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'Attraction-Rejection' Game

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Games > 'Attraction-Rejection' Game

Purpose | Game play | Discussion | So what?

  

Purpose

Primary: Attention

Secondary: Social capital

Game play

B is attracted to A

B advances towards A.

A moves away from B.

B stops pursuing A.

A is attracted to B.

A advances towards B.

B moves away from A.

A stops pursuing B.

The pattern then repeats ad infinitum.

Discussion

This is the classic romantic pursuit game, and can happen at very subtle ways, for example:

  • Girl fancies boy and makes eye contact.
  • Boy is attracted and continues eye contact (pursuit).
  • Girl looks away (rejection)
  • Boy looks away (retreat)
  • Girl looks at boy and holds eye contact for longer (pursuit)
  • Girl looks away again (rejection)
  • Boy goes over to girl to say hello (pursuit)
  • Girl plays hard-to-get (rejection)
  • ...etc.

Rejection works because of the Scarcity principle, where we desire what we cannot have.

This game, played well, is like fishing. Try to reach completion too soon and the fish slips away. This happens, for example, when a boy gets too enthusiastic and doesn't stop chasing the girl. The girl feel overwhelmed and sends 'end of game' signals (which may have to be quite blunt).

This game of attraction-then-rejection can be played on many persuasive stages, including sales and negotiation, where both sides dance around each other, making and rejecting advances and offers.

So what?

See the dance of attraction and rejection in your persuasion. Avoid chasing too hard. Also avoid running too fast away from the other person - it is often useful go a little way and pause to see if they are following!

See also

'Catch me' Game, Attraction vs. Avoidance Preference, The Two Step, Reciprocity Norm, Scarcity principle

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