Befriending according to Ben Franklin.

Ben Franklin didn't just fly kites to get shocked by lightning as way to get high, crack the liberty bell to upset Paul Revere, and become the ambassador to France because of a love of pastries, he was actually a pretty smart guy.  Actually, Gentleman Ben might not have done any of those things or had those reasons for doing it, but invariably somebody out there believes that he did and guess what if you try to explain why he's wrong, particularily on the internet, he'll only believe in his side all the more.

Been enjoying a pyschology site that suggest that we are wired pretty strangely.  One thing I picked up was that when people believe in something stongly, sometimes evidence to the contrary only makes them believe all the more.  They'll doubt the source, doubt the data, and write off the critic rather then ammend their way of thinking.  As news sources have gotten narrower in their viewpoints it's become harder for a liberal to accept anything Fox says as accurate and vice versa for conservatives with MSNBC.  In fact, watching the opposite viewpoint will only make you angrier and angrier and throw logic further out the window.

What's this got to do with  Ben Franklin?  He was fount of wisdom.  They above quote couldn't be more applicable than to many of the problems we face today.  Another, tidbit of pyschology I picked up was the something Franklin learned early in his career: that people that do something for somebody else are more likely to like that person than even if that person did something for them.  You like the people you help more than the people that help you.  And if somebody wronged someone else they are more likely to dislike that person (usually to rationalize their own bad behavior) than somebody else.

One of Ben's tactics in life would be to ask advice or favors of enemies and turn them into mentors and friends.  Rather than drive deeper wedges into a fractured relationship, he knew he could curry favor by literally currying favors.  Asking somebody that dislikes you to do something for you is not easy but once done, you create a congnizant disconnect, and they rationalize their actions or behavior by transforming their feelings.  Therefore, they did something for you it must be because they like you.

Perception is reality.

Anyway, I find that interesting.  How does it apply to poker?   They say you should be liked by the person on your left and you should hate the person on your right.  The money moves right to left.  Watch some of the old timers and they'll be talking to the person to their left and ignoring the one to the right.  If you feel slimely by playing a meta-game you can at least curry favors of the person by asking them to make change for you, move over just a little bit, tell you the time, whatever. 

Do so gracefully, not to be a pest, but as a legitimate nice guy.  You'll have them folding to their "buddy" in no time.  Okay, probably not, and this probably won't earn you too much money in the long run but it can't hurt.  If you are going to choose a guy to be friendly with make sure it's the guy to your left.

I once sat down at a table and asked the person to my left if the guy in the first hand I saw had been playing that wide open all day.  The player turned to me and said venomously "You are barking up the wrong tree."  In retrospect good for him, he should think of me as the enemy and do nothing to help me, but sure enough I wore him down.

Another snippet of wisdom applied to poker is the fact people that wrong other people are more likely to dislike those people than if they didn't.  The obvious application is to debts.  How many times have you seen people owe money to someone else, stiff them (even if it was a little bit out of their hands) and then turn around and start painting the other party as the bad guy.  In their mind they've wronged that person, but they think of themselves (in most cases) as intrinsically good, so to have wronged them, that person had to have it coming.  Those they'll justify not paying or justify not paying later because of the way the guy came at them.

If you made the mistake of loaning money you weren't willing to lose to a poker player and then the rent is due, you need to tread very carefully in getting that money back.  Pyschologically speaking you should give them an "out" for their bad behavior that doesn't put the onus on them.  Offer a payment plan, accept a tiny token of good faith and change the frame of that person's perception.  Say you are owed $200 and you know they guy can't pay it then the best way to get the money in the long run is not to go off on him but to get him to pay something.

Collection agencies and other debt collectors understand this that you need to change the person's viewpoint from "I wronged this guy by stiffing him (he must be a bad guy for me to have wronged him)"  to "I paid this guy just $10 of the $200 I owe him (he must be a pretty good guy for me to pay him, and I should probably get him the rest of the money sooner rather than later because he only took $10 out of the $200)."

If you don't have this understanding of human nature you might be offended by the offer of $10 rather than solicit it.  Truth is...

Perception is reality. 

Anyway...

Wanted to say thank you to those who read the blog.  I've gotten a number of repsonses recently and I've made people think.  That was the point of today's blog, rather then just recount some of the ugly knockout hands I've endured (cue bad beats... KK can't hold off QQ aipf, 99 can't beat 64 all in on turn with a 6 on river, and AK can never beat AJ).  Yawn.  I don't have to read a pyschology blog to know nobody likes complainers besides it's poker we've all been there, still in my next post, I respond to a reader who is fed up with the game and questioning his commitment to poker, his beats are worse then mine.

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