I'm curious to hear what you guys think!

Nice one, Ali.

I'm going to add a few links to your backgrounds on the upcoming stickied threads.

Ali: Where Is The Judge Role, Ali?
Well, that's why I named this thread the way I did. It's not exactly there.

Ehehe that made me laugh, as I opened the thread I was just thinking to write "I wouldn't exactly call it a judge role in this case, but more like... ", and then I got to that part 😀

Ali: And, I empower her to engage in social-credit erasing.

The sentence was "does that work for you".

It's a very good move that also works as a reminder of "I've done this for you, now admit it was helpful".

So yes, you're right, you empower people to erase any credit if the action wasn't really helpful to them. And if the action was helpful to them, then you empower yourself to "thread expand" and bring that value to the surface, and "make it official", so to speak.

Ali: And, this circles back to my point about the judge role. I'm wondering if I lost a couple of social power points in this interaction since now that the judge is pleased, the judge rewards with compliments: "You're the best".

Personally, no, I don't think so.

It was a bit of a judge power move, yes, good call.
But it was a positive judge to begin with, and it's also an (hyperbolic) way of saying "thank you". And by further expanding on the "you've done me a favor thread", she's also giving you full credit.
As a matter of fact, we might argue this is a case of "credit inflating" but in your favor (maybe it's worth coming up with a specific name for one)

I'd personally consider anything similar as a positive move. The person who does it is socially smart/aware (good), quite high in power (potentially good), and gives you full credit (great).

  • Honest exchange talk, pros & risks

I have to say, you used a really funny way of going open exchange talk.
I think one of the examples of "honest exchange talk" here is that line from "The Godfather, but I hadn't thought of actually using that exact line as a humorous line to accomplish the same. But it's a great move, well though!

In general, and personally, when the favor is small, I would skip the honest exchange talk, as well as skipping it when the relationship is already good.
Otherwise, the risk of doing too much honest exchange talk is that you can come across as what we called here some times ago "social bean counter".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for the feedback, Lucio.

Lucio: "As a matter of fact, we might argue this is a case of "credit inflating" but in your favor (maybe it's worth coming up with a specific name for one)..."

I might call it "social-credit enhancing" in that it didn't follow the standard social-credit inflating structures:

  • The favor you did for me changed my life
  • You only did this favor for me, it was a special offer
  • Everyone wants this favor done for them and you did it for me

Yet, it still worked as a way of adding to (enhancing) the social-credit I gave. So, when it doesn't follow the standard social-credit inflating schematic, I might refer to it as social-credit enhancing.

In terms of the fact that she enhanced my social credit instead of me, I might call that reverse social-credit enhancing/inflating. Since, when we think "reverse", we think "opposite" and, in this case, it was the opposite side that did the social-credit enhancing/inflating for me.

What do you think?


BTW, I'm leaning more toward "inverse" right now since it's more grammatically correct and flows better: inverse social-credit inflating/enhancing.

Definition: Inverse (= "something that is the opposite or reverse of something else.")

All great examples, Ali.
Quote from Ali Scarlett on January 8, 2021, 2:12 am

BTW, I'm leaning more toward "inverse" right now since it's more grammatically correct and flows better: inverse social-credit inflating/enhancing.

Yeah, I like that too.

I'm thinking about situations in which the "inverse" part might be less intuitive though.

There are situations in which the credit is not just shared and computed between just two people.

For example, this is a great move for leaders. Imagine the leader wants to encourage group cohesion and group contribution.
So he might say:

Tom: How about we do X
Leader
: That's such a great idea man, I love it, I'd have never thought about it.
(towards the rest of the team) What do you guys think?

Now everyone feels like their contributions are very highly valued, and are far more likely to collaborate.

Or for example, the team leader might stand up in front of the company, and say loud and clear:

Leader: This was an idea from Tom, a true game-changer, big applause to Tom, please.

This is both credit-reassignment (such as, while people might think it was all the team's leader credit, he re-assigns it to the right person), plus, when he says "a true game-changer", he might (positively) inflate Tom's credit.

Tom's credit though is a bit harder to collect in practical terms, since the beneficiary is the "group", or the "company".
Tom does get a major status boost though, so there is still a lot of value for him.

So I'm also thinking of something along the lines of "positive credit inflating" / "pro-social credit inflating".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Overall, I thought that the interaction went quite well and smooth.
I've never seen that honest exchange line deployed in an actual interaction too.

I don't really like the nervousness emoji as well.
I feel that it does have an element of guilt-tripping.

Recently, someone asked me to proofread an essay and used this emoji 😖.
I did not like the use of the emoji.

