Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Door-in-the-Face – Definition
  3. Operating Mechanisms
  4. Examples of Door-in-the-Face


This is a sequential technique. In a sense, it is the reverse of the foot-in-the-door technique, hence its metaphorical name related to doors. Here, a door ‘closed’ in the face symbolizes a request that is very difficult to fulfill, to which the interrogated person most often responds with a refusal.

Door-in-the-Face technique – Definition

If someone refuses to fulfill your difficult request, they are more likely to fulfill a second, easier one.

Operating Mechanisms

Most readers would likely agree that refusing someone is not a pleasant thing and usually involves a certain emotional discomfort, which we can describe as a sense of guilt. This feeling is one of the mechanisms that most likely explain the effectiveness of the door-in-the-face technique. It turns out that fulfilling a second, relatively easy request makes the feeling of discomfort disappear, so why not help that pleasant stranger who asks us for a favor? Everyone wins. The question is: who wins more?

IMPORTANT: Both requests must be formulated by the same person without exception.

Examples of Door-in-the-Face

  • real estate sales – Doliński (2008) describes the method of a certain real estate seller. At the beginning of each property tour, he would take his clients to a dilapidated, unattractive house, not worth its price. After such an introduction, every subsequent property seemed like a beautiful apartment to the clients.
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