An NPR podcast this week discovered what happens when people flip the script in a tough situation, and respond to different situations in ways that are completely unexpected. Mainly what motivating was the notion that a complete change in attitude could shift a nervous armed robbery in progress, and lead to a complete reversal in the mind of the attacker.
During a down to earth Washington, D.C., backyard dinner party was unexpectedly challenged by a man with a gun piercing at the hostess’s head saying, ”Give me your money, or I’ll f*’ing start shooting everyone in here.” The man was screaming at everyone while still pointing his gun, everyone was frightened and didn’t know what to do.
They tried to encourage him to change his mind, particularly because no one actually had any money, but the situation was intensifying very quickly. Quickly one of the women did something strange, she offered him a glass of French wine… and that changed everything just like that!
The idea of toppling a situation, reacting to hostility with kindness, for an example, is called non-complementarity.
Psychologist Christopher J. Hopwood said that a non-complementarity reaction is also great for enhancing relationships in your own life as well.
Alix Spiegel, the host of “Invisibilia” podcast, discovered the thought on the air in season two, episode five and, later,Manual Cinema transported the excerpted conversation to life with a shadow puppet performance.