10.06.2011

Day 6: Your Favorite Book Character

I don't really read books with characters.  At least not since I finished the last Harry Potter book 7 years ago.

Instead I prefer riveting nonfiction like Getting to Yes and Black holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, my most favorite of which is a book called Influence by Robert Cialdini. Influence discusses from a social psychologist perspective why we may make the decisions we do.  In a chapter about commitment and consistency, Cialdini tells the story of his neighbor Sara and her live-in boyfriend Tim that I like to sum up like this:



They met at the hospital where they both worked and dated for a while, even after Tim lost his job. Then they moved in together.  Things didn't go perfectly for her and she became increasingly unhappy with the situation. Sara wanted Tim to marry her and stop his heavy drinking, but he didn't want to do either of those. So she broke it off and kicked him out.  Sara started seeing an old boyfriend, eventually got engaged and sent out wedding invitations.  Then Tim called and asked her to take him back.  He promised to marry her, but she said she preferred her fiance√©.  Tim volunteered to quit drinking.  Sara then decided that Tim was the better choice and dumped her husband-to-be and retracted the wedding invitations.  Ouch.

Within a month of moving back in with her, Tim decided he didn't need to stop drinking after all. After another month, decided they should wait and see about getting married.  Cialdini reports that after 2 years of moving back in, Tim still drinks, there are no marriage plans, and Sara is even more devoted to him than ever before.

Whaaa?

Great story.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even though I wouldn't call any of the guys I've dated jerks, I still would never end a successful relationship for the hope of another. If you know something works well enough you can be happy the rest of your life, why give it up for something thats a maybe? I've been lucky enough to learn from others who have taken back ex's that say they will change. :-(

I just finished reading a similar book called "How We Decide" that I really liked. It talks about the differences between making a decision with your brain and with your gut when you should listen to one and not the other. You might like it too.

-Kat

Charlene said...

Oh, if I had to narrow it down to one character, I don't think I could do it. Maybe Ender in the Ender's Game trilogy? Maybe Stu in The Last Stand? Maybe Cranky Agnes in Agnes & The Hitman...it's such a dilemma....

Paige said...

I've never read Ender's Game! I think I'll put that and How We Decide on my to-do list.

Laura said...

Unfortunately, I think I have a few relatives that would fit that scenario.
Is it sad I can't think of a favorite book character? Not one. My mind is blank. Apparently, I need to read more.
Love your illustration to the story!!