By Vana Koutsomitis
When I was in high school, my English teacher taught us a simple, but counterintuitive lesson: “if you want someone to like you, get them to do you a favor.” We all chimed in to correct our teacher, “you mean, you have to do someone a favor, if you want them to like you!” Our wise teacher responded calmly, “No, no. If you get them to do you a favor, they will be more invested in you and they will grow fond of you.”
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This is a scientifically proven phenomenon, as examined by Jon Jecker and David Landy in their study titled, “Liking a Person as a Function of Doing him a Favor.” As long as the person who performs the favor has respect for the person, he will like her more afterwards.
My advice to people who are starting to date is: use this information for your benefit! Rather than doing favors for a person you like, you should ask them to do something for you! My clients often find themselves falling for someone and their gut reaction is to cater to the person, trying to meet their every demand. Interestingly enough this is actually the total opposite of what they should be doing!
A more effective tactic would be to ask the person for a favor. Maybe you went on your first date with them and they mentioned a specific talent they have? Ask them to put it to use. Maybe they are handy with tools and you need something fixed? Ask them to come over on a Saturday. Maybe they are good writers and you are working on a proposal for work? Ask them to edit it. Even the smallest favors can work to get someone to like you more and it can cause for the two of you to grow closer.
At the end of the day, if a person is unwilling or disinterested in doing you a favor that is your signal that he or she does not respect you enough. This is an important fact that is best to discover as soon as possible in a relationship. So if this is the case, at least you found out now!
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin speaks about becoming friends with a professional rival by asking him for a favor. This is why this phenomenon is now known as “The Benjamin Franklin Effect.” Clearly this is a tried and tested method, so I encourage you to utilize your newfound knowledge in your next dating venture!
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