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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reverse Psychology

I've been very preoccupied lately. Interviewing potential interns, looking into alternative ways to monetize my sites, recruiting singers, and talking on the phone with old friends. I don't always give Bow 100% of my attention, even when we are locked together in the confines of the pen. Sometimes he tolerates my inattention, sometimes he protests against it, and sometimes he uses reverse psychology.

Today, I promised Bow he could have an apple for a snack if he behaved while I went out to the mailbox and met Sword as she got off the school bus. Sword and I were chatting all the way back to the house, and when I got back into the pen with Bow, I forgot about the snack. He took my hand and spelled: "Don't give me the apple."

I looked at him, confused, and the look on his face reminded me. "I'm sorry, Bow, I forgot." But just to make sure, I asked: "So, you don't want me to give you the apple?" He got very upset and started screaming at me.

"Okay, okay, I'll get the apple," I relented.

It's not Bow who has the problem with social cues!


  1. Did he mean, "You didn't give me the apple."?

  2. Suzanne, no. He didn't make a language error, intending to say one thing and saying another. It was in Hebrew, and the negation in Hebrew for commands is completely different from the negation in statements. He was commanding me not to give him an apple. He's very manipulative, and it was his way of making me feel guilty for forgetting.

    He doesn't like to ask for things directly, because he feels that puts him in a low position on the dominance hierarchy. He'd much rather that I ask him for permission to give him things. It's all very tricky!

  3. "Don't say that I am handsome". I am wondering whether he would say something like this and in what scenario...

  4. I see. Well, that makes sense, especially with the structure. Would he also feel as if he had lost face if he told you that you had forgotten? He could be just as bossy! :D