Certain emojis can be used to play up negative emotions in the situation.
With a request, sometimes it does seem like guilt-tripping.

Reverse Social-Credit Enhancing/Inflating

I do see some managers and leaders effectively using this technique of reverse social-credit inflating.
Other people do start chiming in once they see that their ideas will get acknowledged and valued.
The manager sets the positive team-spirited tone and facilitates the brainstorming session.

Although I have seen Machiavellian leaders use this technique as part of the "Shine Up, Praise Down" strategy.
I think all managers use this to a degree.
It becomes manipulative when a manager pretends to value their contributions, but they don't get rewarded tangibly by visibility and recognition from senior management.
Sometimes though it is value-adding to the less motivated, hardworking employees.

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on January 9, 2021, 12:28 am

I don't really like the nervousness emoji as well.
I feel that it does have an element of guilt-tripping.

Recently, someone asked me to proofread an essay and used this emoji 😖.
I did not like the use of the emoji.

Yea, I wouldn't have liked that either, Matthew. Similar situation in your case since there also wasn't an exact "judge role" there, but it's implied there would be some negative judgment from that person if you said "no" to that task.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 8, 2021, 6:59 pm

There are situations in which the credit is not just shared and computed between just two people.

For example, this is a great move for leaders. Imagine the leader wants to encourage group cohesion and group contribution.
So he might say:

Tom: How about we do X
Leader
: That's such a great idea man, I love it, I'd have never thought about it.
(towards the rest of the team) What do you guys think?

Now everyone feels like their contributions are very highly valued, and are far more likely to collaborate.

Or for example, the team leader might stand up in front of the company, and say loud and clear:

Leader: This was an idea from Tom, a true game-changer, big applause to Tom, please.

This is both credit-reassignment (such as, while people might think it was all the team's leader credit, he re-assigns it to the right person), plus, when he says "a true game-changer", he might (positively) inflate Tom's credit.

Tom's credit though is a bit harder to collect in practical terms, since the beneficiary is the "group", or the "company".
Tom does get a major status boost though, so there is still a lot of value for him.

So I'm also thinking of something along the lines of "positive credit inflating" / "pro-social credit inflating".

Yeah, I see what you mean there, Lucio.

In that case, instead of "inverse social-credit inflating", I would call it "point social-credit inflating" since the credit-inflation can be pointed to someone else (another person) or even an entire group in some cases.

Then, if when using the term you decide that the credit-inflating was used in a positive manner while being pointed to another person (or a group), you can say, "positive-point social-credit inflating". And, negative respectively.

I had another idea surrounding this thread.

In my screenshots, you might notice that I count giving gratitude as giving value. And, I count gratitude (such as saying "thank you") as being a form of value because it's good for enabling others to collect their social credit and encouraging them to continue giving value since they know it'll be appreciated with gratitude.

BUT, I believe that the true usefulness of gratitude is in signaling future value. The gratitude implies you will give more value back at a later date to keep the relationship in balance. In other words, the value of gratitude is that it can work as an IOU.

To illustrate this, I think about those fro-yo cards you might get from a yogurt vendor. Every time you show up to that vendor as a returning customer, they'll stamp your card. And, when you've been stamped, say, ten times on that card, you get a free fro-yo.

So, the fro-yo card has value. But, what's more valuable, is the free fro-yo you might receive in the future as a result of that card.

So, it might be worth it to come up with a term for this kind of value. The kind that comes from using phrases such as "I would be very grateful," when you can't give value right away to incentivize the other side to still give you what you want.

Ideas:

  1. IOU value
  2. Fro-yo value (LOL, kidding 🙂
  3. DAV ("debt-acknowledgment value")

 

I like this concept, Ali.

Yes, gratitude is indeed a form of IOU.

However, there can be more forms of IOU, including "direct exchange talk", for example: "man, this was SO helpful, I really owe you".

So I agree that it makes sense to have "IOU" as a concept.

I'll double-check tomorrow that nothing similar is there already, and if not, I'll be adding it (and credit you).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

OK, sounds good.

Also, couldn't help but notice that you said "direct" exchange talk.

"Honest exchange talk" might consist of a move to collect social credit, saying you expect to receive value back as part of expecting a fair relationship.

"Direct exchange talk" might consist of a move to acknowledge the value someone else brought. That way, that person doesn't have to engage in honest exchange talk in the first place just to get social credit for the value they brought to the table.

In that spirit, perhaps instead of "point social-credit inflating" we can call it "direct(ed) social-credit inflating". Where the social-credit inflation is directed to a particular person or group.

And, that might be where we could incorporate your idea as well, Lucio: "directed pro-social-credit inflating" and "directed anti-social-credit inflating"