My husband was reading a book on sales techniques, “Question Based Selling” by Thomas Freese, where he found a reference to an emotional reflex unique to humans. In the book the author stresses the importance for marketers to understand and avoid it in order not to damage the relationship with their customers.
This made us think that this emotional reflection occurs not only in trade relations but can be found in any social relationship. Thomas Freese calls this reflection “mismatching”.
Everyone knows that if the hand is fast approaching someone’s face, the brain generates the blink reflex. It’s automatic, natural and inevitable. The reflex of mismatching is emotional, or rather, social, but almost as automatic as blinking.
There are different forms of disparity and not everybody is done with the same frequency and intensity. However, we can be found them in many familiar situations:
– If we say: “It’s too hot in Madrid!”. The chance that someone will correct us are high: “Oops! That’s not so hot! For heat … Seville” or “last year was much worse” or “I find the temperature very pleasant as there is moisture,” …
– In another statement like “I’m tired of traveling. I have four trips this month!” Someone could respond with “that’s nothing, I’ve had seven this month” or “do not complain, traveling is fine, the worst is to be locked in the office “or” … because this person, or the other, travel a lot too. “
– “I’m bad, I am realy cold …”, the answer: “My last flu was much worse “or” Somebody’s niece is even worse .. “
– If you call someone (usually professionally) and ask, “Is this a good time to talk?” Possibly the answer would be: “I am very busy now, call me later … I have only 30 seconds.” However, if we ask the question in the negative form, it is more likely that we get a positive response: “Is this a bad time?” and the likely response: “Do not worry, tell me …” or “I have little time but go ahead, what is it? ….”
There are hundreds of situations where we can find “mismatching”.
The mismatching is a way of showing disagreement. It is an instinctive and emotional behavior that provokes a response opposite to that expressed by the speaker. Although it may seem malicious, it is not. It is a reflex caused by the need we all have to provide value, to contribute to the conversation, to show intelligence, to participate no matter what. When someone asks us a statement or comment, if our response is just a “yes”, it does not show anything, we do not show that we also know the subject, that we have an opinion. Herein lies the problem: we all need to feel valued, to respond, to give the missing information to our interlocutor.We feel compelled, even to slightly change our opinion to avoid the zero value of our involvement. If you say: “Yes I agree” and nothing more, what have you added?: Zero.
People are natural mismatchers, but not out of disrespect towards others. Rather, it is because we are naturally insecure. But unfortunately, in many everyday situations, this reflects a feeling of confrontation, or at least lack of tact.
There are 4 main types of mismatching:
The Contradiction: It is simply expressing the opposite opinion. For example: “What a good whether “…. answer: “It is cold for me”; or “this restaurant is very good”…. answer: “to me, it is noisy and expensive”
The Unnecessary Clarification : It’s to debate a part (irrelevant) of the speaker’s statements. For example: “We cannot go to this hotel because they have only 10 beds and we will be 25” … answer: “We will not be 25, we will be only 23.” Unnecessary contributions to the problem addressed.
One-Upsmanship: You see this with kids playing in the school yard, trying to outdo each other. One person makes a statement and someone else jumps in trying to make an even bigger impact by saying, “The same thing happened to me, only worse”. You say: “During this holiday I have driven 2000 km.” Answer: “Well, I drove 2 years ago 3500. That was really terrible.”
The dreaded “I know”: This type of gap is caused by the inferiority people feels because not knowing something. Examples: “You do not have to use this form to enter the USA”, response: “I know” (although not the case). “Have you seen the new Facebook feature that allows you to …”,”I know it “, etc, etc, …
In conclusion, we should stop mismatching in our daily conversations. Although psychologists tell us that there is no intention to attack or offend, this creates a gap in our relationships.