Why Not?

I recently read an interesting study1, which suggests a good way to change a “no” to a “yes” is to ask why the person is unwilling to do what you requested.  

Yes and No buttons © cooldesign | freedigitalphotos.net

Used as a way to manipulate your wife to get what you want this might work a few times. On the other hand, if you use it well it could help make some real changes.

The article indicates how you ask “why not” is important. If you’re angry, confrontational, or accusatory, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere. If you’re honestly looking for an obstacle to overcome, you have a much better chance of success.

Even better than trying to turn a no into a yes, I would suggest asking something like “What can I do to make it easier for you to say yes to such a request in the future?” This approach shows you want to help, and the way it’s asked it assumes she wants to say yes but has some legitimate obstacles making it difficult. If she shares something, do not attack what she says or question its validity. Even if what she says seems unfair or far too difficult, it’s a starting place.


1 Dump-and-Chase: The Effectiveness of Persistence as a Sequential Request Compliance-Gaining Strategy Communication Studies Volume 60, Issue 3, 2009 Full Text

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