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Friends and Family


Techniques Interrogation > Friends and Family

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Use the affection the subject has for significant others as a lever, for example:

  • Describe how the subject has betrayed significant others.
  • Point out how ashamed the others will be, and how they will be vilified for what the subject has done.
  • Indicate that the others may be questioned or implicated.

Depending on the situation the cared-for others may include family, friends, work colleagues, superiors, comrades and respected other people.

Relationships with others may also be played in the negative mode, for example by showing or implying betrayal of the subject by those who were considered friends. This is particularly powerful when there is already a suspicion or a divide of some kind.


"What would your priest say if he could see you now? Perhaps we should call him in."

"Did you know that one of your comrades has just told us everything? What do you think he deserves for that?"


Whilst a subject may be resistant to individual threats, the thought of others being harmed or embarrassed may be too much to bear. The subject may hate the thought of the others knowing about certain things.

With family, there can be a strong instinct to protect. With friends, the driver may be to avoid embarrassment.

In military training, soldiers are deliberately bonded together so they will fight as a unit. It is said that they in fact die for their comrades (and to avoid the shame of cowardice in their eyes), not for love of country. This forms a powerful motivation to protect one another and avoid shame.

Paradoxically, those who break the law tend to have a strong concern for loyalty, as they consider personal ties as more important than compliance to the rules of a country that they may feel has done little for them. In criminal fraternities, the phrase 'thick as thieves' is commonly used to indicate the loyalty that may be given or required to one another.

This approach can also be used in the reverse sense, where the family or friends are cast as the 'bad guys'. Whilst a loyal friend may be protected, if that friend betrays the suspect then this can trigger a strong retributive response.

See also

The effects of betrayal, Love, Anger, Shame

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