September 8, 2022

Why Do We Get Persuaded?

Do you ever hear yourself agreeing to do something you don’t want to do and wondering why?  Is it obligation?  Is it pressure from the other person?  Is it FOMO?  What persuades us to do things?

The definition suggests that we are induced to believe by appealing to reason or understanding.  But it when we talk about being persuaded it doesn’t really feel like that.  It often feels like we were convinced to do something that we wouldn’t normally do.  The truth is, we are often persuaded for one of two basic reasons; we want to but don’t want to admit it and fear. 

Should” keeps a lot of us in line.  

  • ‘I should lose weight, so I won’t eat ___.’ 
  • ‘I should volunteer because it’s the right thing to do.’ 
  • ‘I should not drink tonight.’ 
  • ‘I should work late because I want my boss to notice how much effort I’m putting in.’ 

There are an infinite number of these but you get it.  We all do things that we think we are supposed to do and these are often performative or we do them to make people think about or see us in a certain way.  Since we aren’t doing them for ourselves, they don’t have as much power.  So the minute someone or something comes along and gives us even the smallest excuse, we abandon the should and do what we want.  Fear can be a bit more complicated.  

“It’s just what you do”

I hear that a lot, particularly when it comes to people doing things for and with their families.  Obligation is powerful.  There are times when it is important to show up for people that matter to us.  Obligation and veer into an unhealthy space pretty quickly if it’s not reciprocal.  When you feel yourself pulled by obligation, it is important to consider if the other person would feel the same pull for you and would they act on it.  If the answer is no, then it’s time to reconsider.


I hear less about the fear of missing out (FOMO) since COVID.  Though it still seems to be a thing, it seems like there was such a high value placed on missing out for a long time that there was a recalibration which has probably been good for some and not for others.  

If you still have FOMO, it’s important to know that there is a real evolutionary reason to fear being left out.  When we were living in caves and tribes, it was a death sentence to be kicked out of the tribe.  For many people, when the tribe gets together and you aren’t there (or worse aren’t invited), it can be really scary to feel as though you have been removed from the tribe.  Don’t beat yourself up for wanting to be part of the group, that is normal and reasonable.  

People Pleasing 

There are some REALLY persuasive people out there who can make people who are confident their boundaries second guess themselves.  For people pleasers, these folks are downright dangerous.  Part of recovering from being a people pleaser is noticing when and who pushes those people pleaser buttons inside you. 

People will always want their way.  That doesn’t necessarily make them manipulative or bad.  It’s our job to know what we want and hold ourselves accountable when we allowed ourselves to be convinced or persuaded.  Remember, that there are VERY few things in life you can’t undo.  

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!

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