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Failed social behavior that won’t die

You are heading out of some institutional building that has the typical double glass doors that open where they meet in the middle.

Someone else is coming toward the building, about to enter. You do the polite thing of pushing open the door on your side, smiling at the person coming in, welcoming her to use the door you’ve opened.

She does exactly the same thing with the door on her side.

Each of you uses the doorway you’ve opened. No one accepts the offer of the open door.

We have had our hopes extinguished hundreds of times. Yet we persist.

2 Responses to “Failed social behavior that won’t die”

  1. A beautifully expressed example of the difference between instrumental outcomes in social relations, and effects in social relations.

    The interaction is only a failure when measured against instrumental outcomes, that is, the purposeful opening of door to enable entry. On the other hand, the interaction is a success every time when measured against the socio-psychological effects of creating good social relations – the intention to offer politeness in door opening. The latter does not require the opening to be used, merely the intention to be expressed.

    The failure is an example of a fungible-form relationship as I describe in Valence Theory. The latter, an example of a ba-form (or environment-enabling) relationship. It is the latter that (I argue) would be the dominant, enabling forms of relationships in the UCaPP world, clearly demonstrated through a variety of social-media enabled environments. The persistence of such social behaviour I would consider an enduring victory, despite the seemingly fungible failure.

  2. Very good piece. Social behavior is a factor that needs attention for sure.

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