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Dirty Dish Theory

By Edited Sep 28, 2014 1 0

I hate forking dishes...

Back in 1982, an article was written by social scientists about what they called the Broken Windows Theory. It was written by James Wilson and George Kelling and was a theory of criminology and vandalism in urban settings. Basically, the theory starts with the example of a building with a few broken windows. People walk by this building every day, and if someone doesn't fix the windows, vandals will come by and break a few more windows. This act builds upon itself until most of the windows are broken. This further leads to vandals even entering into the building and even destroying the items inside. Maybe some squatters will even enter the house, will light fires, etc. Thus, it all started with just a broken window, but quickly escalated to further destruction.

This theory made me think about a messy kitchen and where the mess begins, and I strongly believe that it all starts with a few dirty dishes. First, just one dish is left in the sink. Or it could be a whole meal’s worth of dishes. But even a single spoon called ignite the mess. The next person comes along and sees the dish or dishes in the sink and thinks, “I’ll leave it here because someone else did. I’ll just clean it later”. When later comes, the dishes are left to pile up. Before you know it, they stack higher and higher and become so overwhelming that you can’t even grab water from the tap because the dishes are so high up. And as the dishes pile up, the rest of the kitchen starts to get messier and messier because, well, if the dishes are piling, a small smudge on the counter isn’t going to hurt anyone. Before you know it, the kitchen is a disastrous mess and you don’t even know where to begin cleaning because it seems so overwhelming. So you leave it there, hoping that the magic cleaning fairy will somehow appear and clean up everything for you as the mess continues to the point where your dishes start to grow so much mold that they can actually start walking around.

Okay, maybe your kitchen mess isn’t so bad. But you get the idea. My suggestion for this problem is to nip in the bud and don’t let any dishes sit in the sink! An empty sink sets precedence for the rest of the kitchen, and a clean sink means a clean kitchen. If you fix the window, the building stays intact. But if you let the window remain broken, the building will only become more dilapidated. Thus, I suggest you fix that window, or clean those dishes before things get worse. And that’s the broken dish theory. So now is your chance to decide where to go from here. Keep that messy kitchen, or clean up the mess before it even happens? The choice is yours. But it should not be a very difficult decision. 

Qualify Them

Qualifying someone is a subtle psychological tactic that subconsciously puts you in a position of power or authority. It is essentially sub-communicating to a person that they need to prove themselves to you. Some examples of qualifying someone would be asking them to describe themselves with only 3 words, playfully teasing the other person (i.e. “you’re a player”), or simply asking them if they are fun to be around.

The reason qualifying is so effective is that it indirectly makes the other person want to prove themselves or ‘work for it’. Use this tactic sparingly as it appeals to people’s insecurities of not being good enough.



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