The Power of Persuasion – Or Not

For my English Composition class I recently had to write a two paragraph explanation of a time in my life when I had to persuade someone to do something. This is the very first assignment for this class. I took a risk by making it lighthearted as I don’t know the professor yet and if he will approve or not. But as it is only the first assignment and I have all term to bring my grade up if this one tanks – I went for it. What do you think? Would you have been persuaded??


My best friend in the entire world is irrationally and horrifically afraid of all insects. I am a nature lover and so insects do not bother me, alive or dead. A few years ago we were in the basement of my childhood home and it was full of dead camelback crickets. She was freaking out. She didn’t want to go near them or even be within several long feet of them. At first I just terrorized her a bit by picking one up and chasing her around with it. But I started to think I could use these dead crickets to help her get over her fear. I tried to help her realize that realistically these crickets could not hurt her. Even alive, a few camelbacks would not harm her, but these especially couldn’t do anything to her as they were all dead. I asked her if she would consider touching one. Just a brief one fingered touch to a crispy leg. You would have thought I asked her to dip her entire hand into some sort of poisonous pain potion. She said that she would rather die and that if she so much as touched it that she actually would die. She’s a teeny bit of a drama queen. I told her the little fellow I was holding was named Harry Camel Back. I thought if he was more personified she might be less afraid.

Do you know – she eventually did touch him. I do think that my powers of persuasion are what did it. I explained to her the irrationality of her fear. I showed her how I was okay even though I was holding an entire handful of crickets. I made him seem less threatening by giving him a name. I suggested that by touching a dead one and seeing that no harm would come to her, she may be less afraid in the future when confronted with basements full of cricket carcasses.  Any of these things could have been what finally convinced her and I honestly believe that my arguments were solid. After she did it I gave her a tissue for her tears and remarked how proud I was of her. When I told her recently that I was going to use this story for my English class because I believe it was my powers of persuasion that helped her overcome her fear she said that she is still traumatized to this day and she only did it because she was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Which I guess is another strategy that could be used to persuade.

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