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Similarity principle

 

Principles > Similarity principle

Principle | How it works | So what?

 

Principle

We trust people who are like us or who are similar to people we like.

How it works

When we are trying to decide whether to trust someone, we often do not have time to find out how trustworthy they actually are, so we take a short-cut by assuming that someone who is either similar to us or who is similar to someone we would trust.

We seek similarity in beliefs, values, attitudes, ways of thinking, understanding and deciding. We also look for short-cuts in physical appearance, words and actions.

Aristotle knew how similarity leads to liking, and said in his 'Rhetoric':

'But since everything like and akin to oneself is pleasant, and since every man is himself more like and akin to himself than any one else is, it follows that all of us must be more or less fond of ourselves...That is why we are usually fond of our flatterers, [our lovers,] and honour; also of our children, for our children are our own work.'

So what?

Show that you are similar to the other person or similar to the sort of person they would trust. Dress like them, talk like them, and otherwise show how similar you are to them. Dress alternatively like a person they would respect, such as a senior manager (hence wear nice clothes, be well-groomed, etc.).

See also

Trust principle, Objectivity principle, Association principle

Trust, Theories about friendship

 

Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book 1, Chapter 11

Cialdini, R.B. (1994). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, NY: Quill

 

 

 

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