Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

When you let someone else make the first move, what do you give up?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) June 27th, 2012

This question was inspired by a question about first moves in dating, but I mean more than in dating. If you wait until someone else initiates something—anything, really—do you lose anything? Or is it all the same, no matter who makes the first move?

Examples of first moves or not first moves and how that changed things for you, potentially, are welcome.

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6 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

I was reading recently about the “anchor” effect in negotiations. The party who first throws out a number in negotiations has a distinct psychological advantage, if they know how to use it. The first number almost inevitably serves as an “anchor”—a point of reference that can actually be more important than the actual value of the goods. A party will feel victorious if he negotiates way up or down from the anchor number, even if that’s not actually a very good deal relative to the real value.

This effect is so robust that it takes a great deal of willful awareness to contravene it. So you really want to be the first one to throw out a number.

zenvelo's avatar

You lose the ability to control whether or not you participate in something. Something that you are really hoping will happen may never occur.

josie's avatar

You lose the initiative. Initiative in any interaction is an important value. If you have the opportunity to take it, you should. If you lose the initiative you are on the defensive. That is not necessarily a crisis, but it is less desirable than possessing the initiative. It is basic fact of nature.

Paradox25's avatar

It depends on the situation since I don’t treat materialistic goals the same way as friendship, dating and relationship matters. The apple on top of the tree statement I do tend to hold true when it comes to materialistic goals, but not when it comes to friendship/relationship matters.

I’m defintely not bashful about taking the initiative when it comes to my life goals and material wants/needs. When it comes to people matters not related to my material goals I’m not afraid to initiate, when I’m motivated to that is. I’m very personable despite my introversion, but the latter scenerio that I’ve described does need to have a more mutual element to it, unlike my materialistic goals. People aren’t just objects or goals to me, so my requirements are somewhat different with that one.

Shippy's avatar

I was brought up the old fashioned way where “boys” had to run after you. So I was always chosen and I never got to choose (I was always playing the hard to get game, with the boys running after me, that I did not really want).

I also was always head hunted, for years. So subsequently I stayed in an industry I hated, for years. When I look back I cannot believe the stupidity of it. I lost the power of choice, also knowing the real me. I didn’t want the macho guys hunting me; I wanted nerdy sensitive brainy types!!!! This answer is simplified of course!

wundayatta's avatar

@Shippy I think that is a very interesting insight. When you let yourself be pursued, then you don’t have as much choice. You only get to choose from those who choose you first. However, if you take initiative, you can go after people who might not ever feel empowered to go after you.

When I was younger, I was uncomfortable with this role that I was supposed to have since I’m male. I was too sensitive and I took rejection too much to heart. If one person said no to me, I figured they must reflect everyone and that meant no one would like me. Even when I knew this was wrong, it was still too hard to reach out again and again and to suffer those no’s. Part of it was that I believed women all talked to each other, and once I was rejected by one, they would tell all their friends, who would tell all their friends, and in a day, I’d be known as a loser.

Getting bipolar disorder increased some of my sensitivity, though. There was a period of time when I was so sensitive, that I could tell when a woman was coming onto me in the subtlest of ways. For some reason, probably my level of need, I believed my understanding of these come-ons, and I would respond to them (which is how I knew I was right about what they were saying). Unfortunately, I don’t think I am that sensitive any more.

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