Removing Exits

The set of techniques used to remove exits try to cut off a person’s options and licenses in order to prevent them from leaving. It overlaps with illustrating loss to a degree.

The Persuasion Psychology Behind the Technique

This group of techniques works by both triggering loss aversion and the sunk cost bias (the same ones as for illustrating loss), but also manually removing the person’s licenses to do other things than your task (take more time, leave, etc).

You remove exits by simply associating leaving with something negative in general. The specific techniques covered are simply manifestations of this – making the person feel guilty, inadequate, or just pressured into not leaving.


(4 in Total)


"Are you sure?"

Same example as for illustrating loss; Documents or videogames, when you try to leave without saving, will ask you, “Are you sure you want to leave? You’ll lose all unsaved progress”.

"I hate people who do X"

When you tell someone, “Oh, I hate people who are late/interrupt others/are flaky”, you are revealing more about yourself, sure, but you’re also sending a message about what is acceptable to you.

"Just so that we're clear"

When you and a person seem to have different expectations, and you say, “Just so that we’re clear, are you expecting ABC?”, you bring it out into the open. And if they were trying to informally get you to do something, but don’t have the courage to actually say it, you cut off their exit

Use Cases For the Four Quadrants

Key Takeaways
(3 Total)

How to Stack This Technique