Behaviors can affect our attitudes in a variety of ways. One well known method is the Foot in the Door Phenomenon, which is the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request. For example, when a salesman is able to get into a house for a drink of water, it’s easier to score sales. Because the host has already accepted the first request.
My family used to call me Cinderella. I am not joking. I had three older sisters who took priority in the parenting chain and it often fell to me to do household chores. In fact, one time my sisters were laughing and teasing me about being Cinderella, and then they paused, looked at each other, and said, “Oh my gosh, we’re the evil step sisters.”
I didn’t choose to be Cinderella. I am not really sure if it was even a conscious manipulation on my Mother’s part. But she sure knew how to use the foot in the door technique. She would ask me to dust real quick before going skateboard. So I’d dust–and then she’d ask if I wouldn’t mind vacuuming. And after I finished vacuuming, she’d ask if I would clean the bathroom. Eventually she’d have me clean the entire house. Sometimes she got me to cook dinner too. When I only thought I was going to dust. The house would be sparkling, when I had no intention of making it so originally. But by her slight nudging, getting me to agree to smaller things, she planted an attitude that made me completely accepting about doing the whole house. My initial attitude would have been to feel overworked and that the distribution of chores was unfair. But I agreed because I got trap in her foot in the door technique!
As I was saying, my transformation into complying Cinderella happened rather routinely due to my mother’s wielding of the foot in the door techniques. I wanted to be helpful, but I was also a teenager and wanted to play outside and see my friends. She shifted my slightly helpful attitude into completely willing servant because of her way of placing requests. She started small and then went larger. Eventually getting to comply with a vastly unfair amount of housework. Her impressive wielding of the technique is frightening. Glad to know I am the final child and have no need to protect younger siblings.