Door in the Face

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Door in the Face

What is Door in the Face? Meaning.

Door in the Face is a persuasive technique based on initially asking an excessive request and then reduce it.


The technique of the Door in the Face is also known as DITF or Rejection then Retreat. Researched by R.B. Cialdini, J.A. Miller, J.T. Cacioppo, R. Basset in 1978, the Door in the Face approach is widely used by media and politicians, salesmen and buyers.


It consists of making an initial excessive request (or statement in the case of a media) that is likely to be not accepted. Then the request is lowered to a more reasonable one to get a “yes”.


Steps in the Door in the Face Approach. Process

The DIFT process is the following:

  1. Make an initial request that looks unacceptable. The interlocutor will initially refuse, but will then feel automatically guilty for having rejected somehow another person.
  2. With a disappointed tone ask a second request that looks more reasonable according to the interlocutor’s possibility. The second request will be perceived by the interlocutor as a chance to mitigate his/her sense of guilt. In addition, the second request appears small compared to the first one (contrast principle), therefore the chances of getting a positive feedback increase.

Assumptions of the Door in the Face Approach. Conditions

The assumptions of the DIFT method are:

  1. The second request has to be made right after the first one to exploit the sense of guiltiness.
  2. The topic of the request has to be acceptable by the interlocutor. In other words, the refuse at initial stage should come from a quantitatively excessive request: a price too high in the case of a seller, too much discount in the case of a buyer, etc…

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Compare with: Mirroring and Matching  |  Foot in the Door  |  Persuasion Techniques  |  Persuasion Theory  |  Sleeper Effect  |  Bait and Switch  |  Forced Compliance  |  4 Ps of Persuasion  |  Validity Effect  |  Low Ball Technique  |  Framing  |  Balance Theory  |  Cognitive Dissonance

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