The negotiator here is trying to build rapport with the ‘suicide jumper’. This is done through a similarity altercast. Using ‘just plain folk’ terms like ‘if it was just me’ allows the negotiator to portray themselves as similar to the individual. Similarity altercast can be highly influential. Brock (1965) trained paint salesmen to deliver one of two persuasive communications to customers who had decided to purchase paint. He was told to appear either similar (told the customer he bought both brands, and preferred the other brand) or dissimilar (acted as an expert ) to the customer on a dimension relevant to the issue. Results showed that when the salesman seemed more similar rather than dissimilar to the customer, the customers bought more of the advocated brand. In conclusion, similarity appears to create a unit bond between the source and the target that then increases compliance.
Brock, T.C. (1965). Communicator-recipient similarity and decision change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2, 654-660.