The Presumptive Close

The presumptive close is a manipulative social technique. What it means is closing an interaction in a way that presumes that the outcome will be what you want it to be. This can be applied in various contexts with various effects.

In a business context, the presumptive close is a social move that goes unspoken but is often expected as a part of normal professional interaction. Some examples of situations in which presumptive closes may be used:

  • making a deal
  • asking for a raise
  • interviewing for a job

An example of a presumptive close in a job interview:

Interviewer: We’ll call you back if we’re interested in a second interview.
Job Seeker: Great, I’ll talk to you soon!

When the job seeker says “I’ll talk to you soon” rather than something like “I hope to hear from you,” they are presuming that the interviewer will definitely want a second interview. This communicates confidence, which may in turn make the second interview more likely.

In a social context, or in a situation where the person using the technique has more power than the person they’re using it on, a presumptive close can be used to cross boundaries, and make people feel like they can’t say no. In a social context, the use of a presumptive close may also be less obvious, or less conscious.

An example:

Person 1: Can you drive me to work tomorrow?
Person 2: I’m not sure. I’ll think about it.
Person 1: Okay, I need to leave by nine.

It’s worth being able to recognize this technique, in order to more easily maintain boundaries.