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A Simple, Unexpected Way to Get People to Like You

Giving_Coffee_400It may seem counterintuitive, but asking a friend, family member, stranger, or coworker for something can endear you to them. Here’s the psychology behind why it works, from The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over.

Good old Ben Franklin, the guy on the hundred-dollar bill, observed that if he asked a colleague for a favor, the colleague liked him more than if he hadn’t made the request. This phenomenon became known as (no surprise here) the Ben Franklin effect.

At first glance, this finding seems counterintuitive. Shouldn’t you like the person more for doing you the favor than the other way around? It turns out, such is not the case. When a person does someone a favor, they feel good about themselves. The Golden Rule of Friendship states that if you make a person feel good about themselves, they will like you. Thus, asking someone to do you a favor is not all about you. It is also about the person doing you the favor.

A warning, however: Do not overuse this technique, because Ben Franklin also observed that “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” (As do people who ask too many favors!)


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