Frame Control 101 – How To Dominate Conflicts

by Veikko Arvonen // October 20 // 0 Comments
frame control

What is frame control? Why it’s one of the most important social skills you can have? And how mastering it commands tons of authority boosts your confidence?

If you want to discover the answer to these questions and more, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you realize it or not, you see examples of frame control every day. On top of that, you’ve probably faced situations where a good frame control would have saved you from frustration and headache.

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of frame control, what it is, and why it’s so important. Let’s start.

What is a frame?

A frame is a place where you can put pictures or paintings. But when it comes to social skills and frame control, it’s different. Your frame is basically the way you see yourself, other people, and the world around you. It consists of a set of beliefs that determine a lot of your characteristics.




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Every person has a frame and it changes depending on the circumstances and external factors. An example of a good frame when entering a group would be something like the following:

  • “I’m here to have fun. Although these other people don’t know me, I don’t have to prove myself to them. My goal is to improve the overall atmosphere because I’m a fun dude to be around with”

See that? That’s how a person with a good frame would see the world around him like that. On the opposite, a bad frame would be something like the following:

  • “These are taller and more handsome than me. I’d better start telling how good I’m at [topic x]! Maybe they accept after that.”

In this frame, the holder already sees him as a worse person who needs external validation to feel good around other people. Thus, it’s a bad frame.

You can also figure out countless different examples of good and bad frames in different situations. Feel free to try it out based on your everyday life!

Why frame control is so important

Now that you know what a frame is, it’s time to start wondering why and how would you control it. See here’s a fact: frames can and will change.

When done properly, frame control will increase your charisma, ability to handle conflicts, resilience, and overall happiness!

External factors like succeeding or failing at something can affect how you see yourself. The way other people behave can determine how you see them. It’s also possible that certain events around you change your frame into a better or worse one.

If you twist your ankle when playing football, you could start considering football more or less dangerous than you did before. Or someone else could attack your frame by insulting you. This is why frame control is an important skill.

How to have a strong frame

Man with frame control

A strong frame means that you have a strong set of beliefs that can’t be easily changed by external factors. Thus, it’s easier to control and will benefit you a lot.

Now there are tons of different frames so building a strong one is always a little different. However, some common principles apply in pretty much every frame scenario you can find. You can do 90% of your frame building by just having a good belief system.

Build a rock-hard belief system

Your own beliefs determine most of your frame so it’s the best place to start. Your beliefs about yourself and the world need to be so strong, that nothing can shake them.

See, when you build unshakable inner confidence, your failures and other people’s opinions can’t change them. You can end up in awkward situations and face tons of insults without losing your frame.

Treat yourself with all the respect and carry out yourself with dignity and confidence. Most importantly, other people will start seeing you as you see yourself. That’s how a great frame control works. It has to start with yourself.

You may have negative beliefs like the following ones:

  • My failures make me a bad person
  • I need others’ validation to feel good about myself
  • The world is a scary place with lots of bad things

Now, learn to replace them with better ones like these:

  • My failures mean that I have the guts to try new things. Failing is natural for us and leads to mastery.
  • I don’t care what other people think about me. They don’t know who the fuck I am or what I’ve been through.
  • Bad things happen in the world, but we can deal with them. Good ones are way more common.

Realize that it’s ok to fail, have flaws, and mess things up. Stop caring what other people think and develop a positive opinion about yourself. An opinion so strong that nothing changes is. If this is something you need to practice, take a look at my confidence category.

More tips to build dominant frame

There are obviously more things you can do but mastering your belief system is the most important one. However, I must give some honorable mentions to things like cold showers and meditation exercises.

Cold showers are fantastic for learning how to stay calm under intense stress. When you can avoid gasping under the ice-cold water that feels like knives on your skin, you can stay unreactive in many situations.

Meditating and mindfulness are also great because they help you to stay present and control your thoughts. They also build resilience so unexpected negative events won’t affect your frame that much. 

And no, meditation is not about finding a cave in Asia and sitting there for weeks. If you want to learn how to do it at your home with maximum results, read this article.

Frame control techniques

I’m always a fan of fundamental core principles rather than fancy techniques, but techniques can be very effective if performed properly. This is why learning a couple of handy frame control techniques can be very beneficial for you.

Remember that these techniques are 100x more effective if you master the core principles (a.k.a having a strong frame and a healthy set of beliefs). When you got those things checked, you can spice your frame control with some techniques and dominate debates and conflicts.

