Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

What personality trait enables someone to assume agreement before it is given?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) February 24th, 2010

A car salesman acts as if the customer has agreed to buy the car, saying, “I’ll get the contract written up.” A boyfriend suggests a second date at some restaurant without even asking her if she wants to go out with him again. Or a man acts as if the woman wants to make love to him, again, without her explicit agreement. It’s a sense of entitlement, I believe, and I wonder where it comes from.

Have you done something like that? What was the situation? What allowed you to give yourself permission to behave this way?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of such a presumption? Why do you think the person who ran the trip on you allowed themselves to do that without consulting you?

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14 Answers

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t know if it’s entitlement but it is taking someone for granted, maybe assuming they’ll forgive anything based on your charm or based on that person’s trust or even love for you.

h2osprey's avatar

While it may actually be an erroneous assumption most of the time, I do believe that often people do it intentionally. Often if the other party seems hesitant or unsure, it can be useful to press your case quickly, hoping that he or she would just acquiesce immediately without further thought. Looking at the three cases you gave above, it seems that in every one of them the one on the “giving end” might have a motive for acting the way he or she did.

Of course, at times it can just be pure insensitivity—some people are slower to react to others’ actions and reactions, however blatant and telling they may be. In either case, the one on the receiving end has much to lose if he or she remains silent; such events are likely to occur again in the future. So making your case heard immediately seems like the best option, regardless of the circumstances.

Nullo's avatar

Confidence, is my bet.

noyesa's avatar

I think it’s a bit of being overconfident and trying to avoid the question itself. They want to just assume everything is going the way they want it until the other person objects, I guess hoping that way they’ll be less likely to object. Pretty tasteless, really.

evandad's avatar

Maybe it’s worked to their advantage in the past. It’s presumtuous and rude. I thinking you set them straight.

Symbeline's avatar

Personality trait? Being an asshat, I presume.

BoBo1946's avatar

These are just “pushy people” and my solution is simply, a firm “no!” “but (adding with my nice voice), thank you, and have a nice day!”

The telemarketer that starts their “pitch” and i simply “butt in” and say, “no thanks, but have a great day!”

TLRobinson's avatar

Elitism; no one ever telling the person NO; no one ever calling them out on their behavior.

Shuttle128's avatar

This is more a matter of learned tactic than it is a real trait. Though, if people use this tactic on such a regular basis that it has become a part of their personality than I might call it a trait.

This may start early on in childhood when the child’s parental figure has not explicitly set guidelines for behavior. A child who is not told that he cannot have a cookie has much to gain from assuming he can have a cookie than to ask and risk finding that he is not allowed. When things are not explicit it can be advantageous to a person to assume the positive outcome of their desires. For the most part, however, this tactic is a mischievous one in that it is designed to get something to go your way regardless of others’ take on the situation.

This method is used in advertising quite a lot. The assumption that the person is interested is the only way to effectively market something to a large audience. If advertisers waited for you to admit that you are willing to buy something then their job would already have been done.

Haleth's avatar

Like @Shuttle128 says, it’s a learned behavior. It’s used a lot in sales, but it can also happen in social situations if one person is being selfish. It’s a way to manipulate someone into agreeing to more than they signed up for. I’ve done this once or twice in sales situations when I really needed a commission or a bonus, but I didn’t feel too good about it. It’s a very cutthroat thing to do and just makes people uncomfortable.

Trillian's avatar

@wundayatta I believe the trait name is “Unmitigated gall”.

TheJoker's avatar

In sales it’s a technique called ‘assumptive close’, & it’s quite effective if the other person feels slightly uncomfortable, for instance, social situations. I do remember a sales training session I was at where the trainer advised us all to go out that night (it was a 3 day, stay-over) & try out sales techniques on ladies…. &, surprised as I was, they worked!

Cruiser's avatar

I find it totally rude in situations where someone I don’t know is so full of themselves they expect you to buy their product or service. I get that every so often here at work and savor those moments when I let them know I am not interested in them or their product simply because of their arrogance.

Silhouette's avatar

I think it’s wishful thinking run amok. They want “it” so bad they act like it’s a given they are going to get it. Let’s face it, many a vacuum cleaner salesman has made a fortune from the people who can’t say no to an aggressive salesman. Dale Carnegie made a fortune teaching people how to do this very thing.

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