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How to Change a Stubborn Man's Mind

by Mitch Reid

Whether he’s your husband, your brother or son, or simply a coworker, a stubborn man can present a roadblock to your best-laid plans. Stubbornness in opinions and views can actually be a survival trait, and in some cases you can't make someone budge by presenting facts alone, suggests David Ropeik, Harvard instructor and risk management consultant, in a 2010 "Psychology Today" article. But you can help that man in your life drop his fixed opinions and see logic. Several strategies may help you build a persuasive message.

Find the right person to make the request. People are more likely to change their opinions at the request of an authority figure or close friend, reports Steve Bressert, Ph.D., in his article, "Persuasion and How to Influence Others." For example, if you are trying to convince your uncle to buy a specific car, but he doesn’t recognize you as a car expert or even a very likable person, your chances of success are minimal. Instead, shift the job to a car expert or a trusted friend with whom your uncle is close.

Make him feel good about himself. If you provide the man with a positive self-image, he takes on a more open-minded perspective of the world, suggests Ropeik. So, before you broach the subject about which you want to change his opinion, launch into a conversation about his past successes. Essentially, you are "buttering him up" to drop his guard. Doing so can also aid in increasing your likability in his eyes and the chances that he will trust your opinion.

State your opinion while giving it social value. He is more likely to change his opinion if you provide proof that other people have benefited from what you are endorsing, reports Bressert. For example, if you want your son to switch from a certain brand of computer to another, first mention a few of his closest friends who are happily acquainted with the new brand's products.

Link your opinion to something he treasures. He is more easily persuaded if your idea connects well with his stated previous beliefs or commitments, reports Bressert. So, if you want to convince your environmentalist husband to buy a new car, suggest models that have a minimal impact on the environment.

Offer something in exchange. He is more likely to give into requests from someone who has given him something in the past, reports Bressert. So, if you want to convince your stubborn husband to attend a formal dinner with you, make him breakfast that morning or give into a few of his requests throughout the day. By dinnertime, he will feel indebted to give your opinion a chance.

Warning

  • Don't become so wrapped up in changing his mind that you forget to give his opinions a chance.

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