Lecture Notes.

Module Three: Session Five

Face Saving

Everyone wants to maintain a positive self-image. So when one finds themselves with "egg on their face" so to speak, there is a tendency to maneuver one's way out of the situation in such a way as to "save face."

Perhaps as a child you spilled milk and blamed it on your sister. That's face-saving. Perhaps you got a low grade on a test and said something about how the teacher just doesn't like you.

Often when people are taking opposing positions and one person's position is proven to be incorrect, rather than change his or her mind, they will maintain their position. They will illegitimately attack the opposition and irrationally continue to support their own. This is face-saving.

Do you find yourself stubbornly maintaining a position when conversing with others? Do you feel that you would "lose face" by admitting that you might be wrong?

Rationalizing is the opposite of reasoning. Where reasoning works from evidence to a conclusion, rationalizing works from the conclusion to evidence. Face-savers will selectively find evidence that supports their preconceived conclusion and ignore evidence that goes against that position.

While it is probably impossible to totally eliminate our face-saving tendencies, by being aware of it, we can overcome it.

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