Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

The Benjamin Franklin effect

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

ResoluteH posted 4/25/2014 11:29 AM

I'm not sure what the rules are here about posting links to other sites, etc., so I apologize in advance if I'm doing something wrong.

This video is on the so-called "Benjamin Franklin effect." Franklin observed that doing nice things for another person makes the one who does them feel better about the other person. One of his tactics in negotiations was to ask to borrow a book from the person he was negotiating with. It's useful for us from several different perspectives. Not feeling particularly close to your spouse today? Do something nice for him or her. Want your spouse to feel better about you? If he or she offers to do something nice for you, let him or her do it. If she offers to get you a drink, say "Yes, please. Thank you." Don't say, "No, I'll get it." Want to continue to create distance between you and your AP? Well, ideally you have no contact with that person, but I know that for some, that's virtually impossible (the AP is a co-worker, etc.) -- at any rate, don't do nice things for the AP, and don't let the AP do nice things for you. You don't have to be mean about it, but recognize that when you treat the AP with kindness, you may be reinforcing your attraction to him or her. And vice versa.

HUFI-PUFI posted 4/25/2014 13:43 PM

The idea of "you are what you think" is a key point in this theory and I can see the "Benjamin Franklin effect" being of help in two major areas for the WS.

The first example you give is a great example of the small steps a WS could take on rebuilding intimacy in the relationship with the BS by re-framing ones thought process. Especially for the WS who rewrote the marriage narrative in order to justify the affair or for those demonized their spouses, this positive reinforcement can go a long way to restore some needed balance.

The second example would help create indifference to the AP. Anything other than a very cool and professional interaction with the AP always runs the risk of possibility of reigniting the delusional romantic wayward thought process. Withholding any positive reinforcement would be of help in this regard.

The BF effect is often cited as an example within cognitive dissonance (CD)theory, which says that people change or create their attitudes or behavior to resolve tensions, or "dissonance", between their thoughts, attitudes, and actions. In order to resolve the dissonance between perception and reality, PMA (positive mental attitude) can be a major tool in the healing process. I once knew a fellow who used to constantly and continually recite the mantra of "Sonny is good, Sonny is great" to himself daily in order to positively influence his self-image.

BTW, while there is a rule that says it is a violation to post advertising or any form of commercial solicitation without the express written consent of SI, in practice, if you are linking to a non-commercial site that provides information in support of a member or of general interest to the SI community, then its a common practice and quite acceptable.


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us - Ralph Waldo Emerson

210012 posted 4/26/2014 18:01 PM

Thank you for posting this. It is thought provoking for me today, as I (single-coworker-other-woman) texted my ex-AP (and still manager, so we are still in frequent/close contact, sigh) earlier today when my headphones broke, to ask his recommendation for buying replacements as I remembered he'd done some research and tried various brands last year. He replied with his recommendation followed by flirty compliments. In retrospect I should't be surprised by the flirtation; I asked him to do me a small favor, just as you're describing, plus he likes to feel knowledgeable and that his advice is respected. At the time I was mid-workout and just wanting to solve the problem of ordering new headphones asap so I didn't give it much thought before asking his advice, but seeing this, I guess even "innocent" contact can stir up emotions.

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.