Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mean Girls and Salesmen

Every generation that goes through maturation in our society has to learn this one particular lesson: true friendships do not emerge from dispositional compliance.

Mkay I felt your eyes glaze over for a sec. No need for that. "Dispositional compliance" is another word for peer pressure, essentially. It's doing some people-pleasing act in order to gain favor from someone that you don't have a history with or loyalty to.

Example: every compromising act in Mean Girls. Every time the pre-alcoholic Lindsay Lohan does something that she doesn't agree with in order to gain access to the world of the plastics, she is engaging in dispositional compliance.

The vast majority of us are people-pleasers. We want people to like us. Even people that we don't know. For example, the Asch conformity experiments showed that many people would answer questions incorrectly if those around them answered incorrectly, even though they knew the right answer and had answered it correctly before. Why? They wanted these complete strangers to like them.

Salesmen are aware of this phenomenon. But they make it even harder to avoid the compliance, because they try to make you like them. Then you feel emotionally invested in them, and you're less likely to turn them down.

Which is why I'm mean to salesmen and employees who work on commission.

(Apologies for the poor grammar and spelling. Blogging in class means only half of my brain is engaged. More on the failures of "multitasking" later)

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