Phone Chicken: a Game of Taking Back Power
Want to add more fun to your life in a trivial manner while taking back power at the same time? The next time you are on a phone call don’t hang up first. Let the person on the other end of the line do it. This is a game called phone chicken.
There’s a large population of people out there that take calls using their speakerphone. When it comes time to the end call they don’t feel the need to push the button to hang up. They just go on their marry way expecting you to do it for them.
Without you realizing this it is their way of displaying power over you saying, “look at this fool who is always willing to hang the phone up for me.” This subtle display of power and authority over you needs to stop.
In every social interaction the frames of each person collide with inevitably one frame becoming the power frame. As Oren Klaff said, “Understanding how to harness and apply the power of frames is the most important thing you will ever learn. When you fail to control the social frame, you probably have already lost.”
The goal of this isn’t to become an offender like these monsters. Instead it is to teach these savages a lesson that for the good of business and society we should all be courteous enough to be willing to hang up the phone first. That’s why it’s time to take back the power and become the power frame.
Here’s what to do. The next time you are talking on the phone don’t be the first person to hang up. More than likely the other person is a decent human and will hang up and you’ll have nothing to do. Keep doing this until you find someone who is an offender and doesn’t hang up. The way you’ll know you’ve found an offender is that you’ll be able to hear them going on with their day (unbeknownst to them.)
Great. Now you do the same and that’s when the game of phone chicken starts. Feel free to play a YouTube video, turn on some music, or start a conversation with the person next to you. You want the offender to notice that you are still on the line.
The offender is so accustomed to not hanging up the phone that the last thing on their mind is someone having the audacity to not hang up the phone for them. In this waiting period until they hang up the phone first you may hear anything. The offender may go into a conversation with someone else near them (in the instance of this deputy sheriff he started talking about boobs), they might talk to themselves, they may do nothing at all. However, eventually the offender will notice when their speakerphone keeps making noise from your end.
Upon realizing this the offender may react a few different ways.
1. They just hang up the phone, which means that you’ve waited them out and become the power frame. Winner winner chicken dinner. Moving forward you use this as a mental edge.
2. They say something into their speakerphone like, “who is this?” That’s when you respond back and act all casual like this is completely normal. No doubt this will be an awkward situation but remember, the goal is to teach them a lesson and get them to hang up the phone first. Assert your power frame on the situation and however you decide to do it, get them to hang up the phone first.
Another scenario is that the offender is a dick and leaves the room without ever considering hanging up the phone. In this case, when you hear nothing on the other end for 2-3 minutes, you take a mental note and hang up the phone. You now make it a point to continue to play phone chicken with this person every time until you get them in a situation where they don’t leave the room and you get them to hang up the phone first. Like Drago said in Rocky IV, “I must break you.”
The great thing about playing phone chicken is that no one else knows you are playing it. It’s harmless and adds an element of fun and suspense to an otherwise commonplace scenario that happens to us numerous times a day. Plus, if playing phone chicken gets one person who would otherwise be a lifetime offender to start hanging up the phone first then you are making the world a better place.
I bet you’d be surprised at how many offenders there are out there. If you are in sales then this can be a game within the game for you. Remember, there is always a power frame in every situation. Become that power frame and have fun with it.
Now excuse me while I go make 10 phone calls.
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