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Moral Support


Techniques Willpower > Moral Support

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



When you are seeking to persuade others with willpower, it can help if you know that your friends are behind you and agree with your case, even if they are not going to become personally involved.

Check in with friends before you engage with the person you must persuade. Ask them if they think you are right. Of course they are your friends and will likely agree with you (if they do not, listen to them). Even though they may be biased, knowing they support you can help bolster you when face-to-face with others. This will also enable you to stand your ground, confident that you are not alone.


A student thinks a mark is unfair and wants to argue the case with their lecturer. They talk to their friends first, showing them the paper. The friends show indignation at the obvious unfairness and encourage the student to seek a better mark. The student then goes to the lecturer who at first tries to dismiss them but eventually agrees to review the paper and increases the mark as a result.

A person at work wants to ask for a rise. Their partner encourages them and talks through their possible arguments. The person then goes to the boss and stands their ground, talking about what they have done and what they can do. They don't get a rise immediately, but the annual review results in a larger than expected rise.


One reason we waver when disagreeing with others is that we suspect that they may be right and that we may be wrong. If we are wrong and everyone blames us or thinks us bad then we risk being socially excluded, which is one of the worst things that can happen to us.

 Getting your friends to offer moral support to you means they think you are right, which then gives you the moral high ground in any later argument. Your friends may also offer further arguments you can use.

See also

Values, Relationships, Theories about friendship


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