Don’t freak out

Often in debates and conflicts, the other person tries to get an emotional reaction from you. When debating, they try to make you frustrated and get your emotions to work against you. When someone insults you in front of their friends, they’re looking for a reaction that signals that they pissed you off.

It’s important to stay cool and not freak out when your frame gets attacked. When you let logic control you more than emotions, it’s easier to debate, face confrontation, and control the frame.

On top of that, it’s always fun to watch when arrogant wanna-be alphas embarrass themselves when trying to insult someone. Just to end up with their own frame destroyed (more about that later ;))

Usually, the person who freaks out and loses their temper in a verbal conflict or a debate is the one who loses.

Ignoring the frame

Ignoring someone’s frame is the easiest technique to control yours. It’s also something that you can do if nothing else pops into your mind.

Let’s say you’re talking with someone at a party or a club. Suddenly, a bully shows up and insults you somehow.

Instead of reacting emotionally and paying attention to them, you can just say “Oh, I didn’t know you were here”. Then you continue doing whatever you were doing before.

See, the bully’s frame tells that you’re a loser and it has to show up, but you swallow it with yours. Your frame signals that their opinions don’t matter and you’ve got better things to do. Again, this becomes easier when you already have a strong frame and good beliefs. (See the previous part)

This is a great example of powerful frame control. When you ignore people who try to attack your frame with their own, they end up feeling and looking like total morons.

Reflecting the frame

Reflecting means that when someone attacks your frame, you send it back and put pressure on the attacker. This technique is harder than ignoring but also more powerful.

Let’s say, someone shows up and calls you the biggest loser they’ve ever seen with a tense tone of voice. Instead of stepping into their frame and reacting emotionally, you may say something like “Looks like you spent a week building courage to say that, and now you did it. Good job little boy”

When you do this, you set the frame in your favor by reflecting. Instead of agreeing that you’re a loser, you develop a frame that your bully is an insecure kid, trying to prove themselves. That’s a strong frame at its finest.

Frame control with non-verbal communication

Did you know that some studies say that more than 90% of social interaction is carried non-verbally? This means that what you say doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you say it.

See, people read your body language and vocal tonalities without even knowing it! Therefore it’s important to remember strong body language and non-verbal communication in your frame control.

Even the smartest reflect or comeback is useless if you say it with a weak tone while avoiding eye contact. It’s funny when you start paying attention to people’s non-verbal communication and you see that it really matters. People who stare down, avoid eye contact, and speak with a weak tone are harder to take seriously.

Luckily, most of the work is already done when you build confidence and master your own belief system. This causes you to display strong non-verbal communication naturally.

However, if you’re interested in mastering your body language etc, I recommend checking out this book and this post.

Frame control examples

Now that you’re armed with different tools and knowledge of frame control, let’s take a look at some examples of people doing a very good job with it. The first scene you’re about to see is from the movie 17 Again, where Mike (played by Zac Efron) controls the frame like a master when a bully shows up. Take a look at the video below:

Did you watch it? Great! How many principles of frame control did you spot from Mike? Firstly, see how Mike doesn’t freak out even though Stan the bully insults him. This is a good example of ignoring the frame.

Secondly, he signals extreme confidence by standing up, staring Stan deep in the eyes, and speaking clearly. Imagine if Mike had just stared down all the time and spoken quietly.

Thirdly, he flips the entire frame and controls it so strongly that every single people in the same place agrees. Instead of stepping into Stan’s frame and starting arguing, he reflects on the attack. Mike creates a frame where Stan is bullying because of his own insecurities (and a small wiener lol) and thus, being the loser himself.

Frame control – The bottom line

There you have it. A guide on frame control that teaches you everything to get started. I believe that you’ve realized why frame control is an important skill. It’s not just about dealing with your haters. It’s also about improving your mental health and succeeding in life.

Frame control is a skill that requires more or less practice, but it’s definitely worth it. If you consider yourself insecure and standing up like Zac Efron feels too tough, I recommend starting with your belief system. Scroll up to read that part.

If you’ve already developed a strong frame and confidence, feel free to start implementing different techniques (and figuring out new ones) and see what fits for you.

I enjoy writing about this topic because social interactions and the psychology in them are interesting. On top of that, it’s amusing to see when a bully gets destroyed by great frame control.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. I see you next time!

Veikko Arvonen is a blogger with a burning passion for self-development. In his blog, he shares battle-tested tips to become more confident, charismatic, attractive, and happier. Back in time, he got tired of being at the lower end of the pecking order and decided to change. Now, you can learn his lessons from this blog.