The Yes-Ladder and Getting Women to Say “Yes”
Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you'd really like a girl to just go along with what you've got planned, but need a way to get her to do that that she'll agree with?
Wouldn't it be nice if you had a specific technique you could use to just get her to say "yes"?
If you HAD a technique like this, wouldn't you start to use it all KINDS of places in your life to get things to more easily go your way?
Would you like me to give you this technique?
Today we're going to talk about something called the "yes-ladder" -
a technique you can use for getting agreement to all kinds of things, provided you know
what you're doing and know how to make a semi-compelling argument.
Do I have your interest - and would you like for me to go on?
We've talked on here before (in the article on overcoming depression and the one on emotional cresting) about the emotional feedback loop the brain employs - your brain wants you to keep feeling the way you're already feeling.
It's why when a girl's in auto-rejection, there's damn near nothing you can do to pull her out of it, save a total shock to the system (like, seeing you preselected by beautiful women when she was trying to write you off mentally as wholly undesirable).
And, it's why when you're depressed, you have no interest in talking to happy people or watching happy movies. And why when you're happy, you have no interest in watching movies that are downers.
The brain has an emotional feedback loop that causes you to seek out sensation and stimulation that will keep you feeling however you're feeling right now, and avoid anything that will make you feel different.
That even applies to saying "yes" and saying "no."
Yes Begets Yes
From the study "Better think before agreeing twice: Mere agreement: A similarity-based persuasion mechanism," published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing in 2010:
“The present paper shows that the frequency of people's compliance with a request can be substantially increased if the requester first gets them to agree with a series of statements unrelated to the request but selected to induce agreement. We label this effect the ‘mere-agreement effect’ and present a two-step similarity-based mechanism to explain it. Across five studies, we show that induced mere agreement subtly causes respondents to view the presenter of the statements as similar to themselves, which in turn increases the frequency compliance with a request from that same person. We support the similarity explanation by showing that the effect of agreement on compliance is suppressed when agreement is induced to indicate dissimilarity with the interviewer, when the request is made by some other person, and when the artificially high level of agreement is made salient. We also validate the practical relevance of the mere-agreement persuasion technique in a field study. We discuss how the mere-agreement effect can be broadly used as a tool to increase cooperation and be readily implemented in marketing interactions.”
Interesting, no? The mere fact that you've gotten me to agree with you on several statements in a row makes me significantly more likely to agree with your next statement, even if it's entirely unrelated to those previous ones.
But that's not all. In this study, the researchers also found that using a yes-ladder with someone doesn't just make him more likely to agree with you or comply with you... it also makes him more likely to DISAGREE and NOT comply with OTHER people.
Care for a visual? Here you are:
The bars represent how much money is given in euros (with either the questioner using the yes-ladder, or another person besides the questioner with the yes-ladder), of both the person who's previously agreed with the questioner's statements (blue bar) and a person who has not been presented with a yes-ladder first (red bar).
The person who's agreed to previous yes-ladder questions already gives the questioner 63% more money than the control, and also gives the other person 15% less money. For the person who hasn't gone through a yes-ladder, the money he's willing to give to questioner and other people alike is the same.
Working in Reverse: Negative Compliance
I haven't seen any studies on this, but I can absolutely tell you it works in reverse, too... not good when you start batting zeroes.
This is something called "negative compliance," where once a girl has rejected complying with your request, or disagreed with a statement you make, it begins to push her farther and farther away from you, and makes her less and less likely to comply with you in the future.
At the same time, it also makes her MORE likely to comply with someone else and agree with HIM.
Here's an example - let's say you try and get some investment from a girl you've just met:
You: What's that you're drinking?
Her: It's a caffè mocha latte.
You: That sounds tasty.
Her: Actually it's just all right. [first disagreement]
You: [reaching for her cup] Mind if I...?
Her: [pulling her cup away] Yeah, actually, I don't really like sharing my drinks with strangers. Sorry. [second disagreement]
You: Oh, that's all right. Where'd you get that bracelet? It looks exotic.
Her: No, it's actually just a piece of junk I picked up at a yard sale. [third disagreement]
Her friend: [walking up to table where she's sitting] Hey Stacy! We're going to go see what's new in Zara. Want to come?
Her: That sounds great. [to you] Nice meeting you!
Ouch... brutal, isn't it?
You might read that and think, "Well, clearly that's a girl who isn't all that interested," and that may well be the case. However, it can also be the case that she didn't have much of an opinion about you when you first walked up... until you started bandying about statements she didn't agree with, that is.
Regardless what she thought of you at first, her saying "no" and disagreeing with you and turning down your compliance requests results in her moving increasingly far away from you, and becoming increasingly more likely to disagree with other things you say or ask of her.
She's simply going to keep saying "no."
It's pretty clear at this point that the yes-ladder is a potent technique, and probably one you want to be incorporating into your interactions with people, especially when you're facing some difficulty in achieving a specific outcome.
Before we talk about how to use it though, I want to talk about a little good stewardship of the yes-ladder.
It's possible to construct a yes-ladder so well that you lead people to do things they do not want to do. One of the most classic examples of a yes-ladder was that of the door-to-door Encyclopædia Britannica salesmen, who had a series of something around 46 or 47 questions in their yes-ladder leading from "hello" all the way up to the prospect purchase a full set of encyclopedias for several thousand dollars - no small sum at the time the ladder was used.
Were there people that ladder helped to realize the value of the Encyclopædia who might otherwise have slammed the door in the salesman's face, and ended up thrilled to have bought? Sure; absolutely.
Likewise, were there people who just kept saying "yes" until they took out their wallets, only to later regret having done so? Probably.
When you're using a yes-ladder, be aware that you will be helping some women to go along with you and discover how great a fit you are, but you may also be pulling some women along who otherwise wouldn't have gone and are only doing so out of a sense of obligation.
For this reason, it's very important to use the ladder responsibly, and to pay attention to how women are saying "yes"; if they're saying "yes" to you excitedly, with a big smile on their faces - you have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if they're saying yes tentatively, like they aren't really sure but feel like they have to say "yes" to you... don't take things too far off the ladder alone. You can use it to get a girl to go dancing with you, or come meet you on a date; but, if she's acting very tentative and reserved, don't use it for more than that. You may just be pulling her along a direction she doesn't want to go but does because she doesn't know how to say "no."
Something I've taken to asking women who are going along with me but seem uncomfortable is, "Hey, stop, hold on a second - are you coming along with me because it's what you want to do, or have I kind of sucked you into my vortex and now you feel like you can't escape?"
At this point, she'll either say:
"No - I want to come along with you!" and then the discomfort will typically end and she'll get excited - she was on the fence, but you asked her to decide and she decided; she's with you
"Well... actually... I kinda just want to go home." When you hear this, that's when you know she was only coming along with you because you were insistent and she felt obligated to do so, even if she didn't really want to. You don't really want a girl who isn't honestly excited about you, and you don't want to be the jackass who talks her into doing things she's not all that gung-ho about in the first place - so tell her, "Okay. I don't want to be a pushy asshole. If you want to go home, then you should go home"
You're usually just saving yourself time and hassle in the end... it's pretty difficult to talk a girl into sleeping with you, so even if you talk a girl back to your place who isn't all that into you, that's typically about as far as it goes.
Focus on using yes-ladders to help the girls who are already interested in you pick up the pace on the interaction, and you can't go wrong.
When to Use a Yes-Ladder
You'll most often use yes-ladders a bit later into an interaction, once you already know what a girl likes and she's somewhat naturally connected to you already from talking and deep diving - that way she'll be more likely to comply with your first "yes" and not make you battle for it.
A standard yes-ladder used to prepare a girl for pulling her to a seduction location looks like this:
You: So you like hitting the pool you said, right?
You: Ever try a hot tub before, or ever want to?
Her: Yes, a long time ago.
You: Did you enjoy it; was it a good time?
Her: Yeah, it was fun.
You: You liked hanging out in the tub with the warm water and the bubbles.
Her: Yes, definitely!
You: You said you've still got a few hours free, right?
Her: I do, yes.
You: Well... you down to go grab a hot tub for an hour or so and kick back and relax?Her: Sure, okay - let's do it.
You can also use yes-ladders to break up arguments in your relationships, if you know where you want to take things:
Her: You are such an ass for never taking me to dinner. You're just cheap.
You: Okay - so taking you to nice dinners and not being cheap is how to be not an ass, right?
You: And a guy who's not an ass makes for a great boyfriend, correct?
You: The kind of boyfriend you'd REALLY want to have, right?
Her: I only wish.
You: Because only douchebags like me don't take you to nice dinners and are cheap.
Her: Oh yeah.
You: So how come you broke up with Piers? He took you to nice dinners all the time. And he certainly wasn't cheap.
You: I thought Piers met all the requirements for the perfect boyfriend?
Her: No... there's more to being a good boyfriend than not being cheap.
You: Like what? I thought that was the only thing that mattered.
Her: No... lots of other things matter too.
You: Like what?
Her: Like... I don't know. Listening and stuff!
You: Do I listen?
Her: You do listen.
You: But I still don't measure up to Piers.
Her: [laughs] You're better than Piers, trust me.
You: Even though I'm a cheap ass who never takes you to dinners?
Her: [laughs] You're not cheap; I was just upset. Angel's always flaunting the expensive restaurants her boyfriend takes her too, and I was feeling a little jealous I guess.
In this case, the yes-ladder serves to help her feel like the two of you are much more on the same page, and serves as a pattern interrupt. Most of the fighting you'll have in a relationship occurs when women think you are not listening to them and do not "get" them or care. A yes-ladder works out to be a pretty effective way of showing them the opposite.
How to Use a Yes-Ladder
Yes-ladders are pretty straightforward, albeit get easier and more second nature the more socially experienced you become and the better able to cold read and gauge what someone likes and doesn't like that you get.
Your process for using a yes-ladder is:
Want to hear some "yes"es. The point of using a yes-ladder is to start hearing some "yes"es. When you use a yes-ladder, you're rarely going to think to yourself, "Time to use a yes-ladder!" Rather, instead, you're going to think, "Okay, she needs to start saying some "yes"es before I ask her to do anything else." So this is your focus.
Start with something you know she'll say "yes" to. Don't ask her if she likes rock music if you don't know what music she listens to, and don't ask her if she's like to travel the world if you don't know if she would or wouldn't. Instead, ask her something you know she'll say yes to - often something you already know the answer to. If you notice both of the examples above, they both start off by asking her something she's either told you earlier in the conversation, or she's just told you. Even if she wanted to, she can't realistically say "no" to these because she's already said "yes" before.
Follow up next with something that's difficult to say "no" to. Notice in the hot tub example, the question is not just, "Ever try a hot tub before?" because she may not have, and it also isn't, "Ever want to try a hot tub?" because she may just say she's already been there, done that. Instead the question is a two-part question: it's, "Ever try a hot tub before, or ever want to?" Because she's already said "yes" once, she'll be inclined to answer whichever part of that two-part question she can say "yes" to, and she's likely to be able to say "yes" to at least one of them. In the second example, you draw a conclusion that's useful no matter how she answers - she's already agreed that you are an ass, so if she says "no," she's saying you're a great boyfriend and the argument is over. If she says "yes," then she allows you to continue with the yes-ladder.
Third question: ask about her preferences. The third question is where you ask her if she likes a thing. Obviously, you want to pick something she likely does like, but even if she's on the fence, with a pair of "yes"es under her belt she's fairly likely to say "yes" here too. Just don't make it too hard to say "yes"; e.g., don't ask her if she likes sex in public as your third question if the first and second questions were about how she feels about icing on cupcakes.
Ask some more clarifying questions to solidify the "yes." Usually you'll follow up with a few more questions she can easily answer "yes" to, as in the hot tub example; this is mostly just to solidify in her mind that yes, she really DOES want to hang out in a hot tub (if she doesn't, she'll just say so), and also that her schedule is clear so hitting a hot tub isn't going to interfere with the rest of her day. What you're doing here is removing any objections before they can arise ("You know, I don't really feel like going" or "I'm kind of busy today" --> these aren't just rationally removed here, but emotionally; she will now WANT to go, and won't WANT to be busy or do something else).
Make your ask or make your point. Finally, ask for the thing you want to ask for (as in the first example), or make the point you want to make (as in the second).
Not too terribly painful a process, is it? In fact, yes-ladders are often quite fun, both for you AND the girl. She knows what you're doing, and if she likes you, it's an enjoyable process because you're helping her to remove obstacles to her reasoning and allowing her to do something she'll like doing or enabling her to see a point that was hidden from her before.
Again, use these responsibly - don't go leading women into situations that are going to be uncomfortable for both of you just because they felt socially obligated to go along with you.
If you're using yes-ladders later into conversation with women you know clearly like you and would like you to take charge and make something happen though, they're a powerful means of doing this.
They're also quite useful as a pattern interrupt when someone is making an impassioned argument - typically, she's "othering" you and seeing you as less than human / unrelatable while doing this, and a yes-ladder breaks her out of this and forces her to relate to you as a friend, lover, and companion once more.
You'll tend to use yes-ladders naturally as you become more socially experienced - I've known about them since I was a teenager, but never consciously set out to use them in my conversations... using yes-ladders just came about for me naturally as a result of talking to thousands of different people and often being in the position of having to do some convincing. They simply work better at getting buy-in than almost anything else.
If you haven't used one before, I suggest you try the yes-ladder out. You'll probably be surprised at not only what an EFFECTIVE tool this is, but what a FUN one it is, too - both for you and for her.
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