Someone does't really like you. I don't know who or where they are, but they exist. If you want to change that, simply ask them to do you a favor.
This trick is known as the "Benjamin Franklin Effect." The idea is that when someone who views you unfavorably performs a favor for you, they will look upon their contradictory behavior and attempt to justify their action with the belief that they like you (at least a little).
"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged." - Benjamin Franklin
"But they already dislike me, how can I possibly ask them for a favor?"
Unless they completely loathe you, they'll probably do the favor. Maybe they think they'll get something in return? Maybe they want to make a scene and complain the whole way through? Whatever the motive, it doesn't matter. What makes this trick work is the end result—cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress we feel when we hold two contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. It's an uncomfortable state that we subconsciously try to resolve, even if that means making up new beliefs.
For example, Aesop's Fable "The Fox and the Grapes" perfectly depicts the concept of cognitive dissonance. When the fox is unable to reach the grapes, it convinces itself that the grapes aren't even worth reaching and that they're probably not ripe anyway.
Do your beliefs determine your actions, or do your actions determine your beliefs? The question has been answered in what psychologists call the "self-perception theory."
Self-perception theory claims that people develop their attitudes by observing their behaviors and deciding which attitudes must have caused them. Therefore, when you're trying to decide whether or not you like someone, you will probably consider whether or not you've done something for them, because after all, we wouldn't do something for someone we hate.
Still not convinced? Consider this ingenious study done by two psychologists at the University of Chicago in 1993.
Participants in the study were shown written Chinese characters. None of the participants knew Chinese, but they were asked to determine whether or not the characters had a "negative" or "positive" meaning. However, at the same time they were asked to either push down on the table or pull up on it. Sounds random, right?
The majority of the characters described as "positive" were rated so by people pulling on the table, while the majority or "negative" characters were rated so by people pushing on the table. Why? Because throughout our entire lives we've pulled positive things towards us and pushed negative things away. In the same way, we've always done things for people we like, and don't do things for people we dislike.
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." – Kurt Vonnegut
Want to master Microsoft Excel and take your work-from-home job prospects to the next level? Jump-start your career with our Premium A-to-Z Microsoft Excel Training Bundle from the new Gadget Hacks Shop and get lifetime access to more than 40 hours of Basic to Advanced instruction on functions, formula, tools, and more.
Other worthwhile deals to check out:
- 97% off The Ultimate 2021 White Hat Hacker Certification Bundle
- 98% off The 2021 Accounting Mastery Bootcamp Bundle
- 99% off The 2021 All-in-One Data Scientist Mega Bundle
- 59% off XSplit VCam: Lifetime Subscription (Windows)
- 98% off The 2021 Premium Learn To Code Certification Bundle
- 62% off MindMaster Mind Mapping Software: Perpetual License
- 41% off NetSpot Home Wi-Fi Analyzer: Lifetime Upgrades