I’m a social psychologist studying help-seeking, social influence, compliance, consent, and why it’s so hard to say no.
Do we know how likely people are to agree to help us if we ask them? What about asking someone out on a date? Or to do something unethical?
When we are on the receiving end of a request, we know how incredibly awkward and uncomfortable it is to say no. But when we are the ones doing the asking, my research shows that we underestimate how difficult it is for people to say no to us.
The good news is this means we can get needed help more readily than we assume. The bad news is this also means people may feel less comfortable rejecting our romantic advances and unethical requests than we think.
All of this has important implications for understanding the psychology of compliance and consent—and the line between the two. It is also one example of the many ways we underestimate our influence over